Johann Wadephul is blunt. “Albania finds himself in a dangerous political crisis” and, ‘even if the Rama government has a majority in parliament, it must be prepared to make real compromises”.
The German official differs from other European politicians when he stresses out the need for negotiations and offers to play intermediary. “We are prepared to help overcome the crisis if both sides have the will to do so”, he told Shekulli, an Albanian daily.
Wadepuhl doesn’t forget to carry a big stick:
“Albanian laws prohibit vote buying. Nevertheless, there is no prosecution by the public prosecutor’s office and no arrests against those persons who have been proven to have bought votes by means of interception records. If there is no real progress here very soon, my group will not be able to agree to the opening of accession negotiations”.
Mr. Wadephul what is your opinion on the political situation in Albania?
Albania finds himself in a dangerous political crisis. This is bad for the EU perspective of the country. It is, therefore, the duty of all pro-European parties in government and opposition to approach each other and be prepared to make real compromises. If both sides are not prepared to do so, they question their country’s EU perspective. And at the same time, they would only strengthen those forces that want to promote nationalism and pursue the grand Albanian plans. Moreover, it would only encourage third powers to interfere even more in Albanian affairs. All this could lead to new conflicts, unrest or even a conflagration in the Balkans. To say it bluntly: Grand Albanian plans will be the end of Albania’s EU perspective! That is why the government and the opposition have a responsibility to overcome the crisis immediately. Even if the Rama government has a majority in parliament, it must be prepared to make real compromises. We are prepared to help overcome the crisis if both sides have the will to do so.
What are the main obstacles that Albania needs to overcome?
Albania still needs to make significant progress in the fight against corruption and the OC in order to meet the conditions for the opening of accession negotiations. We can see that the government has already made efforts. The implementation of laws is particularly important. Albanian laws, for example, prohibit vote buying. Nevertheless, there is no prosecution by the public prosecutor’s office and no arrests against those persons who have been proven to have bought votes by means of interception records. If there is no real progress here very soon, my group will not be able to agree to the opening of accession negotiations. Because that is a fundamental issue of the rule of law, and one that must be guaranteed.
Did the Berlin Summit, part of the Berlin Proces, achieve something?
Yes indeed! There has been a valuable and first and foremost critical exchange of views on the issue of border change and land swap. The decisive result is that there will be a follow-up conference on 1 July in Paris. There, concrete questions on the continuation of the normalization process between Kosovo and Serbia will be discussed. The continuation of this process is urgently needed, we finally need progress in the relations between the two countries, otherwise, there is a danger of new conflicts.
Do you believe that territorial exchanges are the best option for the stability of Western Balkans?
The land swap is the worst option for the stability of the Western Balkans! In the concluding statement on the Berlin meeting, all Heads of State and Government stressed that the agreements between Serbia and Kosovo must serve regional stability. This is a rejection of all considerations for a land swap or for the drawing of ethnic borders. Trust between Serbs and Kosovars and stability in the region can only be achieved through legally binding agreements to normalize relations, not through talk of territorial exchanges.