EU Warns Albania on Parliament Boycott

The EU’s Enlargement Commissioner has appealed to Albania’s government and the opposition to find a solution to the current political stalemate and end the opposition’s month-long boycott of parliament.

“It takes two to tango and I appeal to the opposition to end the parliamentary boycott which does not respect European democratic standards,” Olli Rehn said. “Democratic debate must take place within the parliament,” he added.

The enlargement commissioner warned that the continuing boycott may have a negative impact on Albania’s European integration process.

Albania submitted an application for EU membership in April. The Commission is waiting for a green light from the EU Council in order to start working on making an assessment of whether the country is ready to become an EU candidate.

Olli Rehn underlined that the parliament’s lack of functionality may influence the Commission’s opinion. He warned that the purpose if preparing an opinion is to assess whether a country is ready to start accession negotiations with EU, and for that, a “country has to sufficiently fulfill political criteria”.

“If this parliamentary situation would continue too long it would have a negative impact on the analysis of political criteria and thus have negative ramifications on the chances of being granted a candidate status by EU,” Rehn warned.

The Enlargement Commissioner met Albanian foreign minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ilir Meta, who paid the first official visit to the EU’s capital since he took the office. Meta promised to his European interlocutor that the government would do its outmost to solve the impasse.

“The government is committed to working closely with opposition in this process and thus has continuously expressed its strong will on the matter and is expecting the opposition to take its responsibilities seriously,” Meta said.

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