EU concern over political situation in Albania

EU foreign ministers have expressed their concern over the political situation in Albania, where the ruling and opposition parties have not yet found a solution to the political crisis that began almost one year ago.

“It is high time to find a solution to the current crisis on a basis which will stand the test of time,” the foreign ministers said in their conclusions following a meeting in Luxembourg.

They reiterated that it is the responsibility of both the opposition and the ruling party to find “solutions and
ways forward which will be required for the country on its EU path”.

The Council welcomed the initiative of several MEPs to try to help Albanian leaders resolve the stalemate but regretted that “the facilitation initiative has not yet found sufficient support to enable the Albanian government and the opposition to overcome their differences”.

Albania has faced political deadlock since the country’s June 2009 parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Sali Berisha from the ruling Democratic Party and opposition leader Edi Rama of the Socialists have been locked in a stalemate over the results of the elections, which Berisha’s party narrowly won.

Berisha and Rama have so far failed to agree on the powers of a parliamentary commission set to investigate alleged irregularities in the parliamentary ballot held on June 28, 2009.

While the Socialists seek a recount of the ballots, claiming that the government’s alleged fraud was to blame for their electoral loss, the majority insists that the opposition has exhausted all legal means for a recount to take place.

Albania’s main political parties met with EU representatives in Strasbourg at the end of May, but an agreement has still not been reached. The parliament has, however, largely returned to normal following the nomination by the Socialist opposition of a deputy speaker and committee members last week. The foreign ministers welcomed this development.

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