Before the opposition’s March 16th protest, the EU appealed everyone to restrain themselves from violence, underlining once again that the resignation of parliamentary seats has damaged the country’s integration.
Full statement of the EU embassy in Albania:
In view of the upcoming protest on 16 March, the European Union Delegation in Tirana reaffirms the importance of the fundamental right of all Albanian citizens to demonstrate. This right is a central pillar in any democratic society, but it must be exercised in a peaceful way, without recourse to violence. Any form of incitement to violence is not tolerable. We urge once again all party leaders to show responsibility in avoiding any escalation during the protests.
As already stated, we consider that the decision to relinquish parliamentary mandates seriously hinders the functioning of democracy in Albania, and it affects the EU integration of the country – a perspective fully shared by 93% of Albanian citizens. We continue to support those who are engaged in the democratic process in the Parliament, also to safeguard the interests of the Albanian population which wants to keep moving towards the EU. Progress has been made since last June in particular on the justice reform, as well as in the fight against organised crime, but there is still more work to be done in the next three months.
It is now very urgent to overcome the current political situation by establishing a national platform of dialogue among all parties concerned, also in view of the incoming June municipal elections. Albania needs a cross-party dialogue on the most urgent reforms, including reforming the electoral legal framework in line with the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations.