By Arben Imami
Minister of Defense of the Republic of Albania
Better late than never. It was truly in the honor of this parliament to ratify, although at the last special session of this legislature, after four years of constant blockade of the process of the integration of the country, the three laws that would have given way to the EU candidate status of the country long time ago.
Today’s plenary session was not necessary because there was nothing to discuss. The only thing that needed to be discussed was as to whether Edi Rama had decided to give up on his blockade tactics or not, which prevented the integration of the country for four years in a row.
We are all witnesses that the blockade was not directly connected to the three laws. The problem is deeper. This was in fact the final act of a constant positioning of the leader of the Socialist Party against the reforms of the Albanian government, against the development of the country and against its integration.
The truth is that Mr. Rama has used all extra-institutional practices to prevent parliament’s work in order to jeopardize the work of the government and prevent the integration of Albania.
Is it a fact that the endorsement of the Stabilization and Association Agreement was postponed due to the electoral massacre of Mr. Rama in 2003?
Was it him who used every method to prevent the liberalization of visas through protests, denigrating campaigns in the country and abroad to refuse the legitimacy of identity cards?
In fact, every time Albania is close to being granted the status, Rama has provoked an impasse in the country.
Today Albania would be an EU associate member had he accepted the free and honest elections of 2009. The refusal to recognize the elections, his battle to open ballot boxes had only one result, the blockade of the candidate status.
In 2010, the European Commission issued the priorities which had to be fulfilled in order for the country to be granted the candidate status. All the technical criteria was met, but the leader of the Socialist Party orchestrated January 21, which led to another blockade for the country.
In spite of this, compromise was found for the implementation of the recommendations of the commission and if the political agreement of November 2011 had worked, the country would have been granted the status today.
Rama left the agreement because he could not accept any political successes of the government and this at the detriment of the Albanian people and the country.
The European Commission and the European Parliament proposed to the Council of Ministers to grant Albania the EU candidate status, making the voting of the three laws that were voted today in parliament as the only condition.
For 232 days in a row, the only condition imposed by the European Union was blocked with the conditions of Edi Rama. The integration of the country was conditioned with the most absurd pretexts for a sane mind.
Today we voted the three laws, when in fact, the damage to the Albanian people has been caused. The economic bill for the blockade of the status amounts to hundreds of millions of Euros.
This fund is an added cost to the Socialist Party, which must be held accountable before Albanian people for the damage that has been caused.
In spite of this, we encourage the Socialist Party to overcome the complexity of blockade in order for Albania to be granted the EU status and to move faster toward integration and development.
The recommendations, including the three laws, are important for the improvement of the legislative framework, but most importantly, for the process. By voting the three laws, Albania had to show a long time ago this normal standard, where political parties collaborate for the best interest of the country. This objective was not achieved and the only responsible person for this is Edi Rama.
The issue of the candidate status will now be connected to the acceptance of the election result and to the peaceful climate during the elections, like Jonathan Moore said. This is the guarantee that the Socialist Party must offer in order not to block once again the EU candidate status for Albania. But, the Socialist Party doesn’t seem to have an answer to this. /ibna/