10 July 2008
After the first public appearance in November of 2007, the Open Society Foundation for Albania has published recently the interim report for 2008. In June, this report was also submitted to the EU authorities in Brussels.
The report is a contribution of a group of experts that have monitored the work of the Albanian government in the European integration process during the period from October 2007 until March 2008. The monitoring process was focused in four main directions: democracy and the rule of law, fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, home affairs and the institutional framework and administrative capacities on the management of the European integration process.
For the first direction, experts observe that despite the existence of a climate of consensus on the approval of the 87 laws and ratification of the international conventions, the government has not reported in the Assembly on the Council of Europe’s report of 6 November 2007. This period is characterized by the inflation of establishment of parliamentary investigatory groups, delays in the electoral reform, where the most concerning issue was the failure to draft the national register and the ID cards, weak performance of the public administration, still low standards in the justice system, lack of the monitoring instruments in the fight against corruption as well as clashes of competencies between the central and local government bodies in the decentralization process.
For the second direction, experts identify the lack of applicability by Albania of the European Court judgments, maltreatment of the detained suspects by the police, the lack of implementation of access to justice and in particular violation of the rights of the convicts for proceeding with the judgment of the case by the High Court, lack of protection systems for the people in need and the ones with limited abilities, updating of the statistical data on minorities and the slow speed of implementation of the Roma People Protection Strategy.
In respect to home affairs, the OSFA experts submitted progresses and problems that have to do with the visa policy, asylum seeking, migration, readmission, integrated border management, personal data protection, organized crime and traffics, fight against drugs, prevention of money laundering, fight against terrorism and efficiency in the police work.
The institutional framework and the administrative capacities on management of the European integration process, according to the experts, is still problematic. The periodic reports of the Albanian government addressed to the Council of Europe are prepared by the Ministry of European Integration are not made public and are not approved by the Council of Ministers or another higher administrative structure. Also, it results that the Assembly does not exert a supervisory role in this process and that the government has prepared no report for this purpose. The technical taskforce committee on the SAA implementation has been convened only once, units of European integration have been established only in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Environment, while in six ministries there is only one specialist that deals with the European integration issues.
The final report for 2008 is planned to be issued at the end of October.