Albania ready to open EU accession negotiations in 2018: Austrian envoy Sattler for SCAN’s PASSPORT
Austrian Ambassador to Albania Johan Sattler, a guest at the PASSPORT show hosted by journalist Arbër Hitaj, talked about the political relations between the two countries and the integration process into the EU.
Ambassador Sattler said that the time has come for Albania to open the next step related to the EU accession in 2018, but it is important to continue with the implementation of the justice reform.
The justice reform for the Austrian diplomatic will bring a radical change for common people as well as for the business community.
The Austrian ambassador also addressed the climate of doing business in Albania, considering it problematic due to corruption related to the lack of an independent judicial system, something that is a widespread phenomenon in the region as well.
Asked whether he thinks the accession negotiations with the EU will be opened and Albania will be supported in its EU path, Sattler said:
“Generally I am a very optimistic person, so my answer is yes, we can take the next step, 28 countries will praise progress, and Albania knows that work and performance will be assessed in different sectors such as the rule of law, the fight against organized crime, as well as in some other sectors, and then I think there will be a good opportunity to take the next step.”
“Since I have had the pleasure to work for a period of time even in other countries of the region, Albania’s advantage over other countries in the region is that there are no problems with the state structure, no problems between different and important ethnicities, Albania has no problem with the East-West dilemma.”
“Albania has an obvious orientation towards the West. I think this is a big advantage, which I think will also help Albania. And last but not least, I think you have plenty of energetic people, so there are a lot of energetic people who want change and who want the country to develop for the sake of their children, and this is a country that has the potential to develop.”
In relation to the climate of doing business in Albania and its impact on foreign companies, Sattler said:
“To be honest, the current picture is not so good. It shows that it is difficult, especially for small or medium-sized businesses, to enter the Albanian market. We have the problem of corruption, but this problem is not only in Albania but in the whole region as well.”
“What makes things more difficult is a kind of unpredictability, and this makes things difficult especially for smaller businesses. And here it is important to talk about the justice sector, since with the justice reform it will be more credible, so these companies have an opportunity, if they go to court, they will have a fair court trial, which unfortunately today in many cases does not occur.”