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Parliamentary questions
4 October 2011
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Marietta Giannakou (PPE) and Ioannis A. Tsoukalas (PPE)

 Subject: Objections regarding the population census in Albania

The much-awaited population census to be commenced on 1 October 2011 in Albania is proving to be a cause for much soul-searching. In reply to a previous question (E‑3807/2010), the Commission indicated that the Albanian authorities had undertaken to include in the 2011 census optional questions regarding nationality, creed and mother tongue, to which respondents were free to reply as they saw fit.

Nevertheless, a warning has now been issued that those declaring a nationality different to that entered in the Albanian state registers (Article 20 (amended) of Law 10442) will face heavy fines. This effectively undermines any freedom of expression regarding ethnic origin and hence the validity of the population census in Albania, which has been awaited for decades.

At the same time, the Albanian Constitutional Court has recently ruled unconstitutional the law relating to nationality change allowing thousands of citizens to recover the nationality which the authorities had forced them to relinquish under the lengthy Hoxha dictatorship.

Representatives of Greek minority organisations have already announced that they will refuse to take part in the census, given that the right to self-determination is effectively nullified by the legal framework thereof.

In view of this:

1. What view does the Commission take of the decision to fine citizens declaring a nationality different to that under which they are registered and to what extent is this compatible with EU principles regarding the protection of minorities?
2. Given that the census is receiving EU funding, what measures will the Commission take with a view to ensuring that the Albanian authorities amend the legal framework thereof without delay?
3. What view does it take of the recent judgment by the Albanian Constitutional Court and to what extent does it regard this compatible with EU basic tenets?

Original language of question: ELOJ C 154 E, 31/05/2012
Last updated: 5 October 2011Legal notice