The European Union and the United Stated have urged Albanian parliament and president’s office to keep supporting the establishment of a fully functional Constitutional Court in the country.
Following the launch of calls for applications for two seats at the Court in the last two days, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi reminded Albanian institutions that this is one of the conditions the country has to meet before the start of EU accession talks – the first intergovernmental conference (IGC).
I welcome the opening of application procedures for 2 vacancies of 🇦🇱Constitutional Court. Essential that all 🇦🇱 authorities support this process w no delay. This is a key requirement of @EUCouncil Conclusions prior to 1. IGC. EU continues to support Albania on its accession path
— Oliver Varhelyi (@OliverVarhelyi) September 24, 2020
EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca added to Várhelyi’s message by inviting magistrates to apply for the two positions.
Ensuring full functionality of the Constitutional Court is critical. We invite qualified magistrates, academics, lawyers & senior public officials to apply and give their contribution to continued implementation of #justicereform and help🇦🇱moving forward on its🇪🇺 accession path. https://t.co/xczRkkbsii
— Luigi Soreca🇪🇺 (@LSorecaEU) September 24, 2020
US Ambassador Yuri Kim thanked President Ilir Meta and Speaker of Parliament Gramoz Ruci for not delaying the process.
Thanks to Pres @ilirmetazyrtar & Speaker Ruci for quickly re-opening the call for candidates for the Constitutional Ct. We hope 🇦🇱 jurists will answer this important call to serve their country. Let’s keep moving forward to deliver Justice! https://t.co/0wc4AE8juq
— Ambassador Yuri Kim (@USAmbAlbania) September 24, 2020
The Constitutional Court has only four of its nine members. It needs at least five members to reach a decision-making quorum.
The Justice Appointments Council (KED) has to receive the list of candidates from parliament and president’s office, evaluate applications, list them according to their score and send the list with three candidates back to the two institutions, which have to elect one each.
Taking into account that the current KED has not prepared a list to fill any of the five empty seats in the Constitutional Court since it was formed in January 2020, as well as the length of procedures, it seems highly improbable that this court becomes functional within 2020.
The EU and US have been called for the process to move on, and the government has promised that the Court will become functional within this year.
Whilst he has repeatedly denied that the European Union has imposed any conditions on Albania before the start of talks, Prime Minister Edi Rama didn’t sound optimistic in an interview last week.
“The [intergovernmental] conference will take place at the end of this year, but even if it does not, it will certainly take place next year,” he told Deutsche Welle.