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You are here : Home > News > Speeches > June 2005 > OSCE, Permanent Council No 558: EU Statement in response to the Head of the OSCE presence in Albania, Ambassador Pavel Vacek
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OSCE, Permanent Council No 558: EU Statement in response to the Head of the OSCE presence in Albania, Ambassador Pavel Vacek

Date of Speech : 02-06-2005

Place : Vienna

Speaker : Jacques Reuter, permanent representative of Luxembourg at the OSCE

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

The EU is pleased to welcome Ambassador Vacek to today’s Permanent Council and thanks him for his comprehensive, thorough and balanced report. The EU has read the report with interest and congratulates the Ambassador for the valuable work of the Presence as well as for the fruitful cooperation with the host government.

The EU considers the forthcoming parliamentary elections, to be held on 3 July, as a critical opportunity for the people of Albania which should not be missed. The political class, primarily the leaders of the political parties, must live up to the people’s expectations and show its readiness to meet OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections at every stage of the ongoing electoral process. It is essential for the political parties to respect both the letter and spirit of the electoral code and the code of conduct. We firmly believe that a free and fair conduct of these elections, including in areas where minorities live and where elections have been particularly problematic in the past (eg. Himarra), will be of fundamental importance for the democratic development of the country and its further integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.

The EU expresses satisfaction with the improvements made to the electoral framework since the last parliamentary elections in 2001, and in particular during the last eight months. We especially commend the adoption of a new Electoral Code in January 2005, the re-composition of the Central Election Commission, the compromise agreement on the zone boundaries between the two major political parties and the final approval, by Parliament, of the law on new zones in March 2005. We strongly commend the role of the OSCE Presence and the OSCE/ODIHR in facilitating political agreements on these issues and in supporting their implementation through technical assistance, partly funded by the European Commission, notably to improve the country’s voter registers.

The EU notes with satisfaction that a framework is now in place that can provide for the conduct of free and fair elections. Serious and good faith efforts must be made to ensure that counting and the tabulation of results is carried out without the fraud and irregularities that have marred previous elections.  The Central Election Commission must ensure that it works in an impartial, professional and collegiate manner throughout the process. 

With regard to parliamentary capacity building, the EU welcomes the significant developments within the Albanian Assembly, which can be summarized in the adoption of the Assembly’s new Rules of Procedure in December 2004. This new legal text has contributed significantly to the enhancement of the institutional capacity of the Albanian Parliament, making it a more transparent, operational and accountable body. In addition, we value the work of the Presence in the fight against corruption and organised crime. This fight must be continued resolutely and with determination.

Mr. Chairman, the EU supports the priorities of the Presence’s work as described in Ambassador Vacek’s report. Through its activities the Presence plays an important role in supporting the reform process in the country as well as the strategic goals of the Albanian government.

We consider that the revised mandate of December 2003 provides a sound basis for the Presence’s activities. We look forward to a more detailed discussion of the Presence’s plans for 2006 in the upcoming Programme Outline deliberations.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, the EU wishes to thank and commend Ambassador Vacek and his staff for their valuable work on the ground. We welcome the continued close co-operation between the OSCE Presence and the European Commission delegation in Tirana. We are convinced that the OSCE Presence in Albania will remain a valuable partner of the Albanian authorities in assisting in the reform process as well as further steps towards integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania and the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia1  align themselves with this statement.

1Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

This page was last modified on : 03-06-2005

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