ONM Chief Ruiz Calavera’s Introduction to Albania: I Will Resist Politicization ONM Director Genoveva Ruiz Cavalera.

During a first informal meeting with journalists today, the chief of the International Monitoring Mission (ONM) Genoveva Ruiz Calavera made her first public appearance in Albania, commenting on the vetting process that commence as part of the judicial reform in the coming months and the role of the ONM in this process.

The ONM consists of observers from countries allied to Albania through the EU and NATO, including members from US Embassy and the State Department. The mission will be supervised by the European Commission, which has approved a large fund to support the judicial reform. The precise size of this fund is as yet unknown.

Overall, her statements could be characterized as cool, clear, and unbiased – in strong contrast with the opaque, noisy, and arrogant manners that accompanied the drafting and implementation process of the judicial reform, both on the side of the Albanian politicians and various international missions in Tirana.

Genoveva Ruiz Calavera emphasized today in Tirana that the role of the ONM is purely advisory and that the Albanian Parliament enjoys full sovereignty over all decisions in the vetting process. She promised to avoid the public appearances that are typical of our political “stars,” a full transparency of the process, and to avoid the political utilization of her work by any of the parties in the vetting process.

The reassessment process will be executed in full transparency. The public will be informed step by step about the reassessment process through a website, where all the documents that pertain to the vetting will be publicly accessible. The documents will become public after the ONM has made its decision in each case. “The only voice that will be commenting on our work is the public website,” Ruiz Calavera declared.

The vetting of public servants and officials will be in the hands of the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK). The ONM has an advisory role in this process. According to the Constitution, both the public servants and officials and the Public Commissioner have the right to file an appeal to the decision of the KPK at the Appeals Commission (KA).

The progress of the vetting process and the establishment of the independent institutions in charge of it are one of the conditions required by the EU for the opening of accession negotiations. Ruiz Cavalera declared that she will keep the European Commission in Brussels informed about the progress and warned that the coming elections will see attempts to politicize the ONM’s work. “I will resist such attempts,” Ruiz Cavalera stated.

Ruiz Cavalera has worked for the European Commission since 1992 and served in the European Commission Taskforce for the Reconstruction of Kosovo and the departments for neighbourhood policy, external relations, and the Foreign Policy Advisers. In 2016 she was appointed Director Western Balkans in the department for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.