President Meta Unsatisfied with Implementation of Justice Reform and Work of EURALIUS Ilir Meta. Photo: LSA.

President Ilir Meta expressed his dissatisfaction with the implementation of justice reform and work of the EU-financed EURALIUS mission, which he said has been under political influence.

Speaking at a conference on “Security Challenges in the Balkans and the role of external actors in the time of Euro-Atlantic transition”, yesterday President Meta said:

It’s been three years since the consensual approval of justice reform, and I can say that had it really been a success, Albania would not have been [left] without a Constitutional Court [even] for a minute.

Meta added that when he was speaker of parliament, he had warned against the threat that the Constitutional Court could be rendered dysfunctional.

The president said that the progress of the justice reform cannot be based on “rhetoric, political pressure and [particular] names”, but it should instead be “based on standards”. He added that the former were merely “new ways to capture the institutions,” but they could not guarantee a sustainable justice reform.

Regarding the role of the technical assistance project EURALIUS in the justice reform, Meta pointed out the mission’s double standards at work, which he said were politically motivated. Meta explained that while EURALIUS had given e positive opinion to the legal affairs parliamentary committee on electing a temporary general prosecutor – an institution not included in the Constitution – it had refused the president’s request to give an opinion on the forming of a functioning Constitutional Court.

[In] the case of the Constitutional Court, I have made the greatest efforts to do everything in accordance with the Constitution. [I] requested in writing the engagement of the EU Delegation and EURALIUS, a mission that is paid with European taxpayers’ [money] to guarantee the implementation of the justice reform in Albania according to European standards and in respect of Albania’s prerogatives and laws.

EURALIUS answered the President that they could not attend the meeting because they were a technical mission, which means that they have received a political instruction. You are a mission, the President invites you regarding the Constitution of a country. The same EURALIUS certified for the chairman of the legal affairs [parliamentary] committee the election of an institution that does not exist in the Republic of Albania [the Temporary General Prosecutor]. This is not European justice.

Several hours after Meta’s statement, the EU Delegation in Albania replied through a statement for Top Channel. The delegation commended the “indispensable” work of EURALIUS. It further stated:

The justice reform is being implemented in full compliance with the Constitution of Albania and the relevant national legislation. This is a complex process but the reform is on track and it is of the utmost importance that all Albanian institutions support it. As regards specifically the formation of the Constitutional Court, it is of course crucial that, as soon as the selection and ranking by the Justice Appointment Council is completed, all competent institutions, including the Presidency of the Republic, make sure that candidates are elected with priority. We are convinced that such duty will be pursued thoroughly and timely.