S&Ds support Albania's EU accession process and urge continuing reforms

S&Ds support Albania's EU accession process and urge continuing reforms

A large majority in the European Parliament adopted a report on Albania today proposed by the European Parliament's lead negotiator for Albania, S&D MEP Knut Fleckenstein.

The report acknowledges Albania's steady progress towards fulfilling the remaining key priorities and sets out the reform steps which are still outstanding. It urges Albania to continue its reform efforts in the interests of the country's citizens and it calls on the European Commission and the Council to continue their active support for Albania's EU accession process. It also calls for opening EU accession negotiations with Albania as soon as there is credible progress with implementation of the justice reform.

Commenting on recent progress regarding a comprehensive reform of the country's entire judiciary, Knut Fleckenstein said:

"Albania's biggest achievement, for all its political leaders including the government majority and the opposition, is the adoption of a very ambitious reform of the judiciary, which includes a vetting process for all judges and prosecutors. This reform is unparalleled in the region. It is a milestone on Albania's way to becoming a modern state that guarantees, protects and defends the rights of its citizens. Professionalism, efficiency and integrity in the judicial sector will also boost the country's efforts to successfully fight corruption and organised crime.

"Less corruption and less organised crime are important concerns for Albanian citizens. The country needs more than its previous spectacular police operations; it needs sustainable success in fighting organised crime. This judicial reform will allow Albania to go beyond successful police investigations; it will increase the effectiveness of prosecutions, including at the highest level and it will allow a lasting destruction of criminal networks.

"We will also continue to pay attention and give support to the reform of the public administration. This reform is not only about enabling Albania's administration to efficiently and effectively conduct EU accession negotiations. It is about establishing an administration that serves the interests of the citizens."