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EP Report on Albania: April general elections will be essential for the consolidation of democratic procedures

EU - Albania flags; Photo: Pixabay

BRUSSELS – European parliament has adopted Reports on the 2019-2020 Commission Reports on Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia. Report on Albania received 581 votes for and 61 against.

European parliament in the Report welcomed Albania’s clear strategic orientation towards EU integration and the European Council declaration of 26 March 2020 on the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

The Albanian authorities are invited to intensify their efforts to strengthen political dialogue and the functioning of the country’s democratic institutions while improving the conditions for media pluralism and civil society.

Recalling that free and fair elections are fundamental for EU integration, the report stressed that the general elections on 25 April 2021 will be essential for the consolidation and renewal of the country’s democratic procedures and structures and for achieving a higher level of political stability.

EP called on Albania’s public institutions to act in a transparent manner and to establish good governance practices.

“Albania should improve co-ordination within government, speed up decentralisation, advance public consultation at local level and push-ahead with public administration reform. The involvement of the Albanian Parliament in the EU integration process should be strengthened with a view to ensuring harmonisation of its legislation with the EU acquis”, stated in a report.

Members of the European Parliament reiterated the importance of safeguarding the rule of law through judicial reform and steady and consistent prosecution of high-level corruption. They called for the acceleration of procedures to enable tangible progress towards an accountable, transparent, independent and functional judiciary as a precondition for the first intergovernmental conference.

Highlighting the significant problems of money laundering, particularly in the construction and real estate sectors, the report called for the strengthening of prosecution and final convictions of such cases, as well as measures to reduce the size of the informal economy.

Albania is called upon to step up its efforts to dismantle local and international criminal networks and to eliminate drug production and trafficking.

Members called for progress towards the adoption of measures that effectively protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all, with a particular focus on women, children, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ people.

The report stressed the need to improve conditions and create an environment for accountability and oversight of public institutions, in particular through cooperation with civil society and journalists by ensuring that they have access to justice and legal certainty.

Concerned about the lack of progress in the area of freedom of expression, Report stressed the need to strengthen self-regulation, ethical standards, independence, impartiality, financial sustainability and news quality of public and private media as well as to improve transparency in media ownership, financing and public advertising.

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