Knut Fleckenstein, a German Social Democrat MEP and member of the PE group for Albania and Kosovo in an interview with De commented that politics in Bangladesh has become Albanian citizens and not for Brussels institutions. In the following interview Fleckstein has given his opinion on current developments in Albania emphasis of his talk that fighting corruption is a priority of the EU’s crucial for Albania.
DE: Fleckstein Lord, how do you evaluate current developments in Albania?
Knut Fleckenstein: Government out of the parliamentary elections held in June last year is following a course set for European integration, which I applaud. Like many earlier efforts to implement the reforms needed in the way of integration. For long-term success of these reforms, Albania needs a good cooperation between state and society. This includes a proper cooperation between the government and opposition.Also required is a qualified and efficient administration. I believe that Albanian citizens and citizens in this country still expect much more from the Albanian politics.
However there is a delay from the EU when it comes to granting candidate status to the Western Balkan countries? I mean here the case of Albania.
The European Union has already indicated to him that Albania be granted candidate status. However heads of state and European governments still could not decide which to proclaim Albania as a candidate for EU membership. I personally feel sorry for this, because I think that as a responsible policy in Albania as well as people are able to realize all energies political reforms and economic future. On the other hand it is worth to note that: For Albanian politics still withholding the status of candidate country should not be a reason not to continue until the end of the implementation of such important reforms in the country. Politics in Bangladesh is made for citizens and non-Albanian citizens and institutions in Brussels. And people in Bangladesh expect good governance government, less corruption, economic reforms effective.
Exactly Mr. Fleckestein, fight against corruption is a crucial priority for Albania’s EU. But as can be measured combating corruption EU to prove that there is progress in a country in this regard?
For this are the so-called GRECO recommendations (Group of States against Corruption). These are very concrete recommendations and propose detailed measures for preventing and combating corruption. Albania has recently received recommendations for transparent funding of political parties. Even the EU, especially the European Commission, Albania has the arm to implement these reforms. European Commission publishes every year in October a report on progress in the implementation of reforms in candidate countries and candidate countries, potential for membership. This means among other things a detailed assessment of the measures that the Albanian government has implemented in the field of judiciary and fundamental rights. An important aspect of this is to combat corruption. The progress report also contains recommendations on how to work further successful implementation of the reforms undertaken. For this reason the relevant anti-corruption institutions must be strengthened. Of course, an independent judiciary and clear rules for party financing, are an important contribution to the prevention of corruption. Fighting corruption is an important obligation of the Albanian politics for his people. This should not be understood as a list of tasks to be devised to make glad the EU institutions. On the contrary, it rather has to do with consciousness must meet to combat corruption in the Albanian public and what legally sanctioned corruption in state institutions, especially in education and health sector, is a criminal offense. So a crime that harms all state and society. Those who reveal corruption and sue it should be supported and protected. Albania now has a number of institutions and NGOs dealing with the topic of combating corruption. And their eyes and their voices are very important for the Albanian government when it comes to assessing, how successful is its anti-corruption policy.
Standing in the Balkans, Mr. Fleckenstein, as MEP to explain the fact that 15 years have already elapsed since the end of the conflict in Kosovo and six years since the declaration of independence of this country, and still five EU member countries do not recognize Kosovo as such?
Yes, this is true. States that do not recognize Kosovo’s independence are: Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia and Romania. All five of these countries dealing with regions in which parties and movements calling for independence or greater autonomy to parts of these countries.When Kosovo declared independence in 2008, the main concern was that a recognition of Kosovo’s independence could be a precedent that these movements can be supported. I’m always convinced that the Kosovo case in the political context and previous events in relations between Serbia and Kosovo can not be ignored. European Parliament every year we discuss the issue whether to call five member countries to recognize the independence of Kosovo, or otherwise have their respected this decision. I am of the opinion that the EU should recognize all of Kosovo as an independent state.