Honourable Chair of the High Judicial Council and Honourable Chair of the High Prosecutorial Council,
Honourable members of Civil Society, academia and ladies and gentlemen;
I am proud to support this event on Justice organised by the Civil Society.
Justice Reform gave new momentum to Civil Society participation. Now, you are not mere monitors or evaluators of the system, you are actors in the system. Ms Llagami on one hand and Mr Ibrahimi on the other are the concrete examples. They Chair the two core justice Councils and do so as representatives of civil society.
In this respect, the reform has made a crucial difference, opening the door to actors who monitor, evaluate and report on the justice system, to actually be part of it and have a direct contribution to its improvement.
My core message today is to encourage you all to be actively part of the new justice system. The system is now yours as well and it is also your direct responsibility to improve it and reinforce it, day after day.
Yesterday I commemorated the anniversary of the death of Giovanni Falcone and I quoted one of his main messages: "A better world is not a pipe dream but a responsibility of all of us". This is valid more than ever also here in Albania now.
The EU, as your main partner, is making sure that you have at your disposal the necessary source of funds and support CSOs participation in the justice system. Here we see this in practice, through this scheme, implemented by Save the Children and supporting 34 different grants of all sizes all across the country from Tropoja to Vlora!
We will certainly continue our support alongside a major commitment and partnership in the justice sector. When I look at our work, this is clearly the focus area of our support and will remain so, considering the importance of Chapter 23 and 24 in the integration process and in the early stages of the EU accession negotiations.
Today the Institute for Policy and Legal Studies will present a tool on how to monitor judicial integrity and how to monitor fundamental issues such as transparency, impartiality and efficiency in delivering justice.
Civil Society is a crucial part of the immunity of the judicial body, and it becomes particularly so when it develops tools that ensure constant and continuous monitoring;
Safeguarding the system is the job of all of us; It is the job of every citizen who refuses to bribe; the job of all who use all the legal tools in place to denounce illegal acts; the job of the institutions, the two councils now and soon also for the High Justice Inspector, to ensure that concrete measures are taken against violators but also a healthy accountability system is in place;
The large majority of Albanian people wishes for the reform to work and wants to see its full results. These aspirations should not be disappointed because the goal is a national one. It is a vision that unites rather than divides.
Today we count more new institutions than yesterday and tomorrow we will count more.
In terms of integrity, major progress has been achieved in keeping accountable judges and prosecutors whose assets, background and professionalism were not clear.
The justice reform is being implemented in full compliance with the Constitution of Albania and the relevant national legislation. This is a complex process, but the reform is moving forward, and it is irreversible, and it is of the utmost importance that all Albanian institutions support it.
In a few days we, the European Commission will present, also to Civil Society as we have always done, our full assessment of the progress of the country in all its details.
It will look at the transition, at the progress made and progress still needed. Transitions are, of course, challenging, they require endurance and patience. But we should not forget that the price we would have to pay without this reform would be way higher for the future of Albania.
Justice reform and the EU integration process in Albania should be a priority for every Albanian politician, a reason for unity, not divisiveness, for the benefit of the citizens. The EU will continue its support to the reform process and ensure the adequate monitoring of standards in close cooperation with the US.
Allow me to congratulate the organizers and look forward to events in the future where Civil Society and justice institutions openly discuss fundamental reforms such as the justice reform.