The European Union is set to give another EUR 9 million to Albania’s justice reform. To date, the project has cost the EU some EUR 50 million.
EU Ambassador to Tirana Luigi Soreca spoke today at a conference to celebrate five years of justice reform. He said:
“Albania must leave the past behind and move towards the EU. If you join forces, everything is possible. Putting the reform in line has been difficult because it targets corruption and punishment.”
He added that “implementation requires pragmatism and leadership, and to stand up and continue even when results are difficult.”
Soreca said that the reform is one of the most important steps taking by the country since the fall of communism 30 years ago.
The reform has seen the dismissal or resignation of around half of the country’s judges and magistrates.
Out of 420 individuals that have passed through the process, 155 were dismissed, 55 resigned, 174 were confirmed, 8 have terminated the process, and three have been suspended for one year.
With not enough new candidates to fill the roles, huge backlogs of tens of thousands of cases are currently present in all the courts of the country. Furthermore, the Constitutional Court and High Court were out of action for almost two years, due to the reform.
Concerns have also been raised about the results of those who pass the vetting. Additionally, some of the new institutions set up within the justice sector, have been populated with those that allegedly worked in the judiciary of the communist regime.