Discussion Forum – Beyond European Developments – Reflections from New Researchers

On December 15, 2023, the European Movement in Albania held a discussion forum at the premises of the Tirana Marriott Hotel regarding the publication of several journalistic writings in EuroSpeak – the online portal, and the presentation of the digest of 10 articles in the Albanian language printed forma. The Western Balkans integration process and subsequent events in the European Union have been the subjects of several calls for expressions of interest for publication. This activity brought together not only the authors of the articles, but also other interest groups that engage directly with issues of European integration.

Erion Kristo, Journalist and Media Expert, during the moderating session affirmed the contribution of the civil society sector in organising public activities that bridge the communication gap between citizens and political actors—a gap that has been identified as a deficit of the European Union.

Gledis Gjipali, Executive Director of the European Movement in Albania, in his opening remarks presented a brief presentation of the online portal EuroSpeak, published in early 2011, as the first journal in Albania with a focus on European integration and specific EU topics in general. He underlined that the purpose of the portal from the outset has been to engage the broader public in topics that are frequently thought to be accessible and intelligible only to experts of the field. Younger scholars have been the ones who have expressed the greatest interest in participating in the ongoing calls for participation, which has increased debate and the expression of free opinion. He also emphasized the inclusion of information instruments in a comprehensible language accessible by ordinary citizens, aside articles of just publistic style of writing, in order to reduce the level of misinformation encountered in the written media. In his closing remarks, he presented the latest digest of 10 articles, brought back in print format, covering subjects other than developments in Europe.

Elda Zotaj, lecturer of European Integration and author of the article “Revival of the Berlin Process – Expectations and possible commitments in the Balkan region” presented an overview of the main developments in the Western Balkans, pointing out that regional cooperation is seen as a mechanism that leads to a stability of the WB countries and at the same time growth of the integration progress towards EU membership. This point of view was presented directly on the initiative initiated by Angela Merkel with the “Berlin Process”, which in the span of 9 years, has had its ups and downs, being influenced by dynamical events inside or outside the EU. She asserted that the new geopolitical context, the rise of populism and the security level reduction have not resolved the bilateral disputes in WB, but the reconceptualisation of this initiative by Scholz, mainly with financial support that goes up to 1 billion euros, is bringing a close and strong cooperation to the region. With this being said, at the Berlin Process Summit, the Agreement on Freedom of Movement with Identity Cards in the Western Balkans; Agreement on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications in the Western Balkans and Agreement on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications of Doctors of Medicine, Doctors of Dental Medicine and Architects in the Central European Free Trade Agreement Context were signed. She focuses more on reviving this process and reaching the goals established in order to embark on a shared journey as she wraps up her presentation.

Alban Tufa, Communication Lecturer and author of the article “Advantages and disadvantages of artificial intelligence in Albania and the measures undertaken by pertinent institutions and the European Union”, started the presentation on the presence of artificial intelligence in our daily life, while analysing events such as watching a series entitled “Black Mirror”, where a film production and streaming platform copies the lives of smartphone users. He also mentioned that he felt the impact of artificial intelligence in the students’ assignments, which at first, from the lecturers’ point of view is frustrating because they are susceptible to deception. Although the European Union is implementing regulations to allow for the controlled use of artificial intelligence, its application has not been extensively adopted in our nation. Tufa emphasized that the inclusion of artificial intelligence in the sector of public procurement and online services at governmental level is being discussed, where the Prime Minister has stated that ChatGPT will reduce the level of cost, time and corruption. Meanwhile, in Europe, full use has been banned in matters related to fundamental human rights, such as biometric surveillance or emotion recognition. He also pointed out how some professions are being devalued by the application of artificial intelligence, especially in the field of communication and marketing where ChatGPT produces various texts or posters. In conclusion, he reaffirmed that beyond the disadvantages of using artificial intelligence in various industries, its presence is becoming undeniable.

Reald Keta, Legal Adviser to the Minister of State for the Protection of Entrepreneurship and Business Climate and author of the article “Legal framework and innovation development policies in the EU” discussed how innovation is the key word of the European Union with the aim of being competitive with global competitors, who are a step forward in creating new innovations in entrepreneurship. The Lisbon Strategy of 2000 was the first step of a complete focus of the European Union in the field of innovation and its strategic coordination. After 23 years, it is still affirmed that the development of innovation in the EU is related to the guarantee of the single market. He also pointed out that the low level of investment in total for Research & Development and the complexity of governance of innovation policies fragmented in the relevant directorates is the reason for the low level of performance of the European Union in innovation. He mentioned that some unique models of innovation are Ireland, Israel and Taiwan, which support development in small and medium-sized enterprises unlike other countries such as Japan or South Korea. In the case of Ireland, the state-industry relationship relies on development agencies, so development relies on foreign investment, unlike Israel which is supported by government grants. In his closing remarks, he reiterated that innovation is one of the areas that global governments devote a lot of time to advance the development of policies.

Kejsi Ziu, Legal Expert and author of the article “Aspects of the establishment and judicial activity of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and the role of the Republic of Albania” dealt with the establishment of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in 2015, the legal basis of their creation, the analysis of the indictments, as well as the role that Albania can play. The seat of the Special Court of Kosovo is located outside the territory of Kosovo without the inclusion of any citizen of Kosovo in its judicial and technical staff. She pointed out that the mandate of the court focuses on the trial of the commission of one of the most serious crimes against humanity – organ trafficking, by several members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA): Thaci, Veseli, Selimi and Krasniqi, in the north part of the territory of Albania, on the basis of Individual Criminal Responsibility (Article 16(1)(a) of the Law) and on the basis of Superior Criminal Responsibility (Article 16(1)(c) of the Law). She emphasized that some legal issues should have the public’s attention, such as the principle of confidentiality versus the right to information. She mentioned that the accused were not familiar with the unredacted version of the indictment filed against them and that the spokespersons of the KSC and the SPO did not make public the full version of the documents. Ziu also emphasized that the SPO has not yet announced a prediction on the duration of the trial, and all the indictments are filed only for one side of the conflict. Whereas, regarding Albanian state’s political contribution to this trial, the Albanian government adopted a resolution condemning Dick Marty’s report and asked the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to review the claims raised. Ziu suggests that Albania shall present legal claims in the capacity of “amicus curiae”. She concluded by stating unequivocally that the KSC’s establishment has fostered a culture of war crime witnessing while also highlighting the difficulties transitional justice in Kosovo faces.

The authors of the published articles in EuroSpeak, as well as other participants discussed the topics presented in this forum and those addressed in the articles published online or in the printed digest. They showed interest by raising discussions on Albania’s EU accession and its blocking by the Greek veto and the position of other member states, the use of artificial intelligence in other fields in Albania, as well as the inclusion of developments and innovation in other sectors mainly related to the environment and public health.



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