It was a pleasure to meet Minister Gjonaj - this time in Tirana! – to discuss the progress of justice reform in Albania and the ongoing and future bilateral cooperation between the EU and Albania.
I praised Minister Gjonaj for the excellent meeting of the EU-Western Balkans Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Forum organised yesterday in Tirana with the Ministers of Justice of the Western Balkans, organised in close cooperation with the Austrian Presidency of the EU.
This meeting was essential in defining the way forward between the EU and the region on what is our core issue: the rule of law.
On the current situation in Albania, I shared with Minister Gjonaj my positive appreciation of the ongoing vetting process. I stressed that adequate resources should continue to be allocated to the vetting institutions and to the School of Magistrates which must play a key role in filling the gaps created by the vetting.
I raised that the absolute priority should now be to swiftly establish the new judicial institutions.
Progress in the implementation of the justice reform is key to EU integration of Albania. The EU encourages all competent prosecutors at appeals level to apply for the positions at the High Prosecutorial Council, which will play an important role in the Albanian justice system, notably in view of the establishment of Special Prosecutor for Anti-Corruption and the National Bureau for Investigation in the near future.
We discussed the issue of anti-money laundering, and I recalled the importance for the Albanian authorities to implement swiftly all the recommendations of the July Moneyval report and remedy the identified deficiencies. This is essential to prevent a grey listing of Albania by the Financial Action Task Force.
Finally, we had the signing ceremony of the Eurojust-Albania Cooperation Agreement today. This is a very important step forward for Albania.