Albania inaugurated its new European and American Vetting Law Implementation Observers’ Office on October 6. The director of the International Monitoring Operation, Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, attended the ceremony. She encouraged the members of the vetting institutions, saying that “the work of the vetting committees will bring positive changes.”
The purpose of the vetting law is to evaluate Albania’s judicial body, in order to “guarantee the proper function of rule of law and true independence of the judicial system, as well as the restoration of public trust in the institutions of such system.” Moreover, the judicial reform, which includes the vetting law, aims to decrease corruption in the judicial branch. Corruption in Albania’s judicial system represents one of the key factors that prevents its accession to membership in the European Union.
In a speech to the European Parliament on September 13, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker emphasized the Western Balkans as a region are becoming more important to the EU, especially due to Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia’s 2018-2019 European Council presidency elections. Additionally, the EU plans to create an integrated economic area among the six countries of the Western Balkans, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia and Kosovo. Albania will carry-out 115 projects to improve infrastructure and integration.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s ambassador to Albania, Robert Wilton, stated that “the real reform takes place in each courtroom and judicial office of this country. Albanian citizens must experience and believe in the reform. There will be no reform as long as the citizens do not believe in the justice of the system when they enter the courtroom.”