Two German ruling coalition’s parliamentary group representatives have issued a press release in support of Albania and North Macedonia’s integration into the European Union in the future. Their statement of yesterday comes after the European Council could not reach an agreement on Friday regarding accession talks with the two countries.
Deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group Johann Wadephul and its rapporteur on both Balkan countries Christian Schmidt stated that the road to the EU remains open to both countries, if they implement reforms to meet the EU criteria.
They both underlined that in the case of Albania, the Bundestag conditions should be the roadmap, with Schmidt writing:
The conditional decision of the Bundestag of September, which establishes clear conditions for the opening of accession negotiations, should also point the way to approval for French, Dutch and Danish concerns.
Schmidt also warned that third parties might try to exercise influence in the Western Balkans region if the EU does not take care of it.
Also President of the European People’s Party Women Doris Pack called on the Albanian government to “start implementing the conditions set by German Bundestag to get ready for the opening of negotiations.” She also told Albanian citizens to keep moving forward on their EU integration path, noting he was saddened by the decision not to open the negotiations.
Pack, who gave her comments during an event “Women’s Vision for a Better Europe” which was attended by Chairwoman of the Democratic League of Women, Albana Vokshi.
A critic of the Rama government and a supporter of Albanian civil society movements such as the Alliance for the Protection of the National Theater, Pack spoke of her concerns regarding the political crisis.
“The opposition resigned its mandates as there was no constitutional guarantee anymore. Parliament did not respect the right of free speech, whilst the Constitutional Court does not exist. High levels of corruption and organised crime are concerning and a former interior minister is convicted by the courts,” she said.
She also raised concerns over the high number of asylum seekers leaving the country as well as young people due to an absence of education and employment opportunities.
“The government will be forced to meet conditions and open prospects for Albanians in Albania, therefore reducing the number of asylum seekers.” She called on the European Union to keep the door open for both Albania and North Macedonia.
In July, Pack told Exit she could not believe that Albania’s theatre and one of Tirana’s last remaining historical buildings was earmarked for destruction to “build towers that nobody needs.” She said that Rama, “an artist nonetheless, should care about cultural heritage and should understand the people.” She called the actions of the government “misuse of power as a dictator does”.
Then in September, the Bundestag gave the green light to opening accession talks in principle but set certain conditions on the technical start of talks with the European Commission. These conditions include forming the high and constitutional court, moving forward with electoral reform, and a resolution on the war against organised crime and corruption.
The conditions that will cause the most problems for the Rama government included filing charges against prosecutors and judges dismissed by the vetting process, as well as those involved in vote rigging which, according to leaked wiretaps would include Socialist Party MPs and officials and possibly even the Prime Minister himself.