Rama: New Government Will Be the Citizens’ Best Friend

Prime Minister Edi Rama was interviewed yesterday evening by journalist Sokol Balla in the program Top Story. The interview focused on the program of the Rama 2 government. The majority of the statements and promises of the Prime Minister had little relation with reality.

For example, he promised that civil servants will immediately be fired when a complaint of a citizen is justified:

We would to make the government the best friend of the citizen. In all cases, when it is verified that the citizen is right, the respective employee will immediately be fired.

The Law on Public Administration, implemented as part of the government reform and compliance with EU best practices, sets very strict regulations on how public officials can be hired and fired, and so Rama’s promise is sure to remain unfulfilled, or at least legally contested.

He also promised economic growth exceeding 5% per year in the coming four years:

We have made a commitment and we will keep it within this mandate to exceed 5% economic growth, which gives us the possibility to turn it from statistic into a real impact on every citizen. […] The economy will grow with domestic and foreign investments.

In reality, the IMF predicts an economic growth of 4.4% for 2018–2022, while the World Bank and European Commission are even more prudent with 3.5% for the coming two years. Calculating the government budget with a higher economic growth than is realistic, will certainly lead to ad-hoc adjustments and budget cuts rather than investments, just like during the last four years. Moreover, foreign direct investments are at an all-time low, and there reason to believe that starting with Rama 2 this trend will reverse.

The Prime Minister also addressed the election of former communist minister and party secretary Gramoz Ruçi as Speaker of Parliament, and the reservations of the US embassy, as well as many, citizens against his election:

Gramoz Ruçi was once refused a visa in 2005 but less than two months later he received a visa as an initee to the congress of the Republican Party.

What Prime Minister Rama leaves out is that the second visa was a special visa used for officials, allowing politicians ti enter the US in spite of sanctions or pending criminal charges. Ruçi is still banned from acquiring a regular visa.

Prime Minister Rama also again denied, in spite of publicly known facts, that “Albanians are not asylum seekers”:

Albanians are not asylum seekers. They are emigrants that seek work. Albanians are Europeans that go to Europe for work, just like Poles, Bulgarians, etc., etc.

In February Amnesty International published a report stating that during 2016 20,000 Albanian applied for asylum within the EU, forming the last group of asylum seekers, ahead of Syrians, Iraqi, and other refugees from war zones.

Finally he promised that Albania would receive a “certificate of being clean” from its international partners once the government has decisively dealt with the cannabis problem.