From: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Euralius Refuses to Be Accountable for Legal Opinion

In recent days, Exit has reported about the attempts of the Rama government to unconstitutionally elect a “Temporary General Prosecutor,” who will not be vetted, will have an unlimited term in office, and who will be elected with a simple majority in Parliament.

We have also focused on the dubious role of the OPDAT and EURALIUS IV missions, paid by the US and EU respectively, in drafting a legal opinion which claims that the course of action chosen by the Rama government is legal. We have pointed out that the current conglomerate of institutions running the EURALIUS IV mission is in a conflict of interest, as issuing a legal opinion favorable for the government (but without any legal value) is bound to increase its chances of winning the EU contract for EURALIUS V.

Concerned about the transparency of the decision making within EURALIUS, and the legal grounds upon which its opinion was built, Exit asked the EU Delegation in Tirana and the EURALIUS mission a number of questions regarding the drafting process:

  • Can you provide a copy of the request for the opinion by the Legal Affairs Committee of the parliament, and your reply to them?
  • Who are the authors of the opinion?
  • Do they have any expertise in the area of Albanian constitutional law?
  • How was the opinion developed, i.e. kind of method, framework or principles did the author(s) use in drawing up their opinion?

EU spokesperson Ernest Bunguri referred us to the EURALIUS mission, as they “issued the request.” Subsequently, project assistant Fjona Dollani of EURALIUS responded to our queries as follows:

Thank you for your email. Please be kindly informed that EURALIUS is a technical assistance project and has no public relation activity.

In other words, the legal opinion on whose basis the government claims that it can elect a “Temporary General Prosecutor” has been drafted in complete secrecy, based on a request of the Legal Affairs Committee that in not public,  and on the legal expertise of anonymous “experts.”

Perhaps the EU and EURALIUS will understand – in the far, far future – that informing the public about far-reaching legal “opinions” that are weaponized to undo the judicial reform and constitutional amendments that were an essential part of it is not a mere “public relation activity,” but essential for the public support of the judicial reform and the maintenance of some semblance of rule of law.