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Xhafaj: PAMECA V, pivotal to partnership with EU

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TIRANA, Feb 14 /ATA/- Implementation of PAMECA V, part of EU Mission to assisting State Police, Ministry of Interior and Prosecution office is underway. It plays a key role in partnership of our country with EU.
Present in the launch event of PAMECA V was Minister of Interior, Fatmir Xhafaj, EU ambassador Romana Vlahutin, representatives of Prosecution Office, State Police as well as ambassadors of EU countries supporting the project.

In his speech, Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj highlighted the pivotal role that PAMECA has played through its assistance in crafting the Political Document of the Ministry of Interior Priorities.

“The Power of Law” operation was conceptualized as part of the efforts to implement this document and the above mentioned recommendations. The work for preparation of legal and operational basis which paved the way for the launch of “Power of Law” operation is also attributed to the assistance from the group of international partners. PAMECA has been an active stakeholder in each consultation table as we have assessed and reflected on the useful comments forwarded in November 2017 about the draft action plan. I also appreciate the assistance of PAMECA expert close to Special Task Force with the bank of questions necessary for the process of recruiting the Special Task Force experts,” minister Xhafaj said.

Xhafaj added that PAMECA project has a key role to play in strengthening of cooperation between Albania and EU partner countries in the fight against organized crime.
“Many of the challenges associated with reinforcement of the rule of law in Albania are not only challenges facing the Albanian authorities but also international partners. In the face of trans-national crime, I have always stressed the need for a new concept of cooperation between our law-enforcement agencies, countries and European partner institutions. In this regard, mutual trust is of paramount importance. The precious role of assistance missions such as PAMECA in support of the Ministry of Interior and State Police used to be and is pivotal to trust building,” Xhafaj said.
Concerning the fight against organized crime, EU ambassador Romana Vlahutin stated that transnational Organised crime is a threat to our security, hindering the social, economic, political and cultural development of our societies. Organised crime knows no borders and has no scrupules, and is very often unfortunately better organised and coordinated than some institutions.

“So the logic of our response is very clear: we need to fight it together. And this is exactly what we do. European Union, Member States, United States of America, international organisations — we have all got together in a joint effort to pull resources and assist Albanian institutions in becoming stronger and more efficient in the fight against organised crime and corruption,” Vlahutin said.
However, the key in this effort is political will and firm determination to deal with a problem without any compromise.

I want to thank Minister Xhafaj and his team for serious and dedicated work and partnership in this fight.
In 2017 we have seen for the first time in decades a dramatic decline in cannabis plantations, but we are waiting to hear from Guardia di Finanza on the 2018 surveillance results later this summer, because we all want to be sure that the victory is sustainable.
We have also witnessed a number of successful police operations in Shkoder, Fier, Lezhe and other towns targeting organised criminal groups. We finally see more determination in confiscating criminal assets.

Pivotal for all this effort is the work of prosecution, and we are all waiting for far more efficient and timely results of criminal investigations. There are no people, if they commited crimes, who can be above the law, regardless of their name or function. It is the responsibility of prosecution to make sure they are brought before the courts.
We as the European Union try to assist as much as possible. The EU is investing 6 Million euros only in PAMECA V with already significant results. Many of PAMECA’s recommendations have been included in the strategic plans of the Minister of Interior –the operation Power of Law.

Italian ambassador in Tirana Alberto Cutillo hailed the achievements of the Albanian govt. in fight against organized crime.
“I am impressed by the commitment of govt. in place to crackdown on crime and constant exploration of ways to enhance the capacities of Albanian institutions. This commitment is the most convincing proof that self-awareness in the fight against crime and corruption is an important issue that needs to be addressed. Reforms should translate in efficacy, effective capacities on the ground to apprehend criminals and bring them before justice. Rapid results will be further proof of Albania’s maturity to start the accession negotiations,” ambassador Cutillo said.

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