President of European Parliament is not optimistic that Albania will start EU talks this year

President of European Parliament is not optimistic that Albania will start EU talks this year

Tirana, 13 July 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz is on a two day official visit to Albania, where he’s holding meetings with state leaders. In meetings and public declarations, he said that two were the messages that he wanted to give through this visit: building of democracy and reconciliation.

Meanwhile, he warned that Albania cannot hope to start accession talks for EU accession this year, as Albanian authorities are hoping and declared in several occasions.

Prime Minister Edi Rama has also declared several times that Albania is aiming to reach this objective this year and launch talks with the EU in the second half of the year. But Mr. Schultz is pessimistic: “The second half of 2015 is too soon. You have the full support of European Parliament, but as you know, it’s not the only institution that decides on issuing a positive response for the start of talks with Albania. However, during the second half of this year, we will promote positive debate in order to have a positive response, while for the moment, there cannot be a positive response”, Mrs. Schultz said.

In the meeting with the president of Republic, Bujar Nishani, Mr. Schultz said that there are two elements that enable the accession of the country in the EU.

He said that in the domestic aspect, he’s expecting Albania to mark growth in establishing rule of law, in all of its elements, including the deep reformation of the justice system and the introduction of a European culture of political dialogue.

In the regional context, he said that Albania continues to play a positive role in building constructive and reconciliation role.

“These two elements will boost confidence and the role of Albania in the region and in regards to the European Union. Albania has great potential to achieve this”, Mr. Schultz said.

The head of the Albanian state said that accession in the European Union is the only alternative for Albania and Albanians. “This ambition acts as a strong encouragement for the realization of deep reforms which are needed in all domains”.

Mr. Schultz also met with speaker of Parliament, Ilir Meta. Speaking on the progress of reforms undertaken by the government, especially in the justice system, they said that they were convinced that “the higher the quality of reforms, the sooner would Albania advance in its EU integration”.

President of European Parliament raised a concern which is articulated publicly for the first time by Union. Albania’s political problems transferred to Brussels. “In regards to the relations between European Union Parliament and Albania’s Parliament, I must note that in many occasions, the debates and the spirit of discussions between political parties here in Albania, is transferred to Brussels and Strasbourg. Meanwhile, problems and domestic debates must remain here in Tirana, where they should find a solution and not move to Brussels”.

In fact, in many occasions, debates which take place in Albania move to Brussels. This is done through political lobbies which the left wing and right wing have in Europe and manage to put many internal Albanian political issues for debate.

Mr. Schultz’s visit had been planned several times in the past two years, but it was always cancelled for different reasons. Schultz admitted today that this time too, the visit was close to being cancelled. “I have planned my visit to Albania 5, 6 or 7 times and for different reasons, I have not managed to come to Albania before. Meanwhile, even this morning the situation was very delicate. However, I decided to come to Albania, because I would no longer enjoy credibility”. /ibna/