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EU Parliament, Albania not ready for accession negotiations

Press freedom among concerns, as corruption and organised crime

14 April, 17:47

(ANSA) - STRASBOURG, APRIL 14 - Key political and administrative reforms needed in Albania are progressing, but have yet to reach a stage at which EU accession negotiations could start, says the European Parliament in a resolution.

"Albania is on the right track towards EU membership" said the german rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein (S&D). "The country is currently preparing a very ambitious judiciary reform which will answer the most important concerns expressed by citizens and which will help to fight corruption in everyday life" he explained, adding that "Albania's citizens want to get ready for EU membership.

Now, their political leaders must keep up the momentum and continue implementing the reforms". The resolution says that if Tirana wants to start EU accession negotiations, it must intensify reforms in key priority areas, such as: rule of law, judicial reforms, the fight against corruption and organised crime, public administration reform and fundamental rights.

The European Parliament remains concerned about widespread corruption in education, healthcare, the judiciary and several other fields.

"Widespread self-censorship among journalists, who are sometimes physically obstructed from covering specific events, assaulted, or threatened because of their work" is also a cause for concern, the EU Assembly said. (ANSA)

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