From: Exit Staff
EU Country Report Divides Opinion

The progress report of the European Commission on Albania continues to divide the ruling party and opposition, as evidenced in an integration council meeting with EU ambassador Christian Hohmann.

The President of the Council and representative of the opposition, Jorida Tabaku, raised concerns about corruption in the country, and two government initiatives, such as the golden passport and fiscal amnesty.

“The problem of golden passports, but also the fiscal amnesty law. Albania should refrain from developing an investor citizenship scheme as it would risk security, money laundering and tax evasion. On the other hand, the report states that the adoption of a tax and criminal amnesty, against the advice of the EU, may jeopardise the progress in this field,” said Tabaku.

While from the representatives of the majority, the report was considered the best, although they said they would not withdraw from the fiscal amnesty law.

“Perhaps you received the report from another country because what you said is not found in the report. This is one of the best that Albania has received. Regarding the law on amnesty, the law on amnesty will be made,” – said Taulant Balla, the Socialist Party chief whip.

“I think that regardless of political opinions, this is a moment to feel good because this report recognises the work that has been done and confirms the work of Albania,” said Olta Xhaçka, minister of foreign affairs.

Hohmann spoke of good results in the justice system and the fight against corruption but asked the government to cooperate with the opposition on reforms and waive the fiscal amnesty law.

“The report calls on the government to continue to focus on advancing reforms with the opposition and parts of society. The rule of law and the functioning of the judiciary have generally made good progress. SPAK has issued important final decisions for high-level officials. In the fight against money laundering, Albania remains under the jurisdiction of increased monitoring; the adoption of a fiscal amnesty would jeopardise the progress in this field,” she said.

The ambassador was also critical of media freedom, expressing regret that verbal attacks and intimidation against journalists have not stopped.