From: Exit Staff
Commissioner Varhelyi Urges for a Complete Parliament to Advance Albania’s Reforms

European Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi has stressed that Albania needs a full parliament in order to advance reforms in the country’s EU accession path.

Asked to comment on the April 25 election in Albania, and the alleged opposition’s refusal to recognize election results, Varhelyi replied that the European Commission expects the Albanian parliament to operate fully once election results are finalized after complaints.

“Without a full parliament you cannot advance in the EU path. There is a lot of work to do,” he stated during a press conference with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama on Wednesday.

He added that both the government and the new parliament should work to speed up the country’s accession to the European Union.

The Albanian opposition left the parliament two years ago, launching a wave of protests against the government of Prime Minister Edi Rama, whom they accused of rigging the 2017 elections, corruption and state capture. Since then, the Albanian parliament has been manipulation incomplete. 

They refused to participate in the 2019 local elections, and the ruling Socialist Party ran alone, winning in all municipalities.

Preliminary results of the April 25 general elections less than two weeks ago also give the PS 74 seats in the 140-seat parliament – a clear majority for a third term.

The opposition is yet to clearly state whether it recognizes this election. Meanwhile it is now focused on filing complaints on the process. Opposition leader Lulzim Basha has accused the government of an “electoral massacre” in the April 25 elections.

Albania has been struggling to sit in the EU accession talks for the last 7 years of the two Rama governments, due to poor performance in several relevant fields. 

Last year, the EU leaders agreed to consider accession talks open, but conditioned the first intergovernmental conference with a number of achievements expected from Albania. They will meet again in June to decide whether to hold the first conference with Albania and North Macedonia.

It remains unclear whether the leaders of all 27 EU member states will unanimously agree with the European Commission’s positive assessment of Albania’s achievements.