On February 25 Hans-Joachim Falenski of CDU – CSU Fraktion im Deutschen Bundestag, delivered a keynote address in the headquarters of the President of Albania on the occasion of being awarded Knight Of The Order Of Skanderbeg.
The following is a full statement during the award ceremony held in Falenski’s honor.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Many thanks for this very special award, Mr. President.
It is a great honor to receive this important medal as a political adviser to a foreign country. This award goes to me here in Albania – the foreign country that is closest to my heart because of the great people I have met here, with whom I have spoken and with whom I have had the privilege of working.
At the same time, Mr. President, you are also giving me the great task of continuing my work in support of Albania’s EU integration so that your country can meet the conditions for opening the first cluster and chapters of the enlargement negotiations.
But this demands more rule of law, but also more freedom of the media for example.
Incidentally we are also worried about media freedom, which with the approval of the new package is doing steps backwards and creating a worrying precedent for trying to neutralize the voices of the media.
The Bundestag is also following the discussions on a new set of laws that have been widely discussed here and some presidential decrees that consider these laws to be unconstitutional.
A candidate country needs a democratic system with functioning checks and balances. All powers just in one hand in most of the cases are dangerous for democracy and do not bring you any closer to Europe.
Therefore it is urgently necessary to create a functioning system of checks and balances here.
This is the idea and the political conviction behind the 9 conditions of the Bundestag.We hope that now things are on the way to improve the situation.
You know that we are setting two preconditionsthat must be met before the first Intergovernmental Conference can take place.
The first one is: The Constitutional Court and the High Courtmust be able to perform their respective functions by providing a sufficient number of vetted judges.
The question is not only whether the sufficient number is met. Much more important is whether this is done in full compliance with every single stipulation of your constitution and is not biased.
And this includes not only the process of the selection of the vetted judges but also the process of making decisions or – for example – the ceremony to make the judges take their oath on the constitution.
If the respective stipulations of the constitution are not fully complied with at this crucial moment of a new beginning how can we trust that the future work of the Constitutional Court will be carried out in full agreement with the constitution?
The second precondition is as you know: an electoral reform must be adopted. The new law has to be in full accordance with therecommendations of ODIHR.
And the new reform must ensure that the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns is transparent.
We very much welcome the fact that the drafting process now takes place in an open and inclusive dialogue involving all political forces.
This was requested from the Bundestag, based on the recommendations of the ODIHR report on September, 2019.
We hope that this is a good sign that for all parties the country‘s future is the main priority and not a political calculation.
At the end it is crucial for us to have the political will here of all parties to find an agreement as requested by the Bundestag and to fully implement the new reform as it is intended. As ODHIR states: political will is the key to free and fair elections. With your permission, Mr. President, I would like to add some words concerning buying votes:
Our 5 conditions state that: investigations by the prosecution service and, where appropriate, judicial proceedings against persons connected with vote-buying in elections have to be initiated and it has to be ensured that the proceedings are conducted rigorously and expeditiously.
For the Bundestag buying votes is the worst case in a democracy. For this reason the Bundestag has followed the development of files 184 and 339 with priority but also with concern until the last few days.
That is why this condition No. 5 is the condition on which everybody in my party group will ask: is this condition fully met? In other words: It is at the top of our priority list!
But I have to say for the time being:
Neither is this task conducted expeditiously nor is it conducted rigorously.
To fulfill this condition you should use the best suitable institutions you have. And you have them. Please use them!
These cases are a real test whether the newly created justice institutions function properly as stipulated in the Bundestag condition No. 6.
You know how difficult it was to obtain the support of my party group for the Bundestag motion with the 9 conditions. Many were against a positive decision.
In the end we got the support because the MPs in my party group have confidence in our members working in the field of foreign policy and European affairs and in me that we will ensure that all 9 conditions are fully met before we will give the green light to the Intergovernmental Conferences.
And I know that your great people also have confidence in us.
So I can give you one promise: In the interest of your country’s EU perspective for my party group I will control whether the 9 conditions will be fulfilled as I have said and I will support you in that process.
I will therefore do my best to ensure that this is the case before I have to leave my party group as a pensioner! Thank you very much!”