Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/albania : Eu Calls for Calm, Warns Tirana on Accession Bid

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/albania : Eu Calls for Calm, Warns Tirana on Accession Bid

Article excerpt

The European Union and the international community have called for calm and restraint in Albania after three protesters were shot dead during an anti-corruption demonstration in Tirana, on 21 January. "We urgently appeal to all political forces to call for calm and refrain from provocation," the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said in a joint statement issued later the same day. They warned the Albanian leaders that any further prolongation of the current political stalemate, which led to the worst outbreak of political violence in a decade, puts the country's EU bid in serious jeopardy. "In order for Albania to progress on its European path, we once again urge Albanian politicians to engage in a constructive political dialogue to resolve without any further delay the long-standing political stalemate and to mobilise the country's energies to this end,'' the joint statement said.

Albania's right-wing government, led by Sali Berisha, and the Socialist-led opposition, headed by Edi Rama, have been locked in a long-standing dispute over the results of the June 2009 parliamentary elections, with the latter boycotting the work of the parliament. The opposition, which claims that the poll was rigged by the ruling party, partly suspended its boycott of the parliament and took up their parliamentary seats in the summer 2010, following mediation by the leaders of the European Parliament's main political groups. Since then, however, tensions have remained high. …

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