In an interview given to the Deutche Welle on Nov.11th 2017, the Director for South-East Europe Department at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Christian Hellbach, declared that Albania should invest itself towards concrete advancements as of the justice reform and five priorities, if it’s looking to accelerate its EU integration process. Mr. Hellbach reminded also that in a country reigned by rule of law, no political immunity shall be above justice when concrete proofs are publicly available.

DW: Does Germany support Albania’s ambition to open its adhesion negotiations next year?

Christian Hellbach: Germany stands to the promise that all SEE countries have the prospect of integration and we support them in their efforts to implement the necessary reforms. The criteria to start the membership negotiations are known. It’s now in the hands of Albania to achieve the required progress in all five key priorities. A very important step is justice reform and the recently completed vetting commission. We look forward to their work and we will observe them thoroughly. Success is also expected to be achieved in the fight against organized crime and corruption.

DW: What is your comment on the current political situation in Albania? Namely, the investigations on corruption and on the links with drug trafficking groups of former Minister of Interior, but also the resignation of the Secret Services’ General Director?

Christian Hellbach: Allow me to answer this question in principle: one of Albania’s major tasks in the framework of EU integration is the uncompromising fight against organized crime and corruption. For this reason, there is a need to consolidate law enforcement bodies in their activity as well as criminal prosecution processes regardless of the person involved. Likewise, one should not abuse with parliamentary immunity to protect elected officials from being addressed by justice, if there are enough concrete moments of suspicion. This is an imperative of a state governed by rule of law.

During his stay in Tirana Mr. Hellbach met personally also with DP Chairman Basha and the Head of the parliamentary European Integration Committee Pollo.