Today, the Albanian Parliament has withdrawn the vote on the so-called “Anti-Defamation” package, as this new law must be first examined by the Venice Commission. The decision to postpone the vote, until the Venice Commission evaluates it, was requested by civil society organisations, as well as the international community, including the EU and the Council of Europe. The S&Ds call on the Albanian Parliament to respect all the recommendations from the Venice Commission concerning freedom of expression and media before voting on the new law.
S&D vice-president for foreign affairs, Kati Piri, said:
"This is a very good and mature decision of the majority in the Albanian Parliament, as media freedom is the core condition for countries aspiring to join the EU. This shows a willingness to abide by European rules, cooperation with international institutions and respect for our values. We call on all political parties in Albania to take the recommendations of the Venice Commission very seriously before the new media law is voted. As Albania intends to advance on the path towards EU membership, it should be ready to listen to the opinions and advice coming from European partners who share in Albania's aspirations of joining our family.
S&D MEP Isabel Santos, EP rapporteur on Albania said:
"I see today’s decision as another sign of Albania’s desire to make progress towards EU membership. The willingness to listen and cooperate with the Council of Europe through the Venice Commission, the European Union and the international community shows that the country continues to be committed to the accession process. Hopefully this is one more signal to EU member states that we need to unblock this situation quickly. On our side, we need to match the actions shown today by the majority in the Albanian Parliament with more progress.
When it comes to Albania, I am a fierce supporter of the enlargement process and believe that it can only benefit from a de-escalation of the political disputes in the country and an awareness that only together different actors can face the challenges and succeed in the efforts of becoming an EU Member.