How is Albania’s integration process moving on? Majority and opposition have different views

How is Albania’s integration process moving on? Majority and opposition have different views

Tirana, 22 July 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

Recently, Albanian government has intensified its declarations that it’s expecting the European Union to give way to the opening of talks for Albanian’s accession in the EU this year.

These declarations have been met with cold and skeptic reactions by senior EU officials. In numerous cases, they have declared that it’s very difficult for the talks to open this year.

While political declarations continue to clash with each other, in Albania, institutions are working to deliver the criteria written down by Brussels.

Ministry of Integration carries the biggest weight in delivering these criteria.

Minister of Integration, Klajda Gjosha told IBNA that the give criteria are on the way to being delivered. She says that 90% of the criteria have already been met.

“Seeing the progress with the five priorities, so far, the measures written down in the guideline have been delivered at a level of 90%”, Gjosha says. She adds that joint work groups with representatives from the European Commission, have monitored these measures.

“The feedback that we have received according to which Albania has made progress with the reforms, must not slow us down, but it must push us to focus all of our energies in the domains that need to be transformed, in order for the country to be a full member of the European Union as soon as possible”, minister Gjosha says.

Roadmap with the five priorities

In October 2013, the European Commission published the Progress Report where it identified the necessary interventions and issued recommendations, followed by the Enlargement Strategy, where five key priorities were written down as a prerequisite for the start of accession talks.

For this reason, Ministry of European Integration in collaboration with the European Commission and Albanian institutions involved in the process, launched in the early months of 2014 a comprehensive and analyzing process to identify and determine a set of measures with clear steps and responsibilities for every responsible institutions, which were included in the Roadmap with five priorities.

Since the start of this process up until now, there have been many positive developments and a large number of measures have been implemented. Gjosha assures that in total, the percentage of the completion of the Road Map until the month of July is 90%.

These measures have consisted on setting up new institutions, passage of new laws or strengthening of capacities, which have enabled the situation with each priority to be different than a year ago.

Meanwhile, the process of the preparation of the second contribution of the Progress Report has started and it has to be finalized within 1 September 2015. Both of these contributions offer the good results of Albanian institutions in the framework of the respective acquis chapters.

The judiciary system, “Achilles’ heel”

The creation of a Special Parliamentary Committee on the Judicial System, marks the start of a very important process for the reformation of the judiciary system in Albania.

The first draft of this reform, discussed and finalized with all stakeholders, has finalized the first part of the reform, that of the identification of needs for intervention.

Minister of Integration, Gjosha, says that “the evaluation of judges, reduction of the number of cases in the Supreme Court and the imposing of sanctions for lawyers that cause delays in trials, are challenges that will be addressed in the framework of the general reform in the judiciary system”.

Full reformation of the judiciary system in the country is an immediate need which is being demanded by all Albanians, the government and the main European and US government, which have openly talked about mass corruption in the Albanian judiciary system and say that this situation must change as soon as possible.

Bushati: The four domains where Albania demands assistance

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati says that the Vienna Summit which will be held next month, has a special importance in the framework of integration.

He explains that four are the main domains where Albania will demand support with projects in the Vienna Summit.

“In road infrastructure, in projects for the process of energy infrastructure, human capital, education and tourism”, Mr. Bushati says.

The minister says that Tirana will be the head office of the Western Balkan Fund. He adds that “all the countries of the region will be aimed to be included in this fund in order to offer assistance in drafting and funding projects”.

Opposition: Criteria have not been delivered at a level of 90%, steps backwards have been made

The opposition is surprised about the enthusiasm shown by minister Gjosha. For the Democratic Party, it’s impossible for 90% of the criteria to have been delivered.

Former minister of Integration, Majlinda Bregu is the head of the Parliamentary Committee for Integration. She says that reforms must be delivered as soon as possible, as “there is no other way”.

“Every other way is an impasse! Every lack of coordination, vision, violation of European standards damages the process like nothing else. Purchase of votes and political corruption and criminals who are appointed in public offices can only damage the process of integration”, Bregu says.

“There must be European policies and not just European love”, Mrs. Bregu notes. /ibna/