Image by TheEmirr
In a recent interview with European Western Balkans, EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca has spoken about justice reform in Albania. What is remarkable about his statements is that the justice reform seems to be less about the establishment of an independent, efficient, and well functioning judiciary, as it is about meeting “important rendez-vous” with the European Union.
Answering a question of journalist Vukašin Živković whether justice reform has “paralyzed” the work of the judiciary, and thus “reduced the efficiency and independence of the whole system,” Ambassador Soreca answered:
Justice reform is a very complex reform. It has changed one third of the constitution of Albania and it is really going deep into the constitution power [sic] of this country. So, it is complex and therefore we need to have patience in order to allow independent authorities that are vetting, the magistrates, to do this job. Of course, this must be done in at the pace that allows Albania to reach important rendez-vous of next June.
Therefore, I think now it’s a question of focusing of the core of the justice reform being able to put in place all the institutions that constitution has seen, and we are fully committed to help and support the institutions of Albania to make this up.
The EU Ambassador may have forgotten, like his predecessor, that the constitutionally mandated “institutions” should have been in place already in April 2017, and that their continued absence is wreaking havoc in the Albanian state.
Meanwhile, one of the most important tools through which the EU is currently “helping and supporting” the Albanian justice reform is the justice assistance mission EURALIUS V. In a notable change from its predecessor, EURALIUS IV, EURALIUS V no longer lists the names of its experts on the website, which casts further doubt on its independence.
Last month, EURALIUS expert Darian Pavli was proposed by the Rama government to be the next European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and was as such elected by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.