Speaking in ceremony organised by the office of the ombudsman, Albania’s President Bamir Topi, US and EU diplomats called on the country’s politicians to show greater respect for democratic standards.
“Democracy, constitutional law and human rights are dynamic concepts, always progressing and as such efforts to stand alongside them, to strengthen the principles and the standards of the World we want to be integrated in is a daily challenge for us all,” said Albania’s head of state.
The president warned that Albania is at a critical moment of its development, with its recent application for EU candidate status under review, and called for greater responsibility by political actors.
“We should all try to direct ourselves toward our better values. try to transform Albanian democracy into a real democracy, according to the [EU] principals toward which we have departed with a one way ticket,” Topi said.
Western diplomats present at the meeting warned that Albania had a lot to tackle, when it comes to its human rights record.
“Good governance means respect for the rights of citizens, means a just judicial system, war on crime and corruption, all achievable if the involved factors fulfill their duty,” said OSCE ambassador in Tirana, Robert Bosch.
US ambassador John L Withers, called for greater independence of the Albanian judicial system, which has been plagued by political intervention, especially related to high profile corruption cases.
“The independence of the judiciary is a principle column of a democratic society and the stepping stone by which such society is built,” said Withers. “No government institution can intervene in the judicial system because no one is above the law,” he added.