Former Socialist Party Defence Minister Sabit Brokaj has spoken out against a draft law that will provide official recognition to ethnic minorities in Albania.
In an interview with Panorama, Brokaj said the laws will destabilise Albanian society and create issues with other countries in the region.
The laws propose that ethnic minorities that make up 20% or more of their Municipalities of residence, will be able to use their language in government offices. The Municipality will also have to translate official government communications into their language, as well as road signs.
Minorities covered by the proposed legislation include Aromanians, Balkan Egyptians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Bosniaks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbs, and Roma.
Brokaj said that approval would be “anti-national” and it would lead to a “disintegration to the lowest levels of Albanian society.”
He said by approving the law, the government is inviting problems into the country and is undemocratic.
Brokaj was one of several personal physicians of communist dictator Enver Hoxha. Considered a member of the Socialist Party (previously the Communist Party) ‘old guard’, he served as the Minister of Health and the Minister of Defence. He undertook the latter role during 1997 when Albania was on the brink of civil war.
The draft decision comes within the framework of the 15 conditions/requirements set by the EU. These should be attained before Albania can attend the first intergovernmental conference. One of the requirements is the approval of bylaws on National Minorities. The discrimination of minorities and the lack of equal social standing for them in Albania has also been repeatedly highlighted by the Council of Europe.