Gjonaj: Justice reform is difficult- we need EU support

EU - Albania flags; Photo: Pixabay

TIRANA – “Albania is currently implementing the justice reform – it is difficult to design a new justice system, but it is even more difficult to implement it – this is why support from the EU is needed”, said earlier today Albania’s Justice Minister Etilda Gjonaj ahead of a crucial EU summit in Brussels on 28-29 June.

The member states are expected to vote next week on whether to open accession talks with Albania, as the Commission has recommended, but there are states which are sceptic towards a possible enlargement deal – especially France.

“We are in the first phase, it does not mean that we become a member straight away, we are willing to commit to begin discussions with the EU, we are ready to show that we achieved some results, and the initiated reform process will help us with that,” Gjonaj said.

She further pointed out that the next six months might prove to be crucial for Albania because Albania is waiting for the establishment of new depoliticized institutions such as Special Prosecution Office (SPAK). It is meant to investigate organised crime and high-level corruption, reports EURACTIV.

“We have done more than the other accession candidate countries have done, we even have done more than some current member states have,” she said, implicitly pointing the finger at member states with “a fragile justice system” in Europe’s East.

Meanwhile, based on a draft proposal by European Council President Donald Tusk, Albania has apparently been tentatively considered to become one of two host countries for “regional disembarkation platforms”, migration centres outside the EU: one is to be built in North Africa and one in the Balkans, with the aim of gathering and processing immigrants seeking to enter the EU.

EURACTIV reports that Gjonaj ruled out any possible link between the migration issue and the prospect of a “green light” for the accession talks.