OSCE

              

Albania and the OSCE

 

Albania became a participating country to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) – (at that time CSCE) during the proceedings of the Ministerial Council of Berlin (19-20 June 1991). The Helsinki Final Act was signed on 16 September 1991, followed by the signature of the Charter of Paris for a New Europe on 17 September 1991. This moment marked a substantial change in the course of Albanian foreign policy, which would free Albania from international self-isolation and bring it closer to the Euro-Atlantic community by sharing the principles and values of freedom, democracy and rule of law. The accession of Albania to the OSCE was accompanied by deep legal reforms concerning respect for human rights. The circumstances that enabled Albania to access the OSCE comprised the democratic movement of December 1990, the first pluralistic elections and the adoption of the Provisional Constitutional Package, on 29 April 1991. This Package encompassed provisions that accepted political pluralism and respect for human rights.

Following the internal unrest of 1997, the relations between Albania and the OSCE entered a new dimension. The Danish Chairmanship, through its Special Envoy, the former Austrian Chancellor, Dr. Franz Vranitzky, brokered the resolution of the political crisis and enabled the opening of an OSCE Presence in Albania. The Presence is not a permanent representation of the OSCE in Albania, but has a temporary mandate, the latest version of which was adopted in 2003. Today the Presence supports the legal, judicial, administrative and property reforms and helps the Albanian authorities in the parliamentary capacity - building, in the fight against corruption and promotion of good governance and empowerment of civil society. The Presence also supports the State Police in the process of dismantling of the old ammunitions stocks and supports Albania in the implementation of the commitments taken, as a participating country to the OSCE. The OSCE Presence in Albania has gradually reduced the number of projects, which reflects the progress of our country and the more efficient use of the financial resources of the Presence. It has recently closed its four regional offices (namely in Shkodra, Kukës, Vlora and Gjirokastra), which also shows the progress Albania has made in the fields of the mandate of the Presence. The OSCE has Missions in all the countries of the Western Balkans, which operate in compliance with their respective mandates, approved by the Permanent Council, the main decision making body of the Organisation. The Ambassadors of all 57 participating States to the OSCE take part to the Permanent Council. Albania works hard so that the activities of these Missions are effective and serve to building peace, stability and European integration of the region. It also cooperates closely with OSCE institutions, such as ODIHR and the Office of the Representative for the Freedom of the Media. This cooperation is focused on fields of interest for Albania, such as electoral reform, the digitalisation process, the reform of public television and the Authority for Audio-visual Media.

The increased role that Albania has continuously played in the region and beyond has had an impact on the substantial change of relations with the OSCE. Albania is no longer just a consumer of the OSCE expertise, but it contributes considerably in maintaining and boosting the role of the Organisation in the European security architecture. During the last years Albania has increased its profile in the OSCE. It hosted the Autumn Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (October 2012), the High Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-discrimination (May 2013) and the Third Southeast Europe Media Conference (September 2013). Our offer to take the OSCE Chairmanship in the near future is the expression of the new level of relations between Albania and the OSCE and will embody the greatest contribution that our country will give to the issues of security in Europe.

The contribution of Albania in regional developments, where the OSCE has dislocated 6 Missions is very welcomed by the Organisation.