The Committee on Foreign Affairs has proposed to the European Parliament a draft resolution supporting Albania’s EU integration, which stresses the country’s obligations in this process.
It notes that Albania has met the conditions set by the EU leaders in March 2020, and that EU talks should start once the negotiating framework is approved. The latter is a document that shows the path Albania is expected to follow throughout EU talks, but views of the member states on its content regarding Albania and North Macedonia differ and the necessary consensus is yet to be reached.
The draft resolution was prepared by the EP Rapporteur for Albania Isabel Santos, based on the reports of the European Commission for Albania during 2019 and 2020. It was published by several Albanian media on Thursday.
It heavily relies on conclusions, guidelines and recommendations of the European Commission over the last two years.
Similar to the EC’s regular recommendations throughout the recent years for the EU to launch accession talks with Albania, the draft resolution states that the country has already met all conditions set by the EU leaders.
However, it also recognizes the right of EU leaders to decide when the negotiating framework will be adopted, which will also determine the start in practice of talks with Albania.
It further calls on political parties to engage in dialogue, it stresses that the upcoming elections are of key relevance, that Albania’s institutions must implement the electoral and justice reforms, make the Constitutional and High Court functional, intensify the fight against crime and corruption, protect marginalized groups, continue with regional cooperation and fight against the pandemic, etc.
In particular, it slams Albanian institutions regarding the media and civil society situation in the country. The document urges them to ensure “meaningful and timely consultations” with civil society and journalists. It stresses “with concern the lack of progress on freedom of expression” and the obstacles by authorities to the functioning of independent media.
The published draft, condemns the violence, intimidation, smear campaigns and indirect political and financial pressure against journalists. It expresses “grave concern” about the controversial media law proposed by the Albanian government.
The draft resolution is expected to be discussed soon in the European Parliaments and put to a vote in March 2021.