After visiting Prime Minister Edi Rama today in Tirana, chairperson of the EU Affairs Commission in the Bundestag, Gunther Krichbaum, has given a press conference in which he announced that the CDU/CSU parliamentary majority will vote against the opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania, in spite of the recommendation of the European Commission (EC).
According to Krichbaum, the main problems are the absence of progress in terms of the fight against corruption, organized crime, and drug traffic; electorial reforms, implementation of the decriminalization law; and the judicial reform, which remains blocked at the Constitutional Court.
According to sources of Exit close to the Bundestag, the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking a fourth term next year as German head of state next year, has drafted a list of seven expectations that need to be fulfilled in order for the Bundestag to approve the opening of the accession negotiations. Their fulfillment should be reflected in the Progress Report of spring 2018:
- Actual implementation of the administrative reform laws, as is requested in the EC’s progress report.
- Full and sustainable implementation of the judicial reform. The approval and implementation of all the legislation of the judicial reform. The completion of the vetting of about 800 judges and prosecutors, and actual implementation of the international monitoring commission.
- There need to be signs of considerable accomplishments in the fight against corruption, whose level is currently insufficient. Corruption has broadly spread to many sectors, including the judiciary and the police. There need to be lawsuits and convictions enacted against corrupt high officials. The Special Anticorruption Unit (SPAK) of the Prosecution needs to be independent from political influence.
- There needs to be accomplishments in the fight against organized crime and drug traffic as a fundamental condition for stopping the infiltration of crime into politics, justice, and the economy. There have been steps back in several directions of the fight against drug traffic. The fight against drugs needs to be turned into a fight that includes all of society, for which all parties need to fight.
- The recommendations of the November 2016 Progress Report in the fields of human rights, non-discrimination, and property rights need to be fulfilled.
- Electoral reform needs to be completed before the June 2016 elections. The 2017 elections need to be held on the basis of a new election law. The 2017 elections need to comply with European standards.
- The decriminalization law needs to be implemented. The few actions that have been taken so far cannot hide the truth that in this field very little has been accomplished. In national and local governments, and especially in Parliament, there are still people with national and international arrest warrants and penalized in court.
Ilir Meta in Berlin
The declaration of Krichbaum comes after Speaker of Parliament Ilir Meta met Norbert Lammert, the President of the German Bundestag, this morning in Berlin. Lammert stated that:
As regards the concrete membership of the European Union, Albania can count on Germany, as I emphasized during our meeting, even for the perspective of the opening of accession negotiations, but the criteria need to be fulfilled. Without a proof of the fulfillment of the duties of the agreement there can be no membership, and we happily support all the attempts, especially of the Albanian parliament, in the framework of the fulfillment of the legal duties, in a way that the accession negotiations are approved, because also these require their time, with the hope of having a successful result.
Prime Minister Rama is expected to travel to Germany to meet Chancellor Merkel in four days.