The EU dedicates €1.5 million to improve functioning of Albania’s Assembly (01/03/2012)

Tirana, 29 February 2012

PRESS RELEASE

A €1.5 million twinning was launched today between the Albanian Assembly, the Hungarian and French assemblies and the French Senate. High level experts from the legislatives of both Member States, together with other experts from Member States'  parliaments,  will work with the Albanian Assembly to improve its ability to deliver laws that promote the country’s democratisation and integration processes and to oversee the functioning of other constitutional institutions. The assistance has been requested  by the Speaker of the Assembly and will support Albania to address the first priority which Albania needs to meet to take further steps towards the European Union and on which Albania will be assessed again in autumn this year. This project is part of more than €28 million of support provided by the EU over the past five years for strengthening Albania's public institutions.

The Analytical Report that accompanied the European Commission's 2010 Opinion on Albania’s application for EU membership, and the Progress Report of 2011, identified several shortcomings in the functioning of the Assembly. In all democratic states, the functioning of the Assembly is of the highest importance to guarantee laws that are enforceable, laws that advance the political, economic, social and civil rights of citizens, laws that represent the needs and interests of society, laws that serve the advancement of the country. As the only institution that widely represents the various sectors of society, the Assembly is also responsible for the promotion of the common good and the national interest. EU integration, with its fundamental values of rule of law, human rights, equality and freedom, security and solidarity is a key national interest of Albania, as expressed by the people themselves in yearly public opinion polls, and as expressed by political actors. The Assembly is also crucial in the system of checks and balances of the powers within a democratic state, and has an irreplaceable role to play in the oversight of constitutional institutions, to ensure that they too serve citizens and the enjoyment of democratic rights.

Over the next 18 months, experts from the French and Hungarian Assemblies, the French Senate and other EU Member States will work with the Albanian Assembly to: 1) Improve the legislative procedure to allow for a more effective EU approximation process; 2) Strengthen the legislative, coordinating and awareness raising capacities of the Committee for European Integration; 3) Strengthen oversight capacity for all standing committees; 4) Improve the Assembly’s communication and information activities; 5) Improve management of the parliamentary budget and human resources, in accordance with EU standards.

During the launch event, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi noted that last year again the EU concluded that the functioning of the Albanian Assembly was not firmly anchored in constructive and sustained political dialogue. “This is the number one priority for candidate status”, he said. Addressing the Albanian Members of Parliament and leadership, Ambassador Sequi went on to emphasise that “Together with Albanians, we look at the Working Group on the Rules of Procedure of Parliament, we look at the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, we look at the engagement of both Assembly and Executive to address the 12 Priorities; together with Albanians, we look to you for concrete, tangible proof of your long-term commitment to Albania’s European future.

The team of the project will be bringing the wealth of experience and models of old and new member states from the EU to the Albanian parliamentary administration and political actors. The success of the project in improving Albania’s legislative will depend on the degree to which the leadership of the Assembly and all parliamentary structures will be receptive to the solutions offered.

For further information, please contact:
Artes Butka
Press & Information Officer
Tel: + 355 4 2228 320, + 355 42 228 479
Fax: + 355 4 230 752
E-mail: artes.butka@eeas.europa.eu
Delegation's website: www.delalb.ec.europa.eu