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Stronger European defence and political situation in Albania high on EPP agenda

EEP Group

BRUSSELS – Members of the EPP Political Assembly met for two days in Brussels and had the opportunity to welcome newly elected President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, EPP press release states.

This was the first gathering this year and the delegates outlined the party’s priorities for 2017, focusing on a secure future for Europe’s citizens. They also discussed the political situations in Albania, reads the statement.

“The European Union needs to make significant progress in the field of security. We need to create a genuine defence union to ensure the safety of European citizens. With an ever more interconnected European security, EU Member States must take full responsibility and commit to a common defence. It is time to be more ambitious and to further cooperate among ourselves in order guarantee the security of Europe and its neighbourhood”, press release quoted Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party.

The Political Assembly featured a debate on defence with Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation, and Heinrich Brauss, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning at NATO.

The EPP delegates also adopted a resolution on Albania, which urges the government to carry on with reforms:

“The upcoming Albanian elections must be free, fair and in line with European standards. Reform of the judiciary, in particular the decriminalization law, must remain a priority for the current government. Key and bold reforms, and inclusive political dialogue, are critical for the Albanian people and for the advancement of the country as a whole towards the EU,” stated Joseph Daul.

The main points of the resolution are taking note of the European Council conclusions on Albania in December 2016 and recognizing the firm and taking note of the unwavering commitment of the Democratic Party of Albania (DPA) to the Albania’s European integration process. This process is recognized as a catalyst in moving forward with key reforms.

The European People’s Party:

  1. Welcomes the unanimous adoption by the Albanian Parliament of the constitutional changes related to the judicial reform and urges that remaining legislation be adopted in consensual spirit;
  1. Calls for the swift implementation of this reform, for the benefit of Albanian citizens, and for further progress in EU integration;
  1. Regrets actions taken by the government at the expense of political consensus and calls on all political forces to establish a qualitative, durable and all-inclusive political dialogue, as a significant requirement for Albania’s European integration;
  1. Recalls that Albania is heading for parliamentary elections scheduled for 18 June 2017, representing an important democratic test and milestone for the future of the country and its path towards the EU;
  1. Calls on all parties, the governing majority and the opposition to address without delay the recommendations of OSCE/ODIHR and ensure that elections are held in line with European standards; emphasizes that vote-buying actions are incompatible with European standards; urges that follow-up implementation regarding the latest OSCE/ODIHR election report be fully tackled and efficiently put into practice; calls for strong and strict international observation of the pre-election period and the election campaign;
  1. Calls on full implementation of the “Decriminalization Law” related to public offices, as a clear sign of political will to break ties with crime, and calls on the ruling majority for immediate action fulfilling this priority; underlines that decriminalization of public offices is an important step to enhancing political culture in the country and calls on all parties to respect this law when preparing for elections;
  1. Expresses the urgent need for Albania to seriously tackle massive cultivation and trafficking in cannabis; the fight against organized crime, including that involving drugs, remains a vital issue for Albania as it pursues EU integration;
  1. Fully supports the Democratic Party of Albania and its committed efforts to affirmative political dialogue and firm action in order to address the legitimate concerns of the population.

EPP delegates also observed a minute of silence as a tribute to the late Peter Hintze, who served as EPP Vice-President from 2002 until 2015, and to the victims of recent terrorist attacks in Berlin, Istanbul and Jerusalem.

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