Three Members of the European Parliament have asked the European Commission on the reasons why it has excluded one of the European Council’s conditions for Albania’s start of EU accession talks, namely the “initiation of proceedings against those accused of vote buying.”
In a letter sent to EU foreign minister Josep Borrell, European People’s Party MEPs David Lega, Michael Gahler and Lukas Mandl note the two cases in Durrës and Dibër, in which senior party officials are suspected of electoral fraud.
“Unfortunately, the alleged crimes are met with impunity, and even with promotions of the actors involved. As the mentioned cases have not reached court and no arrests have yet been made, we are gravely concerned about Albania’s breach of its rule of law commitments,” they stress in the letter to Borrell, published on Wednesday.
Reminding the EU’s top diplomat of the European leaders’ March condition for Albania to address the issue in its courts before the start of EU talks, they express disappointment that the EC has excluded this condition from its October progress report on Albania.
“To our great disappointment, the Commission’s Albania 2020 Report does not even mention ‘vote-buying’,” they state, further listing questions for Borrell:
“Does the Commission consider Albania to have successfully addressed the issue of vote-buying?
If so, please describe the details of the progress in this regard.
If not, please explain why the issue is not mentioned in the 2020 country report.”
The Albanian Electiongate revealed the alleged collusion between part of the leadership of the ruling Socialist Party and criminal gangs in rigging local and general elections in Albania in 2016 and 2017. None of the officials has faced charges.