The problems with the new law of the Foreign Service
In March 20th the Albanian Parliament adopted a new law “For the Foreign Service”, which before the adoption faced a strong debate within the Foreign Commission of the Parliament, where two members of the majority, including the chairman of the Commission criticized it. Nevertheless, in the moment of the voting no one of the majority opposed the law, with the exception of the abstention of just one article of the law, which couldn’t stopped the adoption with the needed quorum.
Efforts to dictate President’s functions
The new law has a new limit of 20 days for the President of Albania to name the ambassadors proposed from the Prime Minister. The old law did not contained such a restriction, in any case the new one is not a guarantee that parts will not block each other in future with regards to the ambassador’s nominees. In fact, as an independent institution, the Constitution gives to the President the right of not being responsible for his acts during the exercise of his powers. Which means that the President could still not approve the ambassador’s nominees without facing any trouble, as the majority would wish he could. It is true that the Constitution gives to the President the attribute to name the ambassadors, but as an independent power, the President could not be obliged to do so, in the cases he decides in different way, living this competence in the total discretion of the Head of the State. The majority could not dictate too to the President the way he could exercise his function.
License for nepotism?
The most discussed point of the new law were the abolition of the percentage of the not professional diplomats that could be named as ambassadors. The new law contains no restrictions for the new ambassadors that are not part of the Foreign Service. The only criteria for them is to have 10 years of experience in the field of foreign policy, in international economic or political relations, and to have served as minimum 3 years in key functions. This means that professors of international law, or international businessman could become Albania ambassadors, but the law do not contemplate any article that could stop the nepotistic or parental nominees. In the old law the number of the ambassadors coming from outside of the system were limited, despite the fact that it were not respected at all. This problem needed to be fixed, but in contrast the government decided to totally abolish the restrictions, giving himself the license of undiplomating diplomacy. Considering that the actual government blamed dhe old one for its hard nepotism in the diplomatic service, the new law do not gives at all the feeling that it aims to professionalize the system. The Ministry approach could be considered even as an admission of the collapse or incompetence of the Foreign Service to train diplomats of high profile. In fact, in the case the system were effective, there would not be any reason to search for human resources outside of it. From the Foreign Ministry it could be expected to strength its structures and human resources and not to search in other directions. Such a lack has been admitted in indirect form from the minister Bushati itself, when he declared in January of 2014 that there are outside of the system people that are able to do it better the job of promoting their country. This persuasion may have pushed the minister to propose, for example, as ambassador in Holland a translator, in discordance not just with the old law, but even against the principles of the new one, that is presumable that the Ministry had begun to work on at that time.
Where is meritocracy?
The new law foresee that to become ambassador it is necessary to have obtained the status of “Counselor”. In this way an Embassy counselor could be directly promoted as ambassador. In this case we could not define it at all as a meritocratic practice, because it discriminates diplomats that have reached the ranks of “Minister Counselor”, “Powerful Minister” and “Ambassador” that are ranks of superior level compared with the “Counselor” status. It is not clear why the law bring a hierarchical system between ranks and then decides that even a lower rank could prevail on a superior one. Nevertheless, as we reported to avoid this kind of problems the Ministry have found the solution: nominee from outside the system!
The Consul case in Greece
Medias have reported with insistence the case of General Consul of Albania in Thessaloniki Pavlina Ylli (Evro), telling that she lives in Greece for some decades and has even Greek ID and green card. Anyway there are not reports that could confirm that the Consul have abandoned Albanian nationality. Considering that Albanian laws permits to conserve the double nationality, until the moment that could be proved that Ms.Ylli has leaved the Albanian one, it could not be a scandal that she has another nationality.
Kushtetuta e Republikës së Shqipërisë
Ligji Nr.9095, date 3.7.2003
Ligji nr. 23/2015