Albanian students have taken to the streets of Tirana, day and night for the last 14 days to fight for their right to a decent education, free from financial constraints and corruptive influences.
Whilst their action has been supported by numerous local and international NGOs, journalists, media portals, and student organisations that have all expressed their solidarity, the European Union delegation in Albania has remained completely silent. After coming under fire from independent media and civil society members for their silence on such an important issue, yesterday, after 14 days of protests, they finally released a statement.
Posting on their official social media accounts, the post stated:
The right for education is central in every society. As is the fight against corruption. It is now time to build up a dialogue to make sure that those requests are translated into concrete and viable solutions.
The students involved in the protest have been clear that they have absolutely no intention of starting any dialogue with the government as they deem it a distraction and completely unnecessary. Pointing out the fact that they have made their demands very clear, they have said that they will only start a dialogue after the government agrees to meet their demands.
Edi Rama has remained firm in his arrogance that he will not give in to their very reasonable demands, and instead a campaign of misinformation, trolling, and condemnation has started at the expense of the protesters.
The stance of the EU on this matter has caused outrage with many students and members of civil society as they have called out the Delegation on their flaccid response to the ongoing demonstrations. They have been further criticised for seemingly siding with Edi Rama in his call for negotiations and dialogue, rather that focusing on the merit behind the demands of the students.
Whilst some students and professors have started to meet with Rama to discuss the requests, the grass roots students stand firm in their demands- something that the European Union should have supported.