As the deadline for submitting the names of candidates for MPs by political parties in Albania expires on March 8, the European Union has made the last appeal demanding that those selected be 'clean' names without a dubious past to run in the parliamentary elections on April 25 this year.
In an interview with News24 TV on Saturday, the EU Ambassador to Tirana, Luigi Soreca demanded the full implementation of the decriminalization law.
"Monday is the deadline for submitting the nominations. We look forward to seeing the list and we will certainly do our evaluation," said the Head of the EU Delegation.
Regarding the holding of the first Intergovernmental Conference between Albania and the EU, Ambassador Soreca said that is a target for June as member states monitor the election process on April 25.
"This is our objective. June is the period for the first Intergovernmental Conference. It is important now that while Albania continues to do the work that is needed, even during the election campaign in the fight against organized crime, corruption, the continuation of the reformation of the judiciary, the Member States see this ongoing commitment and therefore they will have to decide and we hope that the decision will be positive in June," he said.
According to the Ambassador, justice reform is not a divisive issue, and political parties need to work to make it more efficient.
"My sincere hope is that justice reform will not be affected by the election campaign. Because for Albanians it is not a divisive issue. Some 80% of Albanians, according to the latest poll by our Delegation, are in favor of justice reform," said Soreca.
In addition he also responded to the accusations of Prime Minister Edi Rama that the EU has left Albania out of the vaccination plan, stating that the European Union has continuously helped Albania. He announced an 11m-euro grant for Albania to buy vaccines.
"There is a difficult situation within the European Union. It was announced in Brussels that the first tranche of EU-sponsored Covax vaccines will arrive in Albania at the end of the month. In the coming days we will sign a grant for 11 million euros that the European Union will make available to Albania to purchase vaccines and equipment to complete the vaccination plan."
In the meantime, the head of the EU delegation to Tirana said that the European Medical Agency is evaluating the Sputnik vaccine, and if it meets the standards, it would be a signal that there are other vaccines in the market that can be used by partner countries.
Such a revelation comes at a time when a large part of medical experts call on the government to act swiftly to secure other suppliers for the vaccines as the situation is worsening and it's a lost time waiting for the Western vaccines. They urge PM to consider the Russian and Chinese vaccines as a breakthrough from the frightening deadlock when the number of fatalities keeps increasing in this Balkan country with a debilitated medical network.
Maybe Soreca's revelation can 'free' government's scope of seeing beyond the political background as vaccines do not have 'flag' when they are injected in people to save them in face of the deadly virus.
"Let us first come out alive from this greatest evil that has locked us down," has recently said a well known Albanian analyst.