'OSCE Presence in Albania Plays Pivotal Role in Supporting Country's Reform Process'
Albanian Daily News
Published November 15, 2017
Representing the 2017 OSCE Chairmanship, Austrian Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Linhart visited Tirana on Wednesday, highlighting the pivotal role the OSCE Presence in Albania plays in supporting the country's reform process.
Linhart visited the OSCE Presence in Albania, where he was briefed by the Head of Presence, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt, and his staff. As part of the bilateral agenda, he met Albanian President Ilir Meta, Deputy Prime Minister Senida Mesi, Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Artemis Dralo, and the leader of the opposition, Lulzim Basha.
Linhart commended the Presence for its flexible and needs-based support to Albania's authorities: "The OSCE field operations are a distinct asset of our organization, to provide tailor-made assistance to the ongoing reform processes in the respective host countries. Recognized throughout Albania, the Presence is an outstanding proof of this approach."
"Assistance in the consolidation of the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, as well as transparent, fair and inclusive electoral processes is a crucial component of the Presence's mandate," said Linhart. "We encourage the Albanian authorities to take maximum advantage of the tailor-made support it offers and to make use of the whole spectrum of OSCE tools, including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the High Commissioner on National Minorities and the Representative on Freedom of the Media."
Borchardt spoke about Albania's constructive role in fostering regional co-operation, including the recent youth exchange initiatives co-organized by Albanian authorities and the OSCE Presence.
"We are glad to closely work with youth and include youth perspectives into the OSCE's daily work, enhancing their confidence and dialogue," said Borchardt. "The Presence stands ready to continue supporting Albania and working with the government, political actors, civil society, media and all of society to achieve progress in key reform areas."
The OSCE Presence has been active in Albania since 1997. The current mandate of the Presence is to assist Albania in developing effective democratic institutions and to promote the rule of law and human rights in line with the priorities of the country. It does this through a variety of legal and administrative reform initiatives; activities aimed at fighting corruption and trafficking; and programmes to develop the country's media, support civil society, and train police and customs officials.