European Western Balkans
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Vlahutin: Reforms do not happen because EU asks for it, but because Albanians do

Romana Vlahutin

TIRANA – “Reforms do not happen because the European Union asked for it, but because Albanians ask for it,” the head of the Delegation of the European Union to Albania, Ambassador Romana Vlahutin, said in her speech at the public consultation on the 2018 Albania Annual Report on Monday.

Vlahutin noted that this year, the “enlargement package” will be published in April 2018, instead of usually in November to allow more time for the reporting period that will be longer than usual.

Vlahutin also underlined that the 2018 Report for Albania will be very important.

“Last year, the Commission made a conditional Recommendation for the opening of negotiations, given that progress is achieved through 2017. This concerns decisive steps on justice reform, including the vetting – but also credible and consistent progress in the fight against organised crime, including against cannabis cultivation and trade, fight against corruption, reform of the public administration and protection of fundamental rights,” she said.

“Any decision regarding the next steps of Albania towards the EU is taken by the Member States, on the basis of the recommendation of the Commission,” Vlahutin noted.

Speaking about the crucial role of the civil society, Vlahutin said civil society in Albania needs to be more organized in giving voice to all Albanian citizens in all reform efforts.

She pledged that the EU Delegation will support Civil society organizations in Albania and build their capacity.

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