'Judicial Reform Is a Matter of In or Out!'
By Genc Mlloja Senior Diplomatic Editor
Albanian Daily News
Published November 13, 2019
"Sharing our institutional excellence is one of the main added values of the Italian Cooperation. The High Council of Judiciary of Italy is an indisputable one. The judicial reform for Albania is a matter of in or out. An effective Justice System attracts investments and creates new opportunities," has said Mr. Luca Maestripieri, the new Director of Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).
Mr. Maestripieri made that comment in exclusive interview with Albanian Daily News at the end of his two- day visit to Tirana (11-12 November 2019) whose highlight was the launch of the project 'Support for Albanian School of Magistrates'.
The ceremony took place on November 11 at the premises of the Albanian School of Magistrates and the event was attended by senior local government officials, judges, foreign diplomats accredited in Tirana and media representatives. It was also present Mr. David Ermini, Vice-President of Italy's High Council of the Judiciary, who held a speech noting among others that the event was a meeting having a special character for the Italian Council which believes in the cooperation between institutions and magistratures as an instrument for the sustainable development of an independent, efficient and responsible judicial system.
At the outset of the interview with Albanian Daily News AICS Director Maestripieri underscored that Albania is a priority country for the Italian Cooperation. "We have been funding cooperation initiatives since 1991. Once the humanitarian emergencies and the reconstruction phase have been overcome, today the priority is the positive acquisition of European standards, from public services to justice, from production chains to the protection and enhancement of natural and cultural heritages," said Mr. Maestripieri who has been nominated by the Italian Council of Ministers as new Director of this Italian Agency. His last role was vice director of the Development office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Albanian Daily News: Director Maestripieri welcome to Tirana! This is your first visit to Albania as Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Rome. What are your first impressions and which are the priorities of the Italian commitment for the development and European integration of Albania today?
Mr. Luca Maestripieri: Albania is a priority country for the Italian Cooperation. We have been funding cooperation initiatives since 1991. Once the humanitarian emergencies and the reconstruction phase have been overcome, today the priority is the positive acquisition of European standards, from public services to justice, from production chains to the protection and enhancement of natural and cultural heritages.
The Italian Cooperation is aligned with the strategy of the European Union and proposes itself as the main partner of the Albanian Government in three main areas: Good Governance and the Rule of Law, Environment and Nature, Competitiveness and Innovation.
As well, Albania is a Mediterranean country. The Italian Cooperation is deeply committed in creating a peaceful region for the Mediterranean communities and for the sustainable use of our shared marine resources. Sustainable fishery, responsible tourism, and protection of biodiversity are also priorities of the Italian Cooperation.
The first impression? Albania is a rapidly changing society. Its natural beauty and the hospitality of the people are impressive. International public opinion is interested in the many attractions of the country, still unknown and to be discovered. It is an opportunity not to be wasted. The Italian Cooperation is here, together with the Albanian institutions and communities, to consolidate their path of reform, for the sustainable development of the economy and for a positive European integration.
-Today a new initiative has started. A very important one indeed. For the first time the High Council of Judiciary of Italy will cooperate with the Albanian School of Magistrate. The judicial reform in Albania is of the highest importance. What is the added value of this initiative funded by the Italian Cooperation?
- Sharing our institutional excellences is one of the main added values of the Italian Cooperation. The High Council of Judiciary of Italy is an undisputable one. The judicial reform for Albania is a matter of in or out. An effective Justice System attracts investments and creates new opportunities.
With this important initiative, the Italian Cooperation wants to fund the future of the Albanian Justice and the School of Magistrates is the right place to start in order to train new and existing magistrates. A new Albanian judicial community is a strong and essential assurance to become soon part of the European community.
- What's the main expected result of the initiative just launched?
-The High Council of Judiciary of Italy is a constitutional institution. The main expected result is to support the constitutional reform of justice in Albania. The School of Magistrates is the right place where a new Albanian management of justice can start from.
In the next few weeks a high level mission from Italy will identify various activities to be carried out in constant dialogue with the Albanian Institutions and our International Partners.
- What should Albanian communities expect from the well known story of Cooperation between Italy and Albania?
- Change. A real change. The Italian Cooperation works with the Albanian Institutions to have impact. The Albanian Institutions have the ownership of its European future. The Italian Cooperation will keep on supporting dialogue and initiatives on the ground to improve the quality of life of Albanian citizens. It will monitor results and sustain all the future positive perspectives of European integration. Change is not a matter of words.
- Mr. Maestripieri, you said above that 'change is not a matter of words'. In this frame which is the message that you convey to the Albanian political class and Albanians of all walks of life some of whom cooperate with your Agency?
- I would say that we are all on the same boat. We have to work jointly in order to achieve sustainable development goals. We have to consolidate our democratic institutions and we have to fight against terrorism and organized crime. But we have also to fulfill jointly the economic conditions of our people in a way which is sustainable and give the young people the perspective of having a good life in the future.
- Given your experience on November 11-12 this year in Tirana which is the reaction of Albanians in the frame of cooperation with your Agency?
- I have seen very positive reaction. Even though my stay and agenda have been very tight, I have had the opportunity to meet people of your government, and they are very open to us. They know and perceive that the Italian cooperation is very important in our joint relations. So I expect the pursuit of the objectives that we have in front of us from the continuation of the cooperation.