EU/ALBANIA : MEPS WANT MORE PROGRESS IN REFORMS
28 June 2010, Europolitics New Neighbours
MEPs acknowledge the progress achieved by Albania in 2009 but at the same time urge the country to make further "substantive" efforts to implement the necessary reforms, especially in the area of fight against corruption and organised crime. In a resolution adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), on 23 June, MEPs also appealed to the Albanian politicians to find a solution to the current political stalemate following the parliamentary elections of June 2009.
Widespread corruption and organised crime as well as the ineffective judicial system and public administration are "still a prevailing problem» in Albania, says the resolution drafted by Nikolaos Chountis (GUE-NGL, Greece). It welcomes the steps undertaken to improve the situation in all these areas but notes that "further vigorous steps need to be taken to reverse the situation of impunity" as well as to reform the judicial system and public administration. MEPs also express "serious concern" about widespread domestic violence and trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation and forced labour.
The resolution calls on the ruling party and the opposition to find a solution to the ongoing stalemate. It notes that "fully functioning institutions, especially the parliament, are [ ] an important political criterion for EU integration". Albania's right-wing government, led by Sali Berisha, and the Socialist-led opposition have been locked in a dispute over the results of the June 2009 parliamentary elections. The opposition, which claims that the poll was rigged by the ruling party, has partly suspended its boycott of the parliament and took up their parliamentary seats only recently, following mediation by the leaders of the European Parliament's main political groups.
The resolution is set to be voted on at the plenary in July.