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19 February 2023

Western Balkans II project: EJTN delegation visits Albania and Montenegro to support EU integration and judicial training and reform

General News

An EJTN delegation led by EJTN’s Secretary General, Ms Ingrid Derveaux, and composed of members of the Western Balkans II Project team, Mr Giovanni Pasqua and Ms Vanja Tekic, visited Montenegro and the Republic of Albania on 7 and 8 February.

This official visit to the region is a follow-up to the previous Western Balkans Mission that included Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Serbia (16-20 January). The mission’s main goal was to engage with leading judicial training institutions in Montenegro and Albania to understand better the legal training needs of their judges, prosecutors, and court staff. The EJTN mission also aimed at supporting Montenegro and Albania in their efforts to strengthen and modernize their judiciaries within the broader context of their ongoing accession to the EU.

EJTN’s Secretary General, Ingrid Derveaux, and the Western Balkans II Project team exchanged views with their Albanian and Montenegrin counterparts on a wide range of topics, including the promotion and teaching of EU law and CJEU case law, ongoing training, and exchange activities at a regional level, as well as strategies to promote language skills training.

In addition, the EJTN delegation presented the 2023 Catalogue of Activities and stressed the role of EJTN as a community of European judicial training institutions, where Members and Observers work together to develop training activities and exchange programmes to learn from each other.

The EJTN mission also delivered a presentation on the upcoming Themis 2023 competition, which will remain open for applications until 6 March 2023. Judicial trainees from the Western Balkans have been participating in this competition since 2018. A Serbian team won the Themis Grand Final in 2021, and the Albanian team was awarded a special prize in 2019.

EJTN wishes to thank Montenegro’s State Prosecutorial Council, the High Council of Montenegro, the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Albania’s School of Magistrates, Albania’s High Prosecutorial Council, Albanian High Judicial Council, and the EU Delegation to Albania for their availability and cooperation.

EJTN is also grateful to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) for their support in building a wider European judicial community.

Note for editors

The Western Balkans II Project is funded by the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA III) under the Pilot Action on Judicial Training n° IPA/2021/425-032.

The project provides support to the Serbian Judicial Academy and Montenegrin Judicial Training Centre to conduct training needs assessments (TNAs) and design and implement several seminars on the EU acquis for judges, prosecutors, judicial trainers, and judicial training institutions’ staff from the Western Balkans.

In addition, the project’s beneficiaries are eligible to participate in a wide range of EJTN activities, including the EJTN General Assembly, EJTN Sub-Working Groups and Conferences, Judicial Training Methods Seminars, Trainer exchanges, Court President Exchanges, and the THEMIS competition.

The following judicial training institutions are the beneficiaries of this programme:

• The Albanian School of Magistrates
• The Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
• The Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of the Republika Srpska
• The Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of Montenegro
• Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors of the Republic of North Macedonia
• The Kosovo Justice Academy
• The Serbian Judicial Academy

The Western Balkans II Project will run between March 2022 and March 2025.