In a telephone call to his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov has called for proposed legislation on minorities in Albania to guarantee the rights of the Bulgarian minority in that country.
A bill on regulating and guaranteeing protection of the rights and liberties in Albania has been tabled in the legislature in Tirana. Foreign and European affairs minister Ditmir Bushati briefed MPs on the bill in recent days.
Reportedly, the Albanian bill recognises the existence of eight national minorities: Macedonians, Greeks, Egyptians, Vlachs, Roma, Montenegrins, Serbs and Bosniaks.
In his call to Rama, Borissov said that he expected that the bill would contain clauses that would protect the rights of the Bulgarian minority in Albania.
According to a Bulgarian government statement on September 28, Borissov received an assurance from Rama that the bill was still in the works.
Rama gave a commitment that Albania would not harm the interests of the Bulgarian minority, according to the Bulgarian government statement.
Rama emphasised that the communication on the bill with Bulgaria will continue so that the interests of the Bulgarians in Albania will be protected, the statement said.
The new legal initiative represents one of Albanian government’s commitments to address its obligations after the country’s adherence to the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, but also to meet five main priorities set out by the European Commission, including human rights, according to Albanian news agency ATA.
According to the draft that aims to protect the rights and liberties of minorities, “people who belong to national minorities have the right of peaceful gatherings, freedom to organize, freedom of having an opinion and the right to manifest their religion.”
The bill provisions state in areas where minorities represent 20 per cent of the population, street addresses and services provided will also be in the ethnic language of the minority. Further, members of these minority groups that account for no less than 20 per cent of the general percentage of population are entitled to receive electoral related information in their ethnic language./IBNA