From: Alice Taylor
Ruiz Calavera Assigned to New Role in Department for Translations and Allocating Meeting Rooms

Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, the Director for Western Balkans at the EU’s Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations has been reassigned to a role in a back-office department.

She will now head the EU Interpreters section, whose responsibilities include providing interpretation, organising events, and allocating meeting rooms.

In her previous role, she was also the head of the IOM which oversaw the judicial reform in the country. The initiative is largely considered as having failed and brought the country’s justice system to its knees.

She was also criticised for failing to denounce the presence of former communist-era judiciary members in new judicial institutions. It was found that members of the Sigurimi, political police, prosecutors and judges who handed down harsh punishments such as forced labour, torture and death against opponents of the regime.

Such individuals are not supposed to serve in the reformed judiciary and she denied that there were any such cases.

She also made confusing statements about Albania’s 15 conditions that had to be fulfilled to sit at the EU negotiation table. After Prime Minister, Edi Rama said they didn’t exist, she was asked to clarify in European Parliament and gave this response:

“They are not 15 conditions to open, to have the first intergovernmental conference. They are conditions that will be necessary before the intergovernmental conference, and they are conditions that will be necessary for the future progress of Albania towards the European Union.”

Then in December, it was alleged that she was involved in trying to influence the Venice commission to reject President Ilir Meta’s request for an opinion on the electoral reform constitutional changes.

The Slovenian think tank, IFIMES alleged the following:

“On 21 October 2020, President Meta wrote to the Venice Commission with respect to Rama’s arbitrary constitutional modifications […] However, the Director for Western Balkans in the European Commission, Genoveva Ruiz Calavera intervened with the Venice Commission and asked for Meta’s request to be rejected. Namely, her view was that the European Commission should recommend constitutional modifications and the Albanian Parliament abide by and act upon them. This would imperil the elections scheduled for 25 April 2021, and mirrors perfectly Rama’s public arguments.”

The allegations were rebuked by Ruiz Calavera’s boss, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi.