European Western Balkans

EP Rapporteurs presented reports on Western Balkans in AFET

European Parliament; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament talked on the report on Albania, with some MEPs supporting the opening talks while criticizing the government for media law and human rights.

The draft report, prepared by rapporteur Isabel Santos, congratulates Albania on some achievements but estimates that the fight against organized crime is at an insufficient level.

The report also condemns the climate of fear, denigrating campaigns against journalists and expresses “grave concern” over the government’s legal initiatives on media law.

The draft report urges the government to prioritize improving the living conditions of Albanians as the only way to stop emigration flow, while fully supporting the holding of the first intergovernmental roundtable on membership talks.

Thomas Waitz, MEP from the Green Group, criticized the government for incinerator programs, recalling that the country needs waste recycling rather than incineration or landfill while praising Rama’s statement on declaring the Vjosa a National Park.

He stressed that Albania will have to restore the legal conditions for restricting the ownership of national media, such as the European standard.

MEP Mick Wallace was the most critical of the government and also the most supportive of opening talks.

“The lack of progress on integration over the years has probably damaged the region’s hopes and feelings towards the EU. In Albania, Rama, unpopular and increasingly authoritarian, seems to have no organized opposition”, Wallace commented, citing the controversial media law as an argument.

Normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is a priority

The European Parliament’s draft report on Kosovo calls on the remaining five EU member states to recognize Kosovo’s independence, stressing that recognition would be “useful for the normalization of Kosovo-Serbia relations”, according to a document drafted by the EP rapporteur for Kosovo. Viola von Cramon

The draft for Kosovo emphasized that the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is a priority and a precondition for EU accession, and the parties are called upon to implement the current agreements in a timely manner and with deep intention.

The European Parliament also calls on the EU Council to urgently approve visa liberalization for the citizens of Kosovo, in accordance with the recommendation of the European Commission, which considers that all conditions have been met.

In the document, MPs deplore the lack of political will to do more to fight organized crime and corruption and express particular concern over the recent decision by the Kosovo government to abolish a special anti-corruption department under the Kosovo police.

Osmani: Commitment to building bridges of good neighbourliness

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, had an address and a question and answer session with the MEPs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament.

Osmani gave a detailed overview of the Commission on the implementation of key reforms in the country, as well as their commitment to building bridges of good neighbourliness, regional and international cooperation, in order to provide a visible and achievable European perspective.

The Minister also presented to the MEPs the reform achievements of the country in the past period, taking the opportunity to inform about the renewed and strengthened focus in delivering results in the field of rule of law and fight against corruption in the first 100 days of the new government.

The Rapporteur for North Macedonia Ilhan Kyuchyuk welcomed the convincing and consistent progress of North Macedonia in the European integration process.

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