“The EPP Group welcomes the electoral reform political agreement reached in Albania. We insist that this reform needs to be concluded and implemented before the next parliamentary and local elections”, stated MEPs Andrey Kovatchev, EPP Group Vice-Chair, and Michael Gahler, EPP Group Spokesman on Foreign Affairs, following the meeting of Albania’s National Council of European Integration where EU-related conditionality and relevant measures to be taken by the government were discussed.
“The elections need to be free and fair. This is essential for democracy in Albania and at the same time meets two conditions for starting EU accession negotiations”, said Kovatchev.
"As another condition to start accession negotiations, the European Council in March required Albania to clarify the lawfulness of the local elections of 30 June 2019. The fact that local governments in Albania are run by a single party puts it at odds with the fundamental notion of a plural democracy. Legislation that threatens the freedom of expression must be rescinded and criminal proceedings must be launched over the allegations of vote buying in past elections”, Kovatchev added.
“The EPP Group continues to support Albania on its path towards the EU. Therefore we appreciate the accord between the government and the opposition parties in Albania on an important part of the electoral law reform, as recommended by the EU and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). If concluded in this spirit and implemented in good faith before the next parliamentary and local elections, it will move Albania one step further down the European path”, highlighted Gahler.
“There are 15 conditions that Albania must meet to start the accession negotiations. Their fulfilment is not only a procedural act, but will serve first and foremost the Albanians. We will continue to call on the Albanian authorities to fulfil all 15 conditions and we will closely monitor developments”, concluded Kovatchev and Gahler.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States