This week is Europe Week, and both the government and the European Delegation in Tirana expend a great deal of PR resources to make sure everything looks rosy before the next postponement of the opening of accession negotiations.
Prime Minister Edi Rama started with an appeal to the foreign ambassadors in Tirana, calling upon the diplomats not to let “games with internal negotiations turn into playing with fire in our country,” once again pivoting to his common threat that not opening accession negotiations would lead to civil unrest or worse. He asked them to “pull the issue of integration and negotiations out of the political game by opening the negotiations.”
Prime Minister Rama also once again showed the lack of his knowledge about how the European Union functions, by claiming that the European Commission should be considered the final arbiter of whether accession negotiations with Albania should be opened. If that were the case, Albania would by now probably already be a member state! Rama stated:
Last year Albania received an unconditional recommendation from the European Commission. The EC is a machine of frightening dimensions that is financed by the European tax payers in order to further the work of a unified Europe and its member states. In the gleaning of all problems, challenges, and results, who can give a better judgment about a country than the EC?
The answer is: the European Parliament, which over the last few years consistently has corrected the rosy pictures sketched by the EC. The reason this correction takes place in the EP, is that the EC only looks at a narrow bandwidth of issues and is, because of the way it works, closely tied to the Albanian executive. The EP has a broader view, taking in the voices from the opposition, civil society, and journalists. As in any state, in the EU the EP counterbalances the EC, and a strong argument could be made that the fact that the EP cannot exert even more influence of the executive is a big democratic deficit of the EU.
But then again, we cannot expect Prime Minister Rama, who has weaponized his absolute majority in Parliament to push through any ill-written law he wants without a single check from the Constitutional Court, to endorse EU democracy.