Alliance for the Protection of the Theater Criticizes “Double Standards” EU Commissioner Hahn

In an open letter directed to EU Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn, the Alliance for the Protection of the Theater (AMT), a civil rights group acting against the destruction of the National Theater by the Rama government, has criticized the “double standards” of the European Commission.

Hahn is currently in Tirana for a meeting of the Southeast European Ministers of Integration.

In their open letter, AMT expresses its disappointment in the response of the European Commission to the Special Law, which failed to address the unconstitutionality of the Special Law and only commented on issues pertaining to open and fair competition. The Socialist majority recently patched up the Special Law rejected by the President to fulfill the minimal requests of the European Commission, and is now using an unconstitutional procedure to avoid a second rejection by the President.

The AMT writes:

[W]e believe that in its entirety the letter was disappointing and contradicted the propaganda, funds, time and resources that the EU has spent for years to strengthen the principles of democracy and rule of law in Albania. By renouncing any obligation to comment on the problems caused by the “special law,” it is reasonable for us to believe that you are using double standards in your positions.

Though you publicly continue to preach European integration and standards in Albania, in practice you have shown unconditional support for the government in the name of an absurd stability based on injustice, corruption, and now, unfortunately, criminality.

The AMT warns that the approach of the European Commission to solely support the government, without acknowledging its abuse of power, will have long-term negative effects on the image of the EU in Albania, and within the EU itself.

First, this approach enables and justifies the continued abuses of the government, however serious and with whatever consequences they may be.

Secondly, it reduces the credibility of the EU institutions, and particularly of the Commission. […]

Thirdly, this approach leads to the misuse of European taxpayers’ money and therefore increasingly validating the so-called “populist” or “euro-skeptical” voices within the European Union itself. […]

The AMT also reminds Commissioner Hahn that the Justice Reform, which has paralyzed the judicial system and has rendered citizens and Parliament completely powerless in the face of executive overreach, was an idea pushed by the EU, and that it should now take responsibility for its results:

You demanded, promoted, and supported a Justice Reform that has eliminated the entire justice system in Albania. Today, you are being asked to stand by the principles through which you have sought and supported this reform.