Two European People’s Party (EPP) officials have made a press release, calling the introduction of the two “anti-defamation package” laws a “serious setback” that will curb media freedom and the right to information in the country.
The EPP has been the largest political party in the European Parliament for decades and is headed by Donald Tusk with Manfred Webber leading.
Michael Gahler, EPP Coordinator on Foreign Affairs stated: “We note with deep concern that the parliamentary majority of the Albanian government, led by Socialist Prime Minister Rama approved two media laws yesterday in open contradiction with specific recommendations of the international community”.
Gahler stated that the European Commission, the Council of Europe and Albanian and international media and civil society organisations had voiced “strong objections” against the laws.
David Lega, the EPP Rapporteur on Albania warned: “Media freedom and the right of information are fundamental freedoms in Europe and an indispensable part of the Copenhagen criteria for EU membership.”
He added that the laws threaten the freedom of the Albanian people and that the free media has been a consistent reporter of abuse of power and corruption in the country. The adoption of the laws is a “serious setback for Albania on her path towards rule of law and democracy, he added.
Lega reiterated the warning that the decision could have a negative impact on the opening of EU membership negotiation for Albania. He urged the authorities to reconsider the decision and reverse it.
The approval of the laws has been described as “anti-European” and they explicitly defy the best practices and standards set forth by the Council of Europe and the European Commission.