Interview of President Meta issued to “Kathimerini” newspaper: This is the “mother” of all other conflicts.

Interview of President Meta issued to “Kathimerini” newspaper: This is the “mother” of all other conflicts.

July 9, 2019

Stavros Tzimas (Journalist): Reading your statements and interviews recently, someone might think that Albania is at the edge of the abyss. Is really Albania in such situation?

President Meta: Albania is a modest country, still with a very young European population, with affluent natural resources and blessed with breathtaking natural beauties. Albania is a NATO member, also firmly anchored in the European integration process, expecting to open its accession negotiations.

Unfortunately for some time now, Albania has been highlight of international news for a number of issues related to non-functioning of the rule of law. As the Head of State of this wonderful country, I cannot be but awfully concerned about the regrettable back-sliding that seems to escalate to disturbing proportions.

In my capacity as the President of the Republic, I have state responsibility to duly address every aspect that moves us away from our European related reforms and trajectory, having in mind that this is the most unifying strategic objective of the Albanian people.

My realistic statements only acknowledge this unfortunately sad truth, while I tirelessly and firmly continue to make every effort to see the country functioning within its constitutional and rule of law boundaries.

At this moment Albania is in a deep constitutional, institutional, and representative crisis. It is my responsibility not to sit in silence but to contribute to resolving this crisis as soon as possible, so that we do not miss the October European Council opportunity to open accession negotiations.

Journalist: Your collision with Prime Minister Mr. Rama has got the characteristics of a blood feud. One launches very serious charges against the other and now the Prime Minister started Your dismissal procedure. Do you intend to accept a Parliament decision on Your dismissal? If not, what are you going to do?

President Meta: Today in Albania there is only a major conflict. It is the conflict between the Prime Minister and the rule of law, democracy and political pluralism. This is the “mother” of all other conflicts.

I have always been very open and cooperative with the Prime Minister, all state institutions and political actors to induce a positive and constructive political approach focused on EU-related reforms as the top priority for the country.

State responsibility and the best national interest have been the only two guiding principles in exercise of my duty and I will never compromise them over personal relationships.

I have taken a sublime oath as President of the Republic to uphold and defend the Constitution of my country, and I will remain faithful to this pledge till the last day in this office.

Each and every issue related to constitutional acts or decisions can be adjudicated only and only by the Constitutional Court, including the Decree of the President to cancel 30 June elections, or the governing majority’s political attempts to dismiss the President of the Republic.

Our Constitution is extremely explicit in defining the President as the only state authority with the right to decree the date of elections, and the Constitutional Court as the sole authority with the competence to adjudicate constitutionality of a constitutional act.

It is in Prime Minister’s right, or anyone else’s to seek to capture every independent institution, but Albania has once and for all said “never again” to authoritarianism.

Journalist: You talked about a junta installation plan that aims to create a “deep state” in Albania and Kosovo, and you defined Edi Rama as a “suitable man” for it and George Soros as the inspiring one. What do you know about this plan?

President Meta: I have only spelled the obvious, how a structured group practicing deep state tactics is seeking total state capture in Albania serving to underground agendas.

It is clear that these agendas are anything but compatible to our NATO membership, with our EU integration process or with our strategic partnership with the US.

Democracy and rule of law stand at the very heart of these relations and as such they will never be subject to negotiation.

The honest and hard-working Albanian people will never accept to be a colony in servitude of money laundering and international organized crime. They will never accept to be misused for causing turbulence in a region where they have historically been the most peaceful although undergone horrific sufferings. Albanians have made their choice, to join NATO and the European Union. No one can divert this strategic project. This should be clear!

Journalist: What is the answer to those who think that Albania has become Europe’s Colombia due to narcotics? I point here that this image in the world is created by accusations that are made within Albania for the involvement of political power with narcotics, accusations that reach the Prime Minister himself.

President Meta: International specialized agencies have increasingly raised their concern regarding these negative phenomena, which I must emphasize have nothing to do with the large majority of our extraordinary people.

We cannot afford to naively believe that these reports are based on domestic debates. These are serious issues, considered most professionally by those agencies which are generously assisting our institution to improve Albania’s capacities in the global fight against narcotic cultivation and trafficking.

It is these reports and other scandals exposed in domestic and international media that have created doubts regarding the genuine political will invested by state actors in this fight.

In this regard, I want to emphasize the need to multiply efforts by law-enforcement agencies in this area, fully supporting all those courageous women and men that daily confront these criminal culprits.

I hate the expression “Albania is Colombia of Europe” that many media are using now, because my country has extraordinary potentials to become the Switzerland of the Balkans.

Journalist: In such political atmosphere, do you think that your country should have the date of opening EU membership negotiations in the fall? If You were in the position of a European country leader, would you vote to open negotiations?

President Meta: When there is will, there is always a way. October is not far away, but we are still on time to transform this deep crisis into a real European opportunity for the sake of the Albanian people. Stubbornness to sit indifferent to current deteriorated circumstances or even worse to blindly head towards one-party rule will have devastating repercussions for the country and its European future.

Democracy and rule of law is the best answer and the only remedy to any domestic crisis in a NATO country.

Based on this belief, I have again tabled a new proposition to hold three-fold elections on October 13, local, Parliamentary and Presidential elections. I have not heard, yet, any counter proposition or reaction to my proposal. I am patiently still waiting.

I remain hopeful that maturity, responsibility, and the best national interest will prevail.