Council of Europe

Albania and the Council of Europe

Albania has functioned as a pluralistic parliamentary democracy since spring elections of 1991. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe sent for the first time observers to this election. Based on the conclusions of the observer mission and the subsequent political developments, the Albanian parliament was granted the status of 'special guests' to the Parliamentary Assembly of CoE, on November 25, 1991.

From April 1991 to September 1993 eight constitutional laws were adopted thus improving the legal framework for the development of democracy. These laws provided the construction of a parliamentary republic and settled the foundation for the division of powers. Likewise, the laws provided a list of human rights and fundamental freedoms, based on consultation with international experts.

Albania applied to join the Council of Europe on 4 May 1992. By Resolution (92) 9 of 21 May 1992, the Committee of Ministers asked the Parliamentary Assembly to give an opinion, in accordance with Statutory Resolution (51) 30 A.

Starting from May 1992 the reporters of Monitoring Committee of the Assembly held several successive visits to the country. In January 1993 started the implementation of a joint program, co-organized by the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the fields of human rights and the rule of law. The program addressed various issues, such as: training of judges, lawyers and police officers. It also included the reform of the General Prosecution Office, the judicial system, the Ministry of Justice and prisons. Furthermore assistance was even oriented in the drafting of civil and criminal codes as well as of their respective code of procedures.

The new Civil Code of the Republic of Albania came into force in November 1994. The new Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code entered into force respectively, on June 1, and on August 1, 1995. On 23 March 1995 an agreement was reached on a new joint Committee between the European Commission and the Council of Europe concerning another joint program on the reform in the legal system.

The Assembly evaluated that Albania, in terms of Article 4 of the Statute, was capable and willing to fulfill the conditions for membership to the Council of Europe, as defined in Article 3 which states that: 'Any member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and the principle that any person within its jurisdiction enjoy the same human rights and fundamental freedoms, and collaborate sincerely and effectively to the fulfillment of its goals”.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe trusted that Albania shall interpret the commitments taken fully in line with those defined in paragraphs 13 and 16 of its Statute, so it expressed a favorable Opinion (Opinion no. 189, 1995), by accepting the request for membership forwarded by the Albanian authorities.

The thirteen commitments of Opinion 189 (1995) of Parliamentary Assembly settled the basis of obligations and engagements undertaken by the Albanian government with regard to the Council of Europe membership. So far Albania has almost met all of them.

Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of Albania (May 23 to November 9, 2012)

The Republic of Albania chaired the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the first time since its membership in the second 6-month period of 2012 (May, 23 - November, 9). To support and promote the fundamental values ​​of the organization, the Albanian Presidency focused on the following priorities:

1. Promoting sustainable democratic societies;

2. Strengthening the local and regional democracy;

3. Strengthening the rule of law in Europe;

4. Bringing forward the political reform of the organization;

5. Guaranteeing the long term effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights;

6. Guaranteeing the protection and promotion of human rights;

7. Stimulating intra- and inter-institutional dialogue.

1. Promoting sustainable democratic societies;

The guiding motto of the Albanian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers was 'United in diversity', thus considering diversity not only as an important asset of European democratic societies, but also as a valuable element lying at the foundation of the Albanian tradition.

Programmatic Cooperation Document between Albania and the Council of Europe

The Cooperation Document is a strategic and sectorial instrument that allows for access to a comprehensive and contemporary cooperation and aims to support the country in meeting its obligations in accordance with European standards in the field of human rights, rule of law and democracy. Main areas in the document include the political priorities of the country (including the criteria for EU membership), the standards and recommendations of the CoE monitoring bodies as well as previous experience of the implementation of cooperation programs between the CoE and Albania.

The Cooperation Document covers the following areas:

  • Ensuring Justice
  • Fighting Corruption, Economic Crime and Organised Crime
  • Freedom of Expression and Information Society
  • Anti-discrimination, Respect for Human Rights and Social Inclusion
  • Democratic Governance and Participation