EC’s report confirms Albania has met conditions to start EU accession talks

The European Commission reaffirms its conviction that Albania has met all the conditions to formally start what was previously decided in the European Council and to launch the accession talks with the EU, said Prime Minister Edi Rama at a joint press conference with the Head of the EU Delegation to Tirana Ambassador Luigi Soreca on Wednesday.

"The report objectively seals that Albania comes from an indisputable electoral process in terms of integrity and compliance with OSCE/ODIHR standards and recommendations," Rama said.

Also, the Prime Minister stressed that the report estimates that Albania has continued to progress in key reforms such as justice, where the vetting process is underlined as a success story of Albania. Rama said that the progress report estimates that the fight against organized crime and corruption is a progressing struggle. He said that the report estimates that respect for freedoms and human rights are reconfirmed as a basic value of democratic processes in this country. Rama stressed that the report assesses the progress regarding a functioning market economy beyond all obstacles and shocks from the pandemic.

Rama said that the multilateral commitment of Albania and the pursuit of a foreign policy in line with that of the EU is underlined.

Ambassador Soreca said Albania has met the conditions for the first intergovernmental conference to be convened within this year. The ambassador stressed that the first intergovernmental conference should be convened as soon as possible and before the end of the year. He said intensive work is being done by EU leaders to work with member states to overcome obstacles to opening negotiations.

Further on Soreca focused on freedom of speech and expression, emphasizing that the atmosphere of verbal attacks and campaigns of mudslinging and intimidation of journalists should not continue and more should be done to have the independence of the media regulator and the strengthening of independence and the professional standards and financial aspect of the public broadcaster. Another area touched upon by Soreca is that of minorities. "Laws related to this field must be approved and the process of property registration, expropriation and compensation must advance," Soreca said. / Argumentum.al