Soreca: EU negations with Albania open in six months

“I think that negations with Albania will open in the first six months of this year during the Portuguese presidency”.

This was stated by the Ambassador of the European Union in Tirana, Luigi Soreca, during an interview for Voice of America (VOA).

The critical tones of the Prime Minister, Edi Rama, towards the EU, were also part of the conversation. The discussed “anti- defamation” law was noted, too.

The last condition for filling vacancies in the Supreme Court, was met by Albania at the end of 2020. “This brings Albania closer to what is required by the EU”, Soreca declared.

Portugal has taken over the rotating EU presidency. There are doubts that the Western Balkans have been overshadowed. Soreca emphasized that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Augusto Santos Silva, has stated that “there will be full commitment for the start of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia”.

Regarding the criticism that Rama has made towards the EU, Soreca claimed that he was “surprised by the statements of the Albanian Prime Minister”. He added that “EU solidarity has never been more visible than in 2020”.

There was a reminder about the donations that the EU has given for the earthquake of 2019 in Albania and the pandemic. “Billions of euros were invested in Albania, from the EU”.

The anti- defamation package has also sparked long-distance debates between the Albanian government and the EU. The issue was brought for opinion to the Venice Commission by the President of Albania, Ilir Meta. The European Council has criticized the bill.

“Last March, the European Council asked Albania to adapt the law with the Venice recommendations”, Soreca said. “In the end, it remains the decision of the Albanian Government”.

The EC approved the opening of negations with Albania in March 2020. Now, in 2021, they are expected to officially start. /

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