Dutch Parliament: Albania Did Not Fulfill 5 Key Priorities

The Dutch Parliament has published the motion filed yesterday evening by five MPs and adopted with a majority of votes by Parliament.

The motion was filed by Martijn van Helvert (CDA), with the support of Pieter Omtzigt (CDA), Anne Mulder (VVD), Stieneke van der Graaf (CU), and Jasper van Dijk (SP). CDA, VVD, and CU are government parties, whereas SP is part of the opposition.

MPs Omtzigt, Van der Graaf, and Mulder were of the parliamentary fact-finding mission visiting Albania in May, which was later publicly ridiculed by Prime Minister Edi Rama:

I feel like laughing when fact-finding delegations come here, they come in the morning and leave in the afternoon. They meet me, they meet a handful of MPs, they meet my dear friend with whom I share, although of course for different reasons, a love for the Netherlands, Lulzim Basha, and they leave. What facts can one find in half a day?

The motion approved by Dutch Parliament may be translated as follows:

Considering the fact that Albania on the basis of the [European Commission]’s Progress Report clearly does not fulfill the five conditions [for the opening of accession negotiations], for example because there is no track record for the justice reform, dealing with corruption, and dealing with crime,

Determines that on the basis of this Progress Report no negotiations about accession can be opened,

Requests the government not to approve the proposal of the Commission to open negotiations for accession to the EU.

The “five conditions” refer to the five key priorities set by the European Parliament in response to the previous Progress Report of the European Commission from 2016.

As Exit explained before, the 2018 Progress Report of the European Commission indeed failed to find the “full and timely implementation” or even “credible and sustainable progress” regarding any of the five key priorities. Nevertheless, the European Commission, just like in 2016, advised the opening of the negotiations.

In theory, the Dutch government could choose to ignore the motion adopted by cabinet at the upcoming meeting of the European Council, which will decide the fate of the Albanian integration process. However, considering that the liberal-conservative VVD, party of both the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs cosponsored the motion, this possibility seems to be small.