Tirana, 6 April 2006
We, Leo Platvoet, Dutch Senator from the European United Left, and David Wilshire, British MP from the European Democrat Group, paid a three-day visit to Albania on an information mission as Rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. The purpose of our visit was to up-date the Council of Europe Assembly’s report of 2004 on the honouring of obligations and commitments undertaken by Albania when joining the Council of Europe back in 1995 (see Resolution 1377(2004) appended).
We had meetings in Parliament, which organised our visit, with the Speaker of Parliament, the Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe, the Legal Affairs and European Integration Committees, as well as with leaders of the majority and opposition parties. From the Government, we met with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers of the Interior and Justice, Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Local Self-Government. We also met the Mayor of Tirana, the Ombudsman, the Presidents of the Constitutional Court and of the Court of Serious Crimes, the Vice-Chairman of the High Council of Justice, the Deputy Prosecutor General, as well as representatives of the international community and the civil society.
The issues we discussed with our interlocutors included, amongst others, the functioning of democratic institutions and notably of the Parliament, electoral reform, fight against corruption and organised crime, the functioning of the judiciary, implementation of legislation, local self-government, as well as human rights issues, including freedom of the media and access to information, property reform, prison and pre-trial detention conditions, police behaviour, minority rights, domestic violence and children’s rights.
We will now prepare a report which will remain confidential until the Albanian parliamentary delegation has the time to comment on it within a maximum of three months. We will subsequently finalise our report and present it for debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, if possible at the October 2006 part-session.