I would like to thank our rapporteur, Mr Fleckenstein, for a very fruitful cooperation and his balanced view on Albania. In the last year Albania achieved significant progress, and the report clearly recognises the country’s role in regional stability as the only one of the Western Balkan states that is a full NATO member. Albania has constructive and stable relations with its neighbours and its foreign policy is in full compliance with the EU’s foreign and defence policy.
In domestic policies Albania has made some progress in meeting the political criteria for EU integration. Nevertheless, for the further course of reforms the government and opposition should ensure implementation of the political debate in the parliament, in order to consolidate and expand their achievements so far. As regards the economic criteria, Albania has made some progress in its pursuit of the functioning market economy, but it has to accelerate structural reforms in order to cope with the competitive pressure on the common EU market. As a result of the low competitiveness of the economy, unemployment is high and the grey sector is still large.
The report clearly highlights the challenges that Albania is facing and some of the positive steps that the government has taken to deal with them. Despite the reform of the judicial system, including the engagement of the Venice Commission, fundamental reform is still needed to increase the independence of the judiciary. The country has demonstrated political will to fight corruption which remains the major problem along with the organised crime that erodes statehood. There is a serious need to strengthen the de-politicisation of the state administration. On that point, we should congratulate the government on its efforts and the progress it has achieved in the reform of public administration.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasise that unification of Albania and Kosovo is only possible within the EU, because the European integration perspective remains the only viable option for all countries in the region.
Тази публикация е достъпна и на следните езици: Английски