This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech on the 2013 progress report on Albania

Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group – Madam President, Albania has been taking important steps towards meeting the EU criteria but, while we acknowledge that, this Parliament clearly defines the many areas where work needs to be done. Our list is long and includes the need to address tackling corruption and the need to reform public administration, eradicating organised crime, improving media freedom and independence, safeguarding the rights of various minorities, including Roma and LGBT, overcoming the political polarisation that runs deeply through society, reforming the judiciary and ensuring its independence, promoting a genuine dialogue between civil society and government, and guaranteeing the well-being of those who depend on the state, whether in prison or mentally ill. The Liberal Group supports the Commission’s position on granting Albania candidate status, which should not be mistaken for membership of the EU in any way. In election years especially, we must be clear about managing expectations and ensuring that debates about enlargement are fact-based. The same goes for addressing Albanian audiences. This is not a reward for one government or another, but rather a signal to all Albanians to encourage them to move forward with the many remaining reforms towards meeting the Copenhagen criteria. We have the well-being of the people in mind, which should benefit from continuing to walk down the European path.