26 February 2007
A Memorandum of Understanding involving civil society monitoring of the Albania-EU relations was singed on 26 March among the Ministry for European Integration and four civil society organizations: the Open Society Foundation for Albania, the Albanian Helsinki Committee, the Institute for International Studies and the European Center. During the ceremony, representatives of both the government and the civil society affirmed their commitment to foster civil society monitoring of the country’s progress toward European integration processes. Mrs. Arenca Trashani, Integration Minister, appreciated the participation of civil society in the integration processes and expressed the readiness of the Integration Ministry to make available and share all necessary information and data. Capajev Gjokutaj, Executive Director of the Soros Foundation, stressed the importance of civic monitoring as instrumental in improving the government’s performance, increasing access to information and enhancing the active role of stakeholders towards substantive progress of EU-Albania relations. Increase of civic participation is among the recommendations made by EU in the context of the European Council Decision of 30 January 2006. Part of the efforts to honor the European Partnership is also Albania’s task to institutionalize cooperation of governmental with non-governmental structures.
The project of civic monitoring of the implementation of the SAA is undertaken by the four organizations mentioned above to strengthen the representation of the civil society in the oversight of the steps to implement integration policies. This project is specifically designed to:
- Increase the responsibility of government and governmental agencies
- Increase civic participation
- Institute open and transparent governance processes and
- Identify problems and arrive at the most effective solution.
While they commit to offer expertise while retaining their objectivity and neutrality, these organizations will follow closely the steps taken by the government and will make available to the public periodically the results of the monitoring up to the publishing of the complete report at the end of the one-year monitoring period. The monitoring process will concentrate on progress in two main integration directions involving:
- Fields of special importance for the country’s social and economic development (for example fair competition, fiscal policies, MSE development and other spheres of economic progress);
- Fields of direct impact on the lives of citizens and areas that relate to the good governance and efficient administration of instruments affecting civic life and civil society in general (for example rule of law, free circulation of citizens, human rights, minority rights, media policies, access to information, ICT policies, etc.)