From: Exit Staff
Varhelyi Rebukes Allegations that His Staff Tried to Interfere with the Venice Commission over an Opinion on Albania

EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi has rebuked media allegations that his staff have intervened with the Venice Commission to reject Albanian President Ilir Meta’s request for an opinion on the constitutional changes passed by the ruling majority concerning elections.

Varhelyi stated that media accusations against Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, his director on Western Balkans, and EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca are “baseless” and “completely unacceptable”.

In his tweet, the Commissioner seemed to relate the allegations of interference with the electoral reform to alleged attempts “to derail” or “slow down” the justice reform in Albania.

The statement comes two days after IFIMES, a Slovenian think tank, posted an analysis on the recent political situation in Albania, in which it alleged that Genoveva Ruiz Calavera intervened with the Venice Commission.

“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 analysis said.

The allegation was posted on social media by former opposition MP Sali Berisha, and picked by several media in Albania.