Netherlands Embassy in Tirana, Albania

Speech ambassador Van de Weerd

Launch of the Albanian Law Journal

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to be here today to launch the Albanian Law Journal. It is a novelty in the country. The journal is a new independent media channel and this bi-monthly online magazine will be freely available for the public. It focuses on four main areas: new legislation, human rights, court cases and developments in EU law. The Netherlands is happy to support this journal through our MATRA Rule of Law Programme. Because the Albanian Law Journal pays special attention to court case analysis, it will hopefully prove a useful tool for legal professionals and might give a contribution to strengthening the consistency of the decision-making of Albanian courts.

This publication is being launched at a crucial moment in time. We are all waiting for the judicial reform to get started. But I regret to see that delays seem to continue. This is against the will of the Albanian people, who can’t wait for this reform to start. It seems a disregard of all the hard work and investment already done by the Albanian people, politicians, legal experts, civil society and the international community. At this stage, to not appoint members of the vetting commissions and in this way complicating the vetting process, would seem like a lack of genuine political will to make this so needed reform happen. The vetting process first and then the entire justice system reform are, as everyone knows, crucial requirements for successfully moving forward Albania’s  EU integration process. So I hope all actors will take their responsibility in this process, rather today than tomorrow. We have all come a long way from the early stages of the justice reform and it is now time to have the rule of law prevail in Albania. This is a reform intended by the Albanian people for the Albanian people and as such, it stands above all other interests or agendas. I have been really impressed last year by how the Albanian political parties have been able to find each other in this reform, that is so crucial for Albania on its path towards EU-integration. So I really hope the Albanian people are not going to be kept waiting in vain, because that will have consequences for the pace of Albania’s EU integration. It will have consequences for the trust of the Albanian people in their leaders. It will have consequences for the hope they have for the future of this country. So let us not stay in this moment of lost energy, but focus together as soon as possible towards making more progress, also on other key-priorities such as fighting organised crime and fighting corruption. This journal focusses on the Europeanisation of domestic law. From this viewpoint, the journal is first and foremost a resource, but also a tool to bridge knowledge and experience between Albanian and European scholars. It is in this context of EU integration and the transformation and upgrading of legal standards, that the launch of the Albanian Law Journal by European Movement Albania, brings its added value. The Netherlands is very pleased to be able to support it, and I would like to thank EMA for this great initiative and wish the editors success. I hope the Journal will serve as a source of knowledge and legal interpretation, but also as a means of promoting the rule of law, transparency and improved accountability in the justice system.

Thank you.