Contradictions within the European Commission on the Albanian “anti-defamation law” – Exit
The European Commission maintains that the abolition of the Albanian anti-defamation package is not a precondition for the holding of the first intergovernmental conference of accession negotiations.
Exit sent a number of questions to the Commission and the European Parliament on the issue of the media law which, if enacted in its current form, would place online media under the direct control of a body appointed by the state.
Earlier this year, Exit asked Albanian EP rapporteur Isabel Santos on the status of the law. She has twice claimed that he was withdrawn from parliament by the Albanian government. This is not true, and it still appears as active on the agenda of parliament. Santos declined to clarify his statement despite repeated requests for comment.
On this subject, the European Council declared that it was not for it to comment on the matter or the behavior of Santos.
Exit then asked if they would agree to the bill still being pending in parliament. They accepted that it was, thus contradicting Santos. They said that “the majority have made it clear that they have no intention of continuing the adoption of this pending legislation and that they will comply with the recommendations of the Venice Commission if the legislation were to be adopted in the future “.
The law was passed by the Assembly, rejected by the President, and then returned to the Assembly. If the Assembly voted it again, it would become law without the President’s consent. The government has made no attempt to formally or publicly withdraw the bill.
The EC report of States of March 2020:
“Before the first intergovernmental conference, Albania should adopt…” She then lists a number of actions that must be carried out, in particular “the modification of the law on the media in accordance with the recommendations of the Venice Commission”. He described this as an important priority.
The EC made a previous statement to Exit in which it stated that: “The draft amendments to the media law were not on the list of conditions set by the Council in March 2020. necessary; but if any amendments were to be adopted, they would have to be in accordance with the opinion of the Venice Commission.
The answer given by Pisonero today partly contradicts this. She said:
“The hasThe adoption of amendments to the media law is not a prerequisite for the holding of the 1st IGC of accession negotiations. But if ever they were to be adopted, our constant position is that such amendments should be in accordance with the opinion of the Venice Commission. “
When asked whether the bill meets international standards and EU values, Pisonero said: “We welcome Albania’s commitment to comply with the recommendations of the Venice Commission if she decides to continue with amendments to the media law.
Former EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca said the law does not respect free speech standards and does not comply with EU law.
“The European Commission initially called for these initiatives to be fully aligned with EU directives on audiovisual media services and electronic commerce. Although the main previous concerns related to the EU acquis appear to have been resolved, the full compliance of the draft amendments with freedom of expression standards has yet to be ensured.
Various other EU officials had also condemned the law before, but have since reduced their criticism and stopped mentioning it altogether.