MEPs urge Albania to implement reforms, fight crime
Date: Thursday, June 22 @ 11:07:22 PDT
Topic: Albanian Economy
Brussels- Members of European Parliament (MEPs) welcomed Albania’s signature of Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with EU but urged the government to strictly implement reforms and fight more against corruption and organised crime.
“Albania needs to demonstrate more tangible results in reforms before it can move to any further stage in European integration,” MEPs said in a motion for resolution.
“The EP is particularly concerned about lack of progress as regards full implementation of adopted laws, considerable strengthening of administrative capacity, reform of the judiciary, the fight against organised crime and promotion of free and independent media,” MEPs said.
MEPs said that trafficking in human beings and smuggling of drugs “continues to be of particular concern” and urged Albanian government led by Sali Berisha “to show further substantial progress in combating these forms of organised crime as a prerequisite for the deepening of cooperation with the Union”.
Berisha told MEPs on Thursday at a debate held in Brussels that his government is achieving progress against the corruption and organised crime, but however European lawmakers assessed that “endemic corruption continues to be a main obstacle to economic and social development of Albania”.
The opposition has been accusing Berisha’s government for misusing the efforts against the corruption for political goals and administrative purge of opponents and their supporters.
MEPs said they expect from government's campaign “to show tangible results” and urged Berisha and his cabinet “that the fight against corruption should not be used as a tool for settling domestic political scores”.
Albania is expected to hold municipal election earlier next year, but stil it has to resolve the problem of electoral reforms on which the EU has been urging for the country during last 14 years, since the country ended the communist era.
MEPs said that the current electoral system which was used during the last parliamentary elections in 2005 to distort the principle of proportionality must be improved and urged the Albanian Government and Parliament “to further reform the system before the forthcoming local elections, in particular as regards the accuracy of voters' lists and of civil registries”.
The dispute between the ruling Democratic Party (PD) of Berisha and opposition on the electoral reform and the law on media is again causing problems, with the opposition threatening to boycott the upcoming elections.
Talking to MEPs on regional development, Albanian PM reiterated the position of his government in favour of Kosovo’s independence and against the unification of Kosovo with Albania.
ACL - 22 June 2006