US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer has stated that Albania and Northern Macedonia have met the conditions set by the European Union.
In an interview with journalist Lutfi Dervishi, Palmer said he hopes the first government conferences with the two countries will be held soon:
“Certainly, both countries have met the requirements under the conditions set by the EU. And I believe that this will be an extremely important event, we want it to happen as soon as possible. “
He stressed that the first intergovernmental conference ‘will be a very important milestone that puts Albania and Northern Macedonia on the path to membership.’
Palmer said the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court are already operational and that this is ‘encouraging’.
Speaking about the April 25 elections, Palmer said they would serve to see the implementation of the electoral reform adopted in recent months:
“We want to see the implementation of these rules of the agreement and that the elections in April be held in a way that is fair, that is transparent and in which the political class is accountable.
We want the opinion and opinion of the voters to be expressed in the ballot boxes and for this to be reflected in the composition of the parliament and in the policies that reflect the ambitions and desires of the Albanian people.
“This is how democracy works and we are really hopeful that the elections in April will secure and fulfil these ambitions.”
Asked about the attention the new US administration will pay to the Balkans, Palmer said:
“I am confident that the Balkans will have the attention of the US government, not only from me, but also from the administration itself and beyond. I believe we can do a very good job in the Balkans.”
There was no mention of the requirement that the so-called “anti-defamation package” be brought in-line with the Venice Commission, or the instigation of criminal proceedings against those involved in vote-buying, both of which are yet to be concluded.