17 August 2020 Press conference of the President of the Republic, H. E. Ilir Meta
Question: Dear Mr. President! I wanted to ask you about the Constitutional Court, as there has been a development during the day.
The Judicial Appointments Council stopped Ms. Regleta Panajoti, who had applied for the vacancy announced by you, how do you see the future of the Constitutional Court?
Which of the institutions should take more steps to solve this problem?
President Meta: I have zero comment in this situation on the issue of the Constitutional Court. If the official steps taken by the President of the Republic had been followed, since three years ago Albania would not have been a single hour and a second without the Constitutional Court.
All the history and the odyssey and other issues, you know very well, and it is no longer the immediate issue.
Secondly, immediate today is the health of the people, because this is a situation that can last long.
Of concern today is the lack of responsibility to provide adequate support to the health sector, to all doctors, nurses, paramedics and to all staff who have been struggling and exhausted for months to cope with this situation.
In this regard, I want to emphasize once again that as President of the Republic I have made every effort to cooperate as closely as possible with the government and any other institution, so that this great challenge COVID-19 has as little cost to all Albanian citizens.
Question: Regarding the situation created in Kakavija, have you had communications with representatives of Greek structures or politics to resolve this issue?
Specifically, what steps have been taken by the Institution of the President to resolve the whole chaotic situation that was created in a few days?
President Meta: You must be clear, that all appropriate actions have been taken by the President, not only publicly, which have been quite reserved, in order not to influence an unnecessary debate, since we were dealing with a very big humanitarian issue.
You know very well that this was not a new case. You also have the case of the events that took place at the border crossing point of Kapshtica, where many citizens were left for days and nights without being assisted and without entering the territory of their country.
In all cases, the Institution of the President has made every effort, without sparking unnecessary debate, to prevent these issues.
But also, since you are asking me, even though the government should have consulted with the President about the changes at the top of the diplomatic staff in Greece, it made it done fact, in the most unworthy way, through some media publications.
But the President, although he had his reservations about this behavior, given such issues, has always been very cooperative, avoiding not only blockages, but also public debates.
Nothing justifies the behavior of the government!
My first reaction was very reserved, in relation to public opinion on this issue.
But I was then forced to react more clearly and escalate the attitude, when I saw that the blame was being placed on the citizens for the tasks not completed in time by our institutions, which should be maximally committed to respond to that situation created, I reacted responsibly, sensitively, but also with Albanianism, because after all they are our people who kept Albania with their sacrifices for 30 years.
Thank you very much to the media representatives, who reflected on those concerns in a timely manner.
From tomorrow I will send a calendar to the government, according to the assessment of our Institution, to prevent such cases, taking into account the entire frequency of border crossings that occur during a year, from Easter, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, the time when immigrants come on vacation and the time when they leave again to continue the jobs they have there, through which they keep their families there and their families here.
Question: Mr. President, I do not know if you are familiar with the statement of Minister Majko, who among the people he singles out to thank him for resolving the situation in Kakavija is His Grace, Anastas Janullatos. What impression do you have Mr. President when you, as you confirm, have intervened on the Greek side, but apparently the role that the Albanian state, diplomacy, government has, seems to be smaller than the role that the Church has for resolving the situation?
The second question, beyond the fact that during this period you have rested, you have been quite active in the attitudes you have shared on your social networks, that the key word is constitutional changes and the protection of the Constitution. Does the President of the Republic see the opportunity to return to the citizens to continue defending it as you have strongly opposed the constitutional changes of July 30? Added to this is the fact that the issue of returning to the streets does not seem to be in the short-term plans of the opposition. Thank you!
President Meta: Regarding your first question. Any attempt to blame the Greek side is without any sense! Because we know very well that the Greek government and the Greek side and for the rights of an Albanian citizen of Greek nationality do their job exceptionally.
We know very well that it was and is the full responsibility of the Albanian state, including the President, especially the government, where the Prime Minister has multiple responsibilities for such a case. It also has him as Prime Minister, because he has responsibilities for the whole government and when the ministers do not answer, he has to take measures, it also has him as Foreign Minister.
Because he is the Foreign Minister still in office of the Republic of Albania and has constitutional obligations to Albanian citizens as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
We know very well when is the highest frequency of circulation of Albanian citizens, and all measures should have been taken beforehand so as not to create this extraordinary situation.
These measures were not taken, then an emergency situation was created and we try to shift the debate to things that do not make sense, the more we try to blame the victims of this crisis created by not exercising their duties and responsibilities in a timely manner by all those who were and are responsible for this matter.
We have been talking about the Constitution for 3 years and we will undoubtedly be here in September as well, because we have been behaving irresponsibly with it since April 2008.