In May, Prime Minister Edi Rama threatened that anyone “coming close” to a voting center will be banned for life from entering the US and EU:
Not everyone knows that the Penal Code is very strict in this regard and that it isn’t worth burning yourself for the most criminal politics that urges you to walk with your own feet into hands of justice, which can even lead to being put on the black list of those convicted for electoral crimes, whose right to enter the US and EU will be removed forever.
Exit approached both the EU and US embassies in Tirana for a response to this extraordinary statement of the Prime Minister, as no provision in the Electoral Code deals with foreign travel of those convicted of violating it.
Neither diplomatic mission, however, has responded to confirm or deny the Prime Minister’s claims. Although Albanian citizens need to apply for a visa to travel to the US, they profit from a visa-free regime with the Schengen zone. The Albanian government has no authority over the visa regimes of third countries.
After this article was published, a spokesperson of the European Commission issued the following statement: “We do not comment on statements.” However, the spokesperson pointed out that “the Commission does not have a competence to issue entry bans, nor does the EU unless the individuals in question are on a sanctions list. For the issuance of refusal of entry alerts through the Schengen information system, such decisions are taken by Member States in accordance with the following rules.”
In other words, Prime Minister Edi Rama’s threats were baseless.