Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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President Begaj’s Speech on the 25th Anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic

Honorable Madam Speaker of the Parliament,

Honorable Madam Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court,

Esteemed Judges of the Constitutional Court,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

“We, the People of Albania, proud and conscious of our history, with responsibility for the future,” – as emphasized in the preamble of the Constitution, 25 years ago, through a referendum, expressed our will to adopt the fundamental law of the state.

The 1998 Constitution is an expression of our people’s aspirations for a democratic and European Albania. This Constitution is also indicative of the high professionalism of our experts, supported and assisted by international partners, among whom the Venice Commission played a special role.

Over the years, this commission has made significant contributions to democracy and the strengthening of the rule of law in Albania. Its valuable opinions and ongoing consultations on constitutional principles, the balance of powers, elections, judicial independence, constitutional justice, and the protection of fundamental freedoms have been decisive.

Proclaiming the first Constitution after the fall of the communist dictatorship took place on a symbolic and very important day, November 28, Independence Day, laying the foundations of the rule of law and the consolidation of democracy.

It echoes our centuries-long efforts to build a modern state.

The principle of the rule of law is one of the fundamental elements sanctioned in the preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania. This principle is a necessary condition for the functioning and development of a free society, for peace, well-being, culture, social solidarity, and respect for democratic values.

Equally important is the principle of separation and balancing of powers, which constitutes the core of the existence and proper functioning of the rule of law.

The fundamental human rights and freedoms in our Constitution fully reflect the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of these rights.

Our Constitution managed to precede and foresee the Euro-Atlantic integration process of Albania, closely linked with the principles of the rule of law and state sovereignty. Through this Constitution, important provisions were established that set the basic principles for the preparation and legitimization of Albania’s integration into international alliances, paving the way for NATO membership and the EU integration process.

Naturally, the Constitution, as a state’s fundamental document, should be stable over time and provide guarantees for its longevity.

Revising the Constitution due to developments and new realities should be carefully assessed with caution and expertise, keeping in mind our European future, the fundamental principles, and its main pillars.

The constitutional changes in 2016 brought about modifications in the justice system, such as reforming existing bodies and creating new structures, aiming to strengthen independence and increase the accountability of judicial organs.

According to this year’s progress report, Albania has made positive steps in the reforms it has undertaken, particularly in judicial reform, which is yielding visible results, also contributing to the progress of the European integration process.

Despite achievements, today’s justice system faces a major challenge due to the large number of cases courts are reviewing. A reasonable time frame, as an essential element of due legal process, constitutes a fundamental constitutional right of the individual, and together we must think of solutions that are as rapid and effective as possible.

The primary goal remains for justice to be accessible to citizens effectively, with equality before the law, transparency, and guarantees in respecting their fundamental rights.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We all have the responsibility and duty to be guarantors of the Constitution and the fundamental norms it reflects. Respecting it directly aids both in improving legislative quality and constitutional control.

Today is also a day to acknowledge the contribution of the Constitutional Court as the primary guarantor of respecting constitutional norms. Constitutional justice and the role of this court in recent years have aided significantly in three key directions: the principle of separation and balancing of powers, the principle of legal certainty, and the protection and respect of fundamental human rights.

Naturally, we still have much work to do, especially towards European integration, which remains our foremost objective.

Progress is ongoing, but also comes with new challenges, requiring maximal commitment from all institutions for the complete harmonization of our domestic legislation with that of the EU and promoting necessary reforms in all areas to expedite our membership in the European Union.

Conscious of our state formation history and our country’s values, we must protect the principles enshrined at the foundation of the Constitution. We should stand united and work for the well-being of our country and citizens for a future that ensures the functioning of the rule of law, guaranteeing the respect of fundamental human rights.

I want to conclude my speech with what I began, which is written in the Preamble: “We, the people, all of us in this hall, and those present every day, have a responsibility for the future and must work, not only to hear, not only to read the Preamble of Albania, but also to implement it“.


Thank you!