Friday, June 18, 2010

EP Leaves Albania EU Fate to Country's Politicians

And so the sad saga about the standoff between Berisha and Rama to resolve their political differences goes on and on jeopardizing Albania's chances to enter the EU.

Read on...


EP Leaves Albania EU Fate to Country's Politicians
| 17 June 2010 |

Top members of the European Parliament have expressed regret that the two main political parties in Albania have been unable to solve their political stalemate, and have warned that the country risks stalling its EU bid if it does not find a solution.

“We sincerely regret that the Albanian Government and the opposition could not overcome their differences and have therefore not yet been able to take further necessary steps towards meeting the country's European ambition,” MEPs Joseph Daul and Martin Schulz said in a joint statement.

Daul is the president of the centre-right EPP grouping, and Schulz is the president of the centre-left S&D grouping in the European Parliament.

The two men, on behalf of their political groups, initiated talks between Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and opposition leader Edi Rama to help the country find a solution to the political dispute between the two main parties following the Albanian general elections on June 28, 2009.

Berisha, who heads the ruling Democratic Party, and Socialist Party leader Rama have been locked in a standoff over the results of the June 28, 2009 parliamentary elections, which Berisha's party narrowly won.

The Socialists blame alleged electoral fraud by the government for their loss and have sought a recount of election ballots. The government has stubbornly refused the recount as unconstitutional, arguing that it is a decision for the courts to take.

Daul and Schulz organised a meeting in Strasbourg on May 20 which was supported by the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, who was present at the meeting.

Representatives of the two sides have also met with an advisory team in Brussels and Tirana and have explored the views and positions of each party.

“We stress - together with the Council - that it is the responsibility of the Government of Albania together with the opposition to promptly find, in a transparent manner and in full respect of the Albanian constitution, solutions to the current stalemate and ways forward which will be required for the country on its EU path,” Daul and Schulz said in their statement.

They emphasized the Parliament's continued support for Albania’s path towards the European Union based on the Copenhagen criteria as well as the criteria defined by the December 2006 European Council conclusions on the renewed consensus for enlargement.

“In this context, we hope that the Albanian political leadership understands well that overcoming the present political controversies is crucial for the progress of the country's European integration and for the promotion of the Albanian citizens' European aspirations,” the MEPs warned.

They also asked the Albanian opposition to stay in the national parliament to continue their work and asked that the government work jointly with the opposition with the aim of reforming the electoral system and parliamentary procedures.


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