Albanian Opposition Welcomes Bundestag Decision in Favor of Opening EU Accession Talks

Opposition leader Lulzim Basha welcomed the German coalition allies’ decision to support the opening of EU accession talks with Albania, while also expressing concerns about the set of conditions the country has to meet before starting the actual talks.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Basha said that the additional conditions relative to last year showed that Albania has taken steps backward. He blamed the Rama government for the failures reflected in the list of conditions.

“In particular, the new demands for arrests and penal proceedings of persons involved in vote-buying and for the reinstatement of legitimacy over the farcical June 30 [election] process reflect in a clear way his failure, and [show] that the responsibility for not opening EU accession talks falls on Rama only.”

Basha added that the decision by the German ruling coalition parties to open talks based on a set of conditions will help Albania to overcome the political crisis, organize free and fair elections and establish a judicial system that sentences corrupt politicians and those with ties to criminals.

Yesterday, the two largest groups in the German parliament CDU/CSU and SPD, also allies in the ruling coalition led by Chancellor Merkel, agreed to mandate the government to vote in favor of opening EU accession talks with Albania in October.

However, it also set certain conditions Albania needs to meet before it technically starts accession talks with the European Commission.

These conditions include the forming and operating of justice institutions, including the Constitutional Court and the High Court, as well an electoral reform, filing of charges against prosecutors and judges dismissed by the vetting process, and against those involved in vote-rigging, and results in the war against organized crime and corruption.

One of the specific demands was for the Constitutional Court to ascertain as soon as possible whether the June 30 local elections held by the ruling Socialist Party, in disregard to the presidential decision to cancel the date, were legitimate.