Progress report on Albania: Rising confrontation between government and opposition, there must be cooperation

Progress report on Albania: Rising confrontation between government and opposition, there must be cooperation

IBNA Special Report

Tirana, October 8, 2014/ Independent Balkan News Agency

European Commission has published today the progress report on Albania for the period September 2013-October 2014. The conclusions of this report analyze the political and economic situation in the country and also what is considered to be a growing climate of confrontation between government and opposition.

“The government has shown political will and concrete actions in the domain of reforms concerning  EU integration, covering a wide range of issues. Confrontation between government and opposition have been growing, leading to the opposition’s decision to boycott parliament in July”, reads the progress report.

The European Commission says that cross party cooperation is crucial for sustainable reforms, while their acceleration is encouraged.

The report also underscores the need to strengthen the independence of the Central Election Commission about the elections that are expected to be held in 2015.

The European Commission says that parliament rejected the presidential veto on nine bills, including the changes in the bill on the Supreme Council of Justice and bill on the territorial administrative reform.

The EC further says that the postponement of the entry in force of the normative act on the bill for the Civil Servant led to the opposition’s complaint to the Constitutional Court, which on its part, quashed the normative act. According to the report, the rulings of the Constitutional Court must be applied without unnecessary delays.

The European Commission says that the procedures of the election and discharge of the heads of independent institutions with a simple parliamentary majority, remains a worrying issue, as this threatens the independence of institutions. This way, the Commission expresses the need to strengthen the independence and performance of these institutions through an inclusive process of reforms.

EC points out that transparency and involvement in the legislative process have improved. The report says that parliamentary committees have been proactive in holding consults with civil society and stakeholders, but says that there have been breaches of rules and public consultations.

Another worrying fact is the limited activity of MPs in the field. The report praises the progress made in the functioning of parliament, but says that government and opposition must take adequate measures in order to reestablish political dialogue in parliament.

In this aspect, the report says that: “The government must make sure that the opposition is entirely able to exert its democratic role of control. At the same time, the opposition must engage in a constructive way in the democratic processes. The growth of cross party cooperation remains crucial for a process of sustainable reforms”.

As far as the government is concerned, the Commission praises its engagement in priority integration issues such as the rule of law, public administration and respect of rights.

The Commission notes that it’s necessary to conduct a big reform in the justice and judicial system with the constructive cooperation of all stakeholders and in consultation with the Venice Commission.

Measures are suggested to reduce the work load of the Supreme Court, but also for the appointment, promotion and transfer of judges based on merit.

The problems that the Commission has identified include the influence of politics on the judicial system and corruption in justice. Fight against crime and corruption are considered to be key priorities and objectives which must be met. The Commission recommends for the authorities to seize assets of organized crime, while as far as corruption is concerned, it declares that there must be efficient inquiries and concrete punishments. /ibna/