Interparliamentary meeting with delegations from the Foreign Affairs Committees of the National Parliaments. Source: European Parliament.
Albania should fulfill the five key conditions to open the accession negotiation process with EU.
This is the main decision regarding Albania, approved on October 9 by the Eurodeputies of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
According to the Resolution, which was adopted by 44 votes to 5 against and 5 abstentions:
“[…] it is the speed and quality of reforms that determines the timetable for accession […]”
“[…] recalls that the decision to open accession negotiations with Albania will be conditional on the completion of the national parliamentary procedures and the approval of the European Council, depending on the progress achieved […]”
Regarding a specific date for the opening of negotiations, the resolution clearly highlights that there is no such date, but in June 2019 the work of the Albanian government towards the fulfillment of the key conditions will be re-evaluated:
“[…] takes note of the Council decision to re-evaluate the situation in June 2019 and welcomes the clear path that has been outlined towards the start of accession talks and highlights the fact that the preparatory screening process has begun […]”
It is thus clear that June 2019 is just a timeline for another re-evaluation of the progress made by Albania regarding the established five conditions, and not a date on the actual opening of negotiations.
This resolution rejects the stand propagandized by the Rama government since June 2018, when the first draft of the European Commission resolution was adopted, that negotiations between Albania and EU will open in June 2019.
Immediately after the voting of the draft resolution in June 2018 Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on Twitter:
“After 72 hours amongst the internal waves of EU, Albania succeeded in getting the date for entering the port of the United Europe. The results of our reforms made even the most sceptics [among them] to recognise the merit of Albania and Macedonia. An extremely difficult battle was won; the war goes on.”
The resolution restates very clearly the main five conditions for opening negotiations with Albania: fight against organized crime and corruption, fight against drugs, reform of the judiciary, public administration reform, and protection of human rights, including minorities rights and property rights.
The resolution also reaffirms the requests of the German Bundestag and OSCE/ODIHR for the carrying-out and implementation of the electoral reform in the 2019 local elections.
“[…] calls for action addressing the outstanding recommendations of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR) as regards electoral reform with a view to increasing public trust in the electoral process; draws attention in particular to the need to urgently address the politicisation of electoral bodies, the allegations of vote-buying, as well as the transparency and accountability of campaign financing; welcomes the work by the Ad-hoc Committee on Electoral Reform of the Albanian Parliament related to election administration, campaign finance, voter registration, vote buying, the use of new voting technologies and out-of country voting, and urges it to reach consensus on, and adoption of, the necessary reforms in due time before the 2019 local elections […]”
For the first time, the resolution highlights that protection of cultural heritage is among the fundamental values of the European Union, therefore Albania is required to adopt and implement swiftly a national strategy on culture, so as to protect the cultural heritage in the country.
“[…] whereas the protection of religious freedom, cultural heritage, and the rights of minorities are among the fundamental values of the European Union […]”
“[…] calls for swift adoption and implementation of the national strategy on culture for 2018 – 2022 to preserve Albania’s cultural heritage […]”
At the center of this calls appears to be the protection of the National Theater, which the Rama government has been attempting to demolish through a “special” law, which among others directly contradicts Albania’s obligations in the framework of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, which constitutes the regulatory framework between Albania and EU.