27 February 2020 Interview of President Meta for “Euronews”
Journalist: Well in a Euronews exclusive, we are joined from Tirana by Ilir Meta, the President of Albania. Thanks very much for joining us on “Good morning Europe”!
Can I put it to you first: you are the President of the country, a role that is supposed to be about upholding the stability and promoting unity. How do you justify calling for the overthrow of the government?
President Meta: Thank you very much for your attention to my country and to the recent developments that are very crucial for the European future of Albania! I have to say to you that today, we are living, unfortunately, in one-party regime and we are under threat to go back thirty years ago when we were the North Korea of Europe.
Now I show to you: This is the institutional map of Albania, which represents all the institutions according to our Constitution and we have to guarantee here the check and balance and the division between different powers.
Here we have the executive branch, it’s one party. In government and one party illegal and anti-constitutional local elections throughout the country and also I have to say that this ruling party, in cooperation with organized crime with the files that are sleeping in the Prosecutor’s Office for three years, has manipulated the will of the people by rigging elections and the whole Europe is asking for years for investigation and nothing is happening.
Here you have the parliament. It’s one party, mono-party Parliament with 122 MP’s out of 140 MP’s contrary to the Constitution. Why? Because all the MP’s of the parliamentary opposition from the last general elections they left the Parliament because of this very autocratic behavior of the majority and the judiciary…
Journalist: Mr. President, we get your point about the political make up.
President Meta: As you see there is only one institution.
Journalist: Can I just put it to you…?
President Meta: All these institutions belong to one party, including the control of the judiciary with the last anti-constitutional laws when police is taking a lot of authorities and of the judges. And the anti-slander law…
Journalist: We get your point about the political make-up of the country. The point we are trying to make is that you as President is supposed to be neutral. Last year you called for elections to be canceled. This is not a classic case of over rich. You should be above the party politics.
President Meta: Yes, for sure. But how can I be above party politics when we have a total state capture in Albania by the ruling majority? When it controls everything and when it was shown very clearly in the last month and during the last days, the even dared to grab the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic for the appointment of the constitutional judges. Based on manipulation, forgery of the documents and in a very structured, criminal way. And the minister of Justice…
Journalist: The Constitution was voted for in 2016 and adopted in 2018, you are not simply acting here to try to avoid being impeached?
President Meta: No, this is just a political pressure because it has been clear, as OSCE/ ODIHR has confirmed in this report in those one-party elections that those were not legitimate elections and it was saying that the decree of the President for new and inclusive all parties elections in an illegal way was not published in the Official Gazette. Because of the Order issued by the Minister of Justice and of the Government.
So here it has nothing to do with the fight between the President and the government. Here is the last effort that with the new law which is totally against our Constitution, they want to take control of the Constitutional Court which is the most important institution of this Republic. That can guarantee the constitutional rights of our citizens. That is the problem that I am addressing to the people because sovereignty of the Republic of Albania belongs only to the Albanian people.
Journalist: It looks like e personal struggle between you and the prime minister, Edi Rama?
President Meta: No, no! This is not a power struggle. I am fighting for the rule of law in Albania. I am fighting to protect democracy from one party regime which has usurped every independent institution in this country and now wants to grab the Constitutional Court.
Journalist: Mr. President, don’t the people of Albania deserve better than this unseemingly political squabble. It is a very poor country by European standards. You have had an earthquake last year. People have got other priorities than seeing this type of spectacle.
President Meta: For sure that the situation is very critical because Albania was downgraded on the European standards and has violated every day the Copenhagen criteria and now is the final battle for the democracy and for restoring the constitutional order in the country.
Journalist: How do you see these disputes being resolved?
President Meta: I have exhausted all institutional means. I tried to avoid this institutional clash, but they were determined and were fixed to grab also the Constitutional Court of Albania and this is something unacceptable and I have warned them for months that this is the red line for me as the President. Because the first and the last important responsibility of the President is to defend and to protect the Constitution of Albania.
Only the Constitution guarantees our national unity.
Journalist: And what about the call for protest?
President Meta: I want now the call of the Albanian people as citizens to be heard. And the whole world to see what the Albanian people think about this situation.
Journalist: One last…?
President Meta: And I am sure that they will have a very clear message that they do not want to go back to one party-regime as the one we were living for fifty years.
Journalist: I want to put it to you that Albanian wants to eventually join the European Union, it wants the process to start. Is all these going to set back that process?
President Meta: Dear friend, the building of the Constitutional Court based on the Constitution and integrity is one of the key conditions of the German Bundestag and also of the European partners. So Albania has so many problems with the rule of law, but if we go in this wrong direction, for sure that the opening of negotiations is a dream for many years again.
Journalist: President Ilir Meta, joining us live from Tirana, thanks very much for coming to the Euronews’s program “Good morning Europe”!
President Meta: Thank you very much and see you in the 2nd of March!