Yesterday, President Ilir Meta stated that certain foreign diplomats in collaboration with Prime Minister Edi Rama and the ruling majority have undermined the implementation of justice reform in Albania. He said the latest proof were appointments at the Constitutional Court, which have deepened the constitutional crisis in the country. The president implied that some foreign diplomat had offered him a quid-pro-quo arrangement for solving the latest crisis.
Below, Exit brings the most important points President Ilir Meta made during last night’s appearance on Top Channel’s “Open” political show.
Certain foreign diplomats have abused the Albanians’ trust
“As a state, we are late in showing certain limits to those diplomats who have abused a lot the outstanding respect we have toward foreigners and the Albanians’ aspirations to join the EU.”
Why did the President declare the OSCE Ambassador Bernd Borchardt “unwelcome” in his office now?
“Why today? Because it is becoming an increasingly lucrative sport for certain diplomats to question the institutions of the Albanian state and, naturally, the institution of the President of the Republic, who is the symbol of state sovereignty […] Apart from other behavior, which, together with some last developments related to the issue of Constitutional Court – which for me is the Constitution itself, because a Constitutional Court with no integrity makes the Constitution like just any other book that is taught in schools.”
Foreign diplomats cannot question a president’s decrees
“An ambassador has no right to question a president’s decree on elections, because such a statement has served, purposefully, to create confusion […] On the other hand, I believe that the OSCE/ODIHR report, as the sole judge on elections, was very clear in that the presidential decree can only be adjudicated by the Constitutional Court, and not by confusing statements which give the idea that it could be adjudicated by the [Electoral] College etc., as it actually happened.”
Ambassador Borchardt’s assessments are different from those of OSCE/ODIHR
“His [Borchardt’s] assessments are completely different from those of the OSCE/ODIHR report, which was not even presented and published here until the opposition leader publicly stated this fact.”
Certain foreign diplomats have become alibis for the prime minister to violate laws
“They are going too far, certain diplomats have become like rags in Edi Rama’s hands. They have become pairs with Edi Rama and alibies for every violation of the constitution, laws and failure of Edi Rama and Albania. He always shows and uses them to capture institutions, to undermine the rule of law and to capture the whole justice system. The latest case is an in flagrante delicto. We discovered our Katica [Katica Janeva – Macedonian Special Prosecutor supported by internationals and accused of corruption] and our Katica is Dvorani [Ardian Dvorani, Head of the Justice Appointments Council (KED)].”
Prime Minister Edi Rama used an EU-backed mission to illegally appoint the general prosecutor
“President Meta also said that Prime Minister Edi Rama used EURALIUS, to get from them an opinion through which to justify the election of the ‘Temporary’ General Prosecutor Arta Marku – an important institution in the forming of several other institutions under the justice reform.”
EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca is responsible for the current crisis
“The moment [EU ambassador] Soreca supports me, I would be worried that I’m doing something wrong. That’s because Soreca is also responsible for the current situation with the Constitutional Court. He knew it since the first day he came to my office […] I told that the country was without a Constitutional Court and High Court […] and that the situation could escalate for worse if it continues in the same way […] I explained how Soreca’s predecessor [Romana Vlahutin] and Euralius sabotaged a meeting at the president’s office with all actors to find a solution for the issue of KED in 2017 because Edi Rama needed Dvorani so that he could turn the Constitutional Court also into a Central Election Commission.”
European Commission reports are not trustworthy for all EU member states
“A large number of the EU member states do not trust the European Commission reports because they always recommend [the opening of talks with Albania] without any conditions, but [countries] say “wait, we got some more conditions for you to meet”.”
Why do internationals seem to support Rama and oppose Meta regarding the justice reform?
“[Rama and certain foreign diplomats] are complicit in this failure. There are 200 million euros or dollars at stake, which have to be justified, ‘cos if an investigation is started, there will be people found guilty of abusing their office. What could they say? We failed?! No, it’s Meta’s fault, Bushati’s fault [a journalist critical of the justice reform], who do not want the reform.
[…] In me, they find the reflection of all their failures.”
Certain foreign diplomats take guidelines from the prime minister on what they should say in public
“They are in touch with Edi Rama all day long, check their phones, their messages. He asks them “Give me a statement like this, because…” [and then, Rama tells the public] You see, the embassy said this […] If they’d criticize the government, he would not reply on the phone. Have you ever heard them talk about Albania’s problems? A very negative report is issued [by certain international institution], and they [diplomats] make statements to relativize the report. They blame France but they knew that without [pluralistic] elections [talks with the EU wouldn’t start]… they are not stupid, they are aware of the Copenhagen criteria.”
The president implied that some foreign diplomat offered him a quid-pro-quo arrangement regarding the Constitutional Court
“[A diplomat who] Thinks he/she can blackmail the President of the Republic into bargaining with Edi Rama, and for the president to violate the Constitution, i.e. if this is not done, they will push some experts to say that [the process for appointing Constitutional Court members] was correct. Let them bring these experts out, their names as well, and I will take them and go wherever I should to ask for investigations into them. Because it’s very clear that we are dealing here with the destruction of trust in the justice reform, and they are responsible for this, ‘cos they are doing this on purpose. They tell me “leave this to Edi Rama, and he will let you have this Marsida [Xhaferllari – now a Constitutional Court member appointed by President Meta] in the third round, he [Rama] won’t block the KED for you – as if my concern is someone called Marsida. Is this how one communicates with the President?”
Constitutional Court is the red line for internationals
“The Constitutional Court will be the red line for internationals and Albanians. You cannot pass here. Not only the Constitution but also the dignity of a NATO member country will be defended.”
President Meta warned he will toughen his stance toward certain diplomats
“I will be very clear with any international vagabond who thinks they can humiliate the Albanian people and their legitimate institutions.
The US and EU have invested themselves in Albania. It’s not one diplomat, neither 3 anonymous experts over there [possibly EURALIUS] […] but it’s the millions of European tax payers who do not want crime and drugs from Albania, and who want their investors to be safe in Albania.”
President Meta said he would ask the prosecution to investigate the KED Chair Ardian Dvorani for “abuse of office, misappropriation of competencies” in the case of Constitutional Court appointments, as “example that would restore the public trust in the justice reform.”
Will the president dissolve the parliament before the end of the legislature?
“I have other more important things to deal with instead of thinking of this but, as I’ve told them, the best would be that they [MPs] decide to have parliamentary, local and presidential elections. I think it’s time for referendums and I will work that the Albanian people can express their voice through referendums because it’s difficult for the political dialogue to work in Albania, and for people to understand their limits regarding rules in a democracy. Here we have leaders whose passion is not to bear any responsibility.”
On the small number of candidates to the Constitutional Court (6 for 4 seats)
“They say there are no human resources, a diplomat said that. There were many candidates for these positions, but a large part of them were disqualified in the most brutal and dirty ways, just like in times of Communism, with the sole purpose to come to these pre-determined appointments.”
No need for a Venice Commission opinion on Constitutional Court appointments
“There is no need for interpretation [of Constitution] by [an] international [institution]. The Venice [Commission] has made it clear in the Constitution how the Constitutional Court is formed. It is in the constitution. These [suggestion to ask for their interpretation] are games they do at the service and request of Edi Rama.”