Disappointed Albanian Diaspora Urges PM Rama to Collaborate

Members of the Albanian diaspora wrote a petition to Prime Minister Edi Rama where they express their disappointment with government’s work, their concerns and recommendations.

The petition written by members of the Global Albanian Community states that the Second Diaspora Summit held ten day ago in Tirana was an event primarily for the government of Albania, a show without much value, with shocking and unacceptable expenditures of public money that primarily benefited vendors. Moreover, no formal concluding statement about the road ahead were presented at the end of the summit.

The diaspora members think that Prime Minister Rama and his government have failed in engaging them to strengthen their relationship with the country and government initiatives, despite their hope and desire for this to happen.

The petition points out some positive steps taken, such as holding the first summit in 2016, creating a ministry for diaspora, and developing a legal framework for diaspora issues in 2018. However, it adds that the government did not seriously involve the diaspora throughout this process, and showed very little “culture of cooperation”, in contrast with their desire to contribute.

“Despite our efforts to reach out, your government did not engage any formal working groups from the diaspora in the Albanian National Diaspora Strategy and Action Plan approved in 2018.  This also did not happen for either one of the diaspora summits.  We are disappointed your government did not make a greater effort to be more inclusive.”

The diaspora community also condemned PM Rama’s derogatory words against those members who criticized his government’s work with diaspora.

“Your statement at the Diaspora Summit that some of the diaspora is “a kazan/bottom of the barrel” was offensive and unacceptable.”

They express their belief that, in contrary to what PM Rama’s actions show, the diaspora has much to offer, instead of being merely an audience listening to government’s “achievements”.

Yet, the Global Albanian Community invite the Prime Minister to embrace the diaspora and include it in the decision-making process regarding issues that relate their community.

“We want to be a voice for positive change and work with your government and others as partners.  However, we will not stay silent regarding government diaspora policy in Albania, Kosova, or anywhere else without formal representation and discussion.”

The petition urges PM Rama to address the following issue in the coming months:

– The State Ministry of Diaspora respond in writing and not ignore letters/requests as it has until now.

– Any future Diaspora Summits should be truly Pan-Albanian, led by the diaspora and not the government.

– A working group with diaspora and government members of Albania and Kosovo should be installed and focus on solutions to the most pressing issues concerning the diaspora community.

– The National Strategy and Action Plan for Diaspora should include formal input by diaspora. In the future there should be one joint strategy for all countries in the region to reflect the fact that there is one Albanian Diaspora.

– The proposed Diaspora Coordinating Council, according to Albanian legislation, is only for Albania, but we should aim at the creation of a Pan-Albanian Global Diaspora Council representing all countries of origin in the Balkans (Albania, Kosova, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Presevo Valley, Medvedja and Bujanovac).