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Albania: co-rapporteurs call on ruling majority and opposition to cooperate, evaluate judicial reform

Stressing that the political environment in Albania remained “polarised, contentious and acrimonious”, Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL), and Joseph O'Reilly (Ireland, EPP/CD), urged the ruling majority to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the opposition on key reforms and governance, and opposition parties not to obstruct parliamentary work by boycotting important debates and votes.

Moreover, “the ongoing judicial reform, including the vetting process of judges and prosecutors, has considerably improved the possibilities for a genuinely independent judiciary, even though external and internal interference has not yet been eradicated,” the co-rapporteurs said, in an information note made public today, following their fact-finding visit to Tirana (5-7 September 2018).

With regard to electoral reform, they called on the parliament to address the shortcomings noted by the election observers during the June 2017 legislative elections – before the next local elections in 2019 – and called on political parties to refrain from any attempt to politicise the election administration. They also called on all political forces to adopt, in consolation with the Venice Commission, a revised law on political party and campaign financing, in line with European standards.

Finally, the co-rapporteurs expressed concern about widespread corruption, powerful influence of organised crime, and allegations of the intertwinement of organised crime with economic and political interests in the country. “Continuing political will and resolute action are needed to effectively counter the organised crime in Albania”, they concluded, recalling that this was a priority for the start of the EU accession negotiations.