Doc. 8242

27 October 1998

Latest developments in Albania

Reply to Recommendation 1386 (1998)

from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 646th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (21 and 22 October 1998)

In reply to the Assembly Recommendation 1386 (1998) “On the latest developments in Albania”, the Committee of Ministers wishes to underline again that it fully shares the Assembly’s concerns and appeals addressed to the political leadership in this country.

Concerning paragraph 14 of the Recommendation, the following elements are brought to the attention of the Assembly.

On 30 September 1998, the Council of Europe Secretariat participated in a meeting in Brussels between representatives of the OSCE, the European Union and member States, as well as other international organisations, to found the so-called group of the “Friends of Albania” (FOA). This Group will constitute both at the international and local level (in Tirana) an informal forum for consultation and policy co-ordination.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Albania, based in Tirana since 6 July 1998, continues to participate actively through his contacts with all the main political actors on the spot in the different international efforts to stabilise the situation in the country.

The Council of Europe also remains, through its co-operation and assistance programmes, involved with the international efforts to stabilise the situation in Albania. In particular, the Venice Commission for Democracy Through Law continues to provide support for the successful completion of the process leading to a new constitution. The Council of Europe was invited to participate in the Ministerial Conference on Albania (Tirana, 30 October 1998).

At the Quadripartite meeting between the Council of Europe and the European Union of 7 October 1998 in Strasbourg, Commissioner Hans van den Broek announced that the Third Joint Programme between the Council of Europe and the European Commission for assistance to legal system reform in Albania is ready for signature in the near future in order to be operational by November of the current year. It will inter alia continue the support for the Albanian School of Magistrates and the strengthening of the judiciary.

The Council of Europe is intensifying its co-operation and assistance programmes with Albania along the following lines:

a)       Achievement of the programme to ensure compatibility of Albanian institutions, legislation and administration with European standards as embodied mainly in the European Convention on Human Rights. Further expert support for an already established Albanian working group is envisaged.

b)       Reinforced co-ordination of assistance to the reform of democratic institutions and the legal system. Within the framework of the mandate of the “Friends of Albania” Group the Council of Europe will convene in the immediate future in Tirana a co-ordination meeting in the field of legal system assistance, making use of its leading role in its domain of competence. Both bilateral and multilateral donors, including the European Commission, will be invited. The main purpose is to outline a strategy for improving coherence between the efforts of the different actors in the field.

c)       Further promotion of contacts and understanding among young Albanian political leaders, in an effort to bring political forces from the whole spectrum together, within the framework of the Council of Europe’s Democratic Leadership Programme (DLP) and with the support of the Swiss Authorities.

d)       Contacts between Albanian political parties and the promotion of local democracy will also be strengthened within the framework of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (CLRAE), through visits of members of the Congress and experts in Tirana and Strasbourg.”.