The Justice System in Albania – Analysis of Progress Report 2016
AbstractAlbania is one of the new democracies in the South-Eastern Europe which hopes to be granted the status of membership to the European Union. Since June 2014, Albania is a candidate for accession to European Union, after it fulfilled the requirements based on Stabilization and Association Agreement the negotiations of whom started in 2003 and was signed in 2006. Even though the formal application of Albania is dated in 2009, the country has undergone through a difficult process in order to fulfill the pre-requirements especially in the justice system in Albania. The level of corruption is considered the main problem which was highlighted also in the other Progress Reports of Albania and it is still considered to be an important impediment to Albanian accession to EU. Differently from the other progress reports, in the progress report 2016 (Albania 2016 Report), there are noted some improvements consisting mainly in the adoption of a set of constitutional amendments which was the starting point to thorough justice reform. Even though initially such process was faced with the severe diversion of opinions of Albanian main parties, they finally reached an agreement with the recommendations provided by the Venice Commission at the Council of Europe. The report considers as a positive step the newly adopted law on the re-evaluation of judges, prosecutors and legal advisors. Another positive aspect of the law is the re-evaluation (vetting) based on 3 criteria: integrity through assets assessment, background assessment (inappropriate links with organized crime) and professional competence. Such improvements weren’t sufficient enough to permit to Albania to start negotiations with EU as there are still many obstacles to overcome.
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