Oliver Varhelyi: Corruption With Earthquake Donations won’t be Tolerated epa07994871 European Commissioner-designate in charge of neighborhood and enlargement policy, Oliver Varhelyi from Hungary during his hearing before the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 14 November 2019. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

The Commissioner for EU Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi has made it clear that any corruption resulting from the donation of EUR 1.15 billion to Albania’s earthquake reconstruction efforts will not be tolerated.

Speaking to DW, the Commissioner said that “there will be no corruption and it will not be tolerated”. He explained that the EU will be involved in the implementation and that it will be used for the biggest needs- housing and public buildings. He added that the EU will be “very involved in implementing the funds and ensuring that all our principles and rules are adhered to.”

In terms of implementation, Varhelyi stated that a set of principles agreed between the EU, World Bank, Albanian government and various financial institutions needs to be respected. He said that money will also be used to modernise and help ensure Albania can withstand future earthquakes.

“We need to invest this money wisely and we will help Albania do this,” he told DW.

When asked about Albania’s chances of opening EU accession talks in March, he was cautious in his response.

“As far as the enlargement process is concerned, Albania has produced results and we are working with them but also with EU countries, to be ready to open accession negotiations.”

He added that he was optimistic but “sober” noting there is still a lot of work to be done and it is too early to say anything.

“We at the European Commission are very committed to achieving this, Albania is also very committed to achieving results. I understand positive signals from member states, but again, we have to work hard.”