Tags: EU | Albania | US | Politics

Albania Opposition against EU, US Role in Vetting Process

Wednesday, 13 July 2016 05:37 PM

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The United States has failed to convince Albania's main opposition Democratic Party to accept a judicial reform package considered fundamental to ensuring that the European Union will launch membership negotiations with Albania.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, on a visit Sunday to Tirana, offered a new proposal on how Albania should create a panel that vets all judges and prosecutors. Democrats' leader Lulzim Basha on Wednesday said he did not agree with the idea that EU and U.S. officials get to actively participate in any decision of the new vetting panel.

Basha said the EU and U.S. officials should only enjoy a monitoring presence "without discretional powers."

That would be "an absolute exemption from the experiences in other countries that have had the same tough problems with the judiciary before EU membership, like Romania or Croatia," Basha said.

Democrats have been continuously hampering the process of drafting the legal package since the start, always bringing out different contested issues.

The E.U. office in Tirana said "a limited targeted role of the international community through the International Monitoring Operation is crucial," denying they had ever suggested any executive power for themselves.

Ruling Socialists need support from some opposition members in the 140-seat Parliament to endorse the reforms. A vote on it is planned next week. Albania's judiciary is considered too corrupt now to allow the country to join the 28-nation EU.

Albania, a NATO member country since 2009, was granted EU candidate status in 2014.

If the judicial reform package isn't passed on July 21, it may sink the government, delay the matter from further consideration for a year, or even trigger a new election. Ultimately, failure would result in no EU membership talks this year as hoped.

Checking judges' and prosecutors' professionalism, their income, properties, personal life and that of their close family members is a key tool of the drastic reform package that aims at fighting their lack of professionalism and corruption mentioned in all reports on Albania's post-communist period.

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The United States has failed to convince Albania's main opposition Democratic Party to accept a judicial reform package considered fundamental to ensuring that the European Union will launch membership negotiations with Albania.U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria...
EU,Albania,US,Politics
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2016-37-13
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 05:37 PM
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