Albania is before a very crucial political election that will determine not only the composition of the next government, but also the future of democracy and democratic liberties in this remote Balkan country.
Elections were scheduled for June 18, but the opposition decided to abstain as there are no accepted guarantees that the election process will be fair. Thanks to the mediation of the European Parliament, the leaders of the government and the opposition started long negotiations into the matter. In this context, the government agreed to postpone the election by one month. This was a great achievement as the Albanian society is deeply divided and the political climate is heavily polarised.
A parallel problem of Albania is that the country is full of narcotics and there are serious allegations that some of this money is being used to influence the election.
According to sources close to EU institutions, a couple of years ago the export potential of Albania was estimated over 250 MT per year.
However, some sources estimate the real figures are much higher. Considering that in the wholesale market the product, for average quality, is quoted around €400 per kilo, it is easy to understand how important this business is for certain Albanian quarters.
Under these circumstances, it is imperative for the driving political forces of Albania to combine their efforts to fight against this absurd situation that is keeping Albania in the margins of Europe.
In this context, we learn that the European Commission has little knowledge of the matter. Curiously enough, the EU Ambassador in Tirana systematically refrains from reporting such matters to his service (EAAS). On the contrary, it seems that most of the information on the Albanian drugs issue, which come to the attention of the European Commission, originate from EuroJust.
In this context, Albanian opposition officials have criticised the EU Ambassador in Albania, Romana Vlahudin – not only for failing to report the drugs trafficking, but for openly taking sides in the Albanian election process. Indeed, she often appears in pre-election events next to the Albanian Prime Minister, thus directly implying that the European Commission favours one specific party in Albania, at the expense of all others.
This discriminatory behaviour of the EU Ambassador in Tirana is strongly criticised in Albania, not only by all oppositions parties but also by most diplomatic missions.
Discussing the matter with a foreign banker in Albania, who spoke to New Europe on the condition of anonymity, he said the European Commission should immediately recall, not only its Ambassador in Tirana, but also all EU diplomats of the mission. This is the most urgent action the European Commission must take and certainly before the Albanian elections.
Finally, it is highly controversial to have, on the one hand, the European Parliament spending time and efforts to bring government and opposition of Albania to agree for a fair election and, on the other hand, have the Head of the EU Diplomatic Mission in Tirana, openly campaigning in favour of the ruling Socialist party.