“European integration is a complex journey that requires the coordination of many actors, such as the government, the National Assembly, the judiciary, political parties, civil society and even ordinary citizens”, the National Council Vice President for European Integration, Taulant Balla, said.
Balla attended the Council meeting, where they discussed the progress made and the challenges under the Political Criterion, Chapter 23, with an emphasis on the 15 points of the European Union Council Decision of 25 March 2020 on the opening of negotiations.
He said that “it is a completely wrong approach if we believe that the will of the government or only the majority would be enough in this regard”.
“In this journey we must be together to allow the fastest and safest progress in the country’s accession process”, he added.
Balla said that “Albania is on the verge of publishing the European Commission report and is also taking the decision to hold the First Intergovernmental Conference”.
According to Balla, the Action Plan for meeting the priorities set by the EU Council in March this year should serve as a guide for all the institutions involved, which have to report to Parliament on the work being done with the completion of the remaining tasks.
“I am very grateful for today’s meeting due to the momentum with which Albania travels to the EU. We are on the verge of publishing the European Commission’s report on Albania and also taking the decision to hold the First Intergovernmental Conference. It is up to this Council to send a message that Albania is still committed to the historic plan, namely that of joining the European family. And this determination must be accompanied by a strong awareness of the challenges that await us and that we all here must be ready to meet for the area we are covering”, Balla said.
In line with this commitment, Balla said that today we know the progress made in Chapter 23, which will be analyzed in detail by the Minister of Justice.
“Chapter 23 together with Chapter 24 are of particular importance and are decisive factors in determining a country’s progress on the European path, if we take a comparative table with other countries participating in this process. To this end, given the role of the National Council for European Integration (NCEI) as the highest national advisory structure for European integration, we aim to increase transparency and accountability in the decision-making of competent institutions on critical issues such as the present”, he said.
Balla stressed the primary and irreplaceable role of the Albanian Parliament in monitoring the activity of state structures in fulfilling the obligations of the integration process.
“I have emphasized and reiterated that whenever I am given the opportunity in this Council, at a historic juncture in which the country is, the Assembly must assume the role of overseeing and monitoring other institutions to fulfill their obligations resulting from the integration process”, he said.
In addition, Balla stressed that “the parliament has for years served as a bridge between bodies involved in the accession process and the NCEI is an expression of this role”.
Balla stressed that in this historic but also challenging and sensitive phase for the country, “we should encourage the development of intensive meetings within the NCEI or the Committee on European Integration, to fulfill our legal obligation in relation to the integration process”.
“The Convention will monitor the implementation of the action plan, encouraging the activity of state and independent institutions to advance the requirements set by the Council in order to speed up the accession process. This monitoring will be based on periodic reporting by the competent bodies for the implementation of the measures of the Plan”, Balla said./ibna