EU-Albania 8th subcommittee on Justice, Freedom and Security held in Tirana (04/03/2016)

The 8th Subcommittee meeting on Justice, Freedom and Security between the EU and Albania was gathered on 3-4 March in Tirana. Representatives from the European Commission engaged with relevant Albanian authorities on the most recent developments in the area of justice, fundamental freedoms, home affairs and security matters. The meeting was co-chaired for the EU by Ms Michela Matuella, Head of Unit for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Directorate General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, and for Albania by Mr Sokol Mici, Head of Cabinet of the Minister of European Integration.

The two delegations have reviewed into details all the latest progress put in place by Albania in meeting the objectives that were set by the EU to open accession negotiations under the so-called Key Priorities framework. Technical engagement in this context has also provided a good opportunity to discuss preparation of the upcoming High Level Dialogue, which will take place in Tirana on 30 March 2016 and will be co-chaired by Mr Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the Prime Minister of Albania Mr Edi Rama.

The Albanian authorities provided an overview of the recent achievements in the rule of law sectors, notably in the fight against drug trafficking, asylum and migration, border management and visa policy, police cooperation and fight against organised crime, terrorism, corruption, justice system reform and fundamental rights.

European Commission representatives recalled the main findings of the Albania report 2015, which noted steady progress on all reform priorities, and then commended the commitment by the authorities of Albania to further pursue achievements on the reform agenda. The Commission emphasised in particular that consolidating independence, accountability, efficiency and overall professionalism throughout the justice system will be a cornerstone for the irreversible entrenchment of the rule of law in the country. In this context, the Commission reiterated the importance of the ongoing preparations of the judiciary reform package, to be finalised in line with the recommendations from the Venice Commission and then introduced into parliamentary procedure in due course. Beyond the judiciary, the Commission underlined that consistent and sustainable progress needs to be demonstrated in all other areas, including by achieving concrete operational results in the fight against organised crime and corruption, as well as on human rights issues and property rights.