EU and US Demand “Real” Minister of Interior

Both the EU and US diplomatic missions in Tirana have put pressure on the Albanian government to nominate a “real” Minister of Interior, after Prime Minister Edi Rama tried to pass off Deputy Minister Sandër Lleshi as full minister on government websites and social media.

Yesterday evening, the EU Ambassador in Tirana, Luigi Soreca, stated publicly that there “a Minister of Interior was certainly necessary,” whereas the US Embassy released a longer communiqué today on its Facebook page. In the post, the US Embassy states that “a fully functional Ministry of the Interior is a key component” in the “fight against organized crime and corruption,” which is also one of the five key requirements for the opening of the EU accession negotiations.

Over the past many months, we have been encouraged by the progress we have seen in the fight against organized crime and corruption in Albania – a direct result of the work done by Albanian authorities, particularly those police and prosecutors who strive for true justice for all Albanians. There is more work to do, and we expect that these efforts not only continue, but increase. A fully functional Ministry of the Interior is a key component to sustain these efforts and the momentum already achieved. The U.S. Government stands ready to work with our Albanian partners. We will offer assistance wherever possible to help bring down organized crime, end corruption, continue advancing justice sector reform, and uphold rule of law for the Albanian people.