At the end of an unexpected two-day visit to Albania, MEP and Rapporteur for Albania Knut Fleckenstein reminded the new government that the full implementation of the judicial reform and the fulfillment of the five conditions, including the fight against organized crime and cannabis are fundamental to the opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania.
MEP Fleckenstein also stated that the EU has not placed any additional conditions upon Albania, as was claimed by Prime Minister Edi Rama, except those approved by the European Parliament:
- Implementation of the judicial reform and the vetting law;
- Fight against corruption, especially high-level corruption;
- Fight against organized crime, especially cannabis cultivation and trafficking;
- Implementation of the decriminalization law;
- Respect for human rights, including property rights.
I don’t see any additional conditions. We have always spoken in relation to the elections and the five key priorities and the fact that they should be implemented.
MEP Fleckenstein especially stressed the “truly serious issue” of the cannabis situation in Albania:
We will wait for the report that our Italian colleagues who are making flights above Albania will bring and will tell us what the situation in the country is.
But it is truly a serious issue and what we want to see is not only goodwill regarding this issue, but also that there will be truly work done to have a better situation in the future.
The Rapporteur for Albania also expressed his support for the government and the continuation of the reforms, but he stressed that he and his colleagues in the European Parliament do not decide on the opening of the negotiations:
The responsibility for taking the decision to open the negotiations belongs to the Council and not the European Parliament. I want to confirm that in the EP we will continue to encourage the European Commission or the Council so that the negotiations with Albania are opened in the first half of next year, always, if Albania continues the reforms.
With his declarations, it seems that MEP Fleckenstein has also once again clarified the situation to Prime Minister Rama, who recently had complained that the EU constantly invents “new reasons” to postpone opening the accession negotiations.
By arriving in Albania during the UN General Assembly, MEP Fleckenstein, who met with President Ilir Meta and other political leaders, also avoided meeting the Prime Minister in person.