“We’re determined in the battle that brings us closer to the EU”

“We’re determined in the battle that brings us closer to the EU”

Albania is launching reforms and we’re grateful to all member countries which have helped Albania in this difficult battle. At the same time, we’re determined to continue this battle

By Ditmir Bushati-Albania’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

During a meeting of the Stabilization-Association Committee meeting held yesterday with the European Union, we discussed the process of reforms in Albania since last November, bearing in mind the recommendation of the European Commission for the launch of accession talks and also the full package of the enlargement strategy.

This package has defined the priority fields for our country and other countries of Western Balkans to further promote the process of connectivity in our region. The package also states what member countries have decided in June this year, by creating an indicative calendar for the start of accession talks.

The progress of reforms

The progress of reforms and the challenges that we face ahead have been praised. The process of reform in the justice system is bringing its first results. Vetting among judges and prosecutors is also yielding its first results, addressing the lack of faith that citizens had on the institutions of justice. At the same time, we’re working with the European Commission for chapters 23 and 24, which focus on issues of human rights and rule of law.

This process will be a golden opportunity for us in order to build a justice system. Albania has made progress in the fight against Organized Crime and Corruption. The operations that we’ve seen in the recent months are encouraging. Of course, it’s still too early to say that Albania and other countries of the region have eradicated organized crime and corruption. These are phenomena which need to be addressed on a continuous basis.

We’ve also made progress in terms of human rights and liberties, focusing on the rights of national minorities. Last year we have promoted a new law by taking advantage of the expertise offered by the Council of Europe. We will continue to apply these standards in practice in order to improve the lives of national minorities.

Role of Albania in the region

The fact that Albania’s foreign policy is 100% in line with the EU’s foreign policy is not a mechanical process. It’s a process that stems from the strategic choice that our society has made at the moment we separated from the communist regime so that one day we could become a member country of the EU even in these turbulent times for international order.

Political dialogue

The stance of the Albanian government is clear as it’s the readiness that PM Rama has shown, as leader of majority, to keep dialogue open with all political players in the country and other institutional actors, in order to address those priorities which are important for the fate of the country, such as the electoral reform, but also the quick implementation of the justice reform.

We’re determined to continue the process of reforms. We have a clear calendar in front of us and I hope that along with the European Commission, EU institutions and member country, we can work together regardless of the institutional positions or the position of individual states, in order for us to turn this story into a joint success.