A political crisis has erupted in Albania which seems to be nothing short of a vicious circle because none of the sides seems to be budging. United opposition is demanding Prime Minister Edi Rama’s resignation, the formation of an interim government and the holding of early elections, accusing the government of being involved in criminal affairs. For this, the opposition took the decision to resign from parliament, leaving both parliament and government under the Socialist Party’s full control. On the other hand, the head of the government and leader of the left wing, which holds a majority in parliament, says that there’s no reason for him to resign and that voters have given him a four year term in office which ends in the summer of 2021. Rama says that the ruling Socialist Party will go ahead with the preparation of the local government elections scheduled at the end of June.
For these developments and more, IBNA decided to hold an interview with MEP Tanja Fajon. In this exclusive interview for Independent Balkan News Agency Media Group she also comments the latest developments between Kosovo and Serbia.
IBNA: What is your take on the latest political situation in Albania? The opposition has held a series of protests in front of this parliament which it regards as illegitimate. What is your view on this?
I am worried about the unstable political situation in Albania. One thing is holding a peaceful rally, which is part of democratic process and citizens’ right is to take part in protests, but violence and particularly encouraging people to be violent is another thing. Unfortunately we see massive rallies in other Western Balkans countries, too, but in Tirana it seems so obvious that the protests are very much politically motivated.
Do you agree with the mass resignation of opposition MPs?
If we add a boycott of opposition MPs to the work of Parliament, one easily gets an idea that we are not talking about fighting for much needed reforms for the benefit of citizens and in a constructive political climate, rather about satisfying selfish political appetites. Parliament is a forum for debating and confronting contradictory views, whereas dialogue – and with it overcoming political differences – remains the only possible way for a long-lasting solution.
Do you think the political situation will have an impact on the opening of accession talks with the EU in the month of June?
Regardless of instabilities, I believe Albania deserves to be granted a green light for the beginning of accession negotiations with the EU in June this year. The state of the rule of law is far from ideal, but Albania made certain progress in the judiciary field and the vetting process and I am convinced that the Albanian parliament and government will continue with the path of reforms. Me and my political family in the EP, Socialists and Democrats, see no reason for further delaying the decision to open negotiations.
As far as developments in Kosovo are concerned, do you agree with the idea of territorial swaps with Serbia? What’s your take on the import tariffs imposed on Serbia?
As regards taxes introduced by Kosovo, my stance remains the same as that of the EU: Kosovo should abolish taxes as soon as possible as this is the very precondition for the Dialogue between Belgrade and Prishtina to be continued. I think that change of borders is always a dangerous game. Belgrade and Prishtina need to find a sustainable, long-lasting solution which will be acceptable for both sides in political terms, but which will also be functional and useful for all those who live in Kosovo in the first place. Nothing else will work in the long term”.