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GRECO calls on Albania to step up fight against corruption

GRECO calls on Albania to step up fight against corruption Skanderbeg square, Tirana, Albania

TIRANA (Albania), July 12 (SeeNews) – The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) on Thursday acknowledged Albania’s progress in fighting corruption but called on it to complete pending reforms.

“Albania has so far fully complied with four of the 10 recommendations it issued in its evaluation report in 2014. The other six recommendations have only been partially implemented,” GRECO said in a press release, following the publication of a report on corruption prevention among members of parliament, judges and prosecutors.

GRECO welcomed as an important step forward the adoption in April of the code of conduct for members of parliament, covering issues such as conflicts of interest, accessory activities, gifts, and post-employment restrictions, but said there is lack of clarity about the enforcement of these rules and sanctions in case of breach.

GRECO also hailed as a positive step the decision to limit the role of the Albanian president to the formal appointment of High Court judges on proposal of the High Judicial Council, composed of a majority of judges elected by their peers, and the creation of the independent High Justice Inspector as the authority responsible for dealing with complaints, investigating violations and initiating disciplinary proceedings against all judges.

However, GRECO said it regrets the persistent delays in the periodic evaluations of judges.

“Insofar as prosecutors are concerned, the report notes progress in the legal framework for their evaluation, which is now to include more criteria connected to integrity and ethical standards, although the High Prosecutorial Council, which is to be responsible for evaluating prosecutors, has yet to be established,” it commented.

The Albanian authorities should provide an update of progress in implementing the outstanding recommendation by March 31, 2019 at the latest.

In June, the Council of the European Union said it agreed to respond positively to the progress made by Albania and set out the path for opening accession negotiations in June 2019.

The Council granted the status of EU candidate country to Albania in 2014. 

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