Parliament, 12 April, 10.00 hrs
Dear Speaker Ruci, Members of Parliament, Minister Spiropali, Chairs and representatives of independent institutions, dear Ambassadors and colleagues:
I am here today to express our support to the work of independent institutions, which are the backbone of a democratic state and society. The European Union strongly encourages the efforts of Parliament, but also of Government, to improve coordination and accountability in the work of independent institutions.
We have welcomed Parliamentary monitoring mechanism when it was established. We have also taken note of the steps taken to strengthen it in the past year. We now urge and look forward to more tangible and publicly visible results. Such efforts, which in essence touch upon nearly every element of the state architecture, require long-term political and technical engagement.
With their oversight, regulatory and investigative functions, independent institutions are crucial to democratic governance and the embodiment of EU political values. Their role in maintaining balance of powers, a sound legal system that is duly implemented, as well as a responsible public administration cannot be overstated.
As a result, independent institutions are instrumental to progress on the main reform priorities that Albanian and the European Union have agreed on, and which we support and monitor. Such importance is reflected in the role that independent institutions have of our political dialogue with Albania, as well as our assistance to the country.
While much progress has been achieved, significant challenges remain. For a number of years, the European Commission Annual Reports have stated that Albania needs to further strengthen the capacity and professionalism of independent institutions. This includes the need to address gaps in the legislative framework, institutional set-up as well as budgets and human resources. Peer review missions as well as our assistance projects have recommended and supported enhancement of their independence and performance. The follow-up of recommendations from independent institutions by the legislative and executive powers is key for this to happen.
Let me close by reiterating that we welcome and look forward to the continued results of this effort. We encourage you to maintain an inclusive approach to this process, to ensure transparent monitoring, and to be even more ambitious. These efforts will ultimately lead to improved debate of proposals, better legislation, and strengthened implementation.
What we are discussing here today are not abstract political concepts. Independent institutions provide crucial guarantees for the rule of law, and for political, civic and economic rights, which have a direct impact on citizen's dignity and quality of life.