EU emphasises the need for organised legality to fight corruption and organised crime in Albania (19/04/2012)
Tirana, 18 April 2012
Nearing the end of its 10th year and a total fund of more than €17 million, the Police Assistance Mission of the EU to Albania (PAMECA) held today its Steering Committee Meeting to take stock of concrete results in the fight against corruption and organised crime. The Steering Committee Meeting gathered the Ministry of Interior, the Albanian State Police, the High Inspectorate of the Declaration and Audit of Assets, as well as judges and prosecutors. The third term of PAMECA has brought British and Austrian expertise to improve the work of the Albanian State Police in guaranteeing public order and security, integrated border management, and the fight against corruption and organised crime.
As a fundamental component of a democratic and just society, guaranteeing the rule of law is a pre-requisite for EU membership. The Opinion of the European Commission on Albania’s readiness for candidate status, and its accompanying Analytical Report, clearly identified shortcomings in areas pertaining to the rule of law: justice reform, fight against corruption and organised crime. Specifically, the Opinion noted the need for a solid track record in investigations, prosecutions and convictions of corruption and organised crime at all levels as an indispensable indicator that the law prevails on all citizens, at equal measure.
Addressing all participants at the meeting, and especially police, prosecutors and judges, the Head of the EU Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi emphasised that “That track record depends on all of you – because organised crime and corruption, organised illegality can only be fought by organised legality”. After so many years and millions of assistance, and with Albania’s legal framework in criminal justice complete, Ambassador Sequi added that “Citizens and the EU together with them, are not interested in a ping-pong of blame: we are interested in how you enforce the spirit and the letter of your laws”. Ambassador Sequi pointed out that it is a matter of responsibility to ask for results after so many years and millions of support from the European taxpayer, money that was not spent on schools and hospitals in the EU, but in Albania to strengthen the rule of law.
PAMECA began its work in 2002, building on previous experience and knowledge of the needs and gaps in guaranteeing public order, security and the rule of law in the country. Since then, PAMECA has cost more than €17 million, spent on trainings and capacity-building, equipment and infrastructure. Complementing PAMECA, the EU has enabled the construction of 10 border crossing points and the refurbishment of 17 border police stations in Albania through €6 million, and has granted another €3.5 million to provide 8 high-speed modern patrol vessels for the Albanian police and customs to effectively control the blue border. The EU is Albania’s main partner, with its commitment to the EU future of the country and financial assistance to support Albania’s efforts towards that future, which in the past 5 years alone has amounted to €470 million.
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