The Prime Minister’s office, as an institution, is overall under the direction of the Prime Minister, however it serves the rest of the administration as well ascitizens. In our case this does not happen, in fact, in the case of Albania, the Prime Minister’s office as an institution is identified in form and content with Edi Rama, the Prime Minister. This unprofessional tradition of Albanian transition, seemly inherited by our Prime Minister, is not approaching European standards for an administration serving the public, but for one serving its leader. Let us start this report with the hope that soon enough this culture will change and that our public officials will be credited for their merits and achievements, not staying in the shadow of the Prime Minister.
At the beginning of the month, Prime Minister Rama travelled to Vlora handing over keys to a new apartment for Ms. Dhora Gjoni, whose house was damaged by last month’s floods in Novosele. It is ironic that on the same day, the Prime Minister visits also workers of the Transbalkan Road, a project that left some 150 families homeless. This political incorrectness persists while the Prime Minister declares that: ‘’After resolving the problem with all families that had to free their homes in order to open this street, I am happy today that at last this project is being implemented after many many years .. adding… together with the rest of the coastline or lungomare as it is called by locals, are two big projects that strongly open the way for a complete renaissance of this city’s infrastructure..’’ as if the displaced citizens would be happy, calm and consoled with these words. During these days Mr. Rama also distributed the usual legalization certificates, without forgetting his jokes as Prime Minister, personal ones towards citizens, who would not dare return his jokes as beyond the person, he is the Prime Minister. Another dilemma of political movements in the government is the Minister for Urban Development, who accompanies the Prime Minister in his shows, gave up from managing the tourism sector because of inability or rather because urban development and tourism in Albania constitute a paradox if put side by side.
Eventhough immersed in the oceanic wave created by SP MP, Tom Doshi, declaring he had uncovered a plot to kill him, the Prime Minister found some time to inaugurate the Youth Center in Tirana. We will come back to the Youth Centre as soon as two hypotheses are presented regarding the Doshi affair. Firstly, instead of standing by him (as a party colleague), why did Mr. Rama issue a press release claiming his accusations were ‘’an uggly story’’. Did the Prime Minister posses prior information, that led him to make a decision that is not only political, but above all a legal one regarding Doshi’s claims? If yes, why did he not inform the public beforehand? Secondly, why did the Prime Minister congratulate the request of the Prosecutor’s Office to arrest Doshi, while the Prosecution itself leads us to a new dilemma: Having two possible investigation leads in the table, why did the Prosecution (Ilir Meta has paid to kill Tom Doshi; 2- Tom Doshi is lying), choses to follow the second lead. In principle this means that the Prosecutor’s Office itself through its investigation has cleared any doubt that the first lead might be true. The facts that the first lead is not true were never published. Questions will have to suffice for now, seeing that such an issue requires a comprehensive investifation, even taking into consideration only the political aspect and nothing else. Returnin to the Youth Center, all of a sudden, as it has happened previously with the Labor Offices all over Albania or the Office for Social Services, not one call for applications was made public to recruit possible employees of this center. In this case also, the Prime Minister took advantage of the occasion to be ironic about the absence of the Mayor of Tirana in this event, as if he would be present in the government’s inaugurations when he was Mayor (as an analogy let us remember the absence of Mr. Rama in inaugurating TEN Center). In this chaotic month, one of the successes celebrated by the government was closing the 1 year hunting moratorium in Divjaka’s park. Certainly, small successes require greater engagements. Hopefully this government and the others that will follow will continue to operate with increased responsibility towards the environment.
On Mach 11, the Prime Minister participated in the 90th anniversary ceremony of Tirana’s Medrese, where the instrumentalization of religion as a political decor was visible from his long speech. The Prime Minister considers that the aim of religion is to serve as a guarantee for state secularism. An inverted syllogism that makes one think that religion serves as a guarantee for state secularism when in fact the essence of many religions is to bring people closer to god. But the Prime Minister fails to take this under consideration, quite the contrary he finds opportunities to remind a religious institutions in principle a silent pact. The pact that if a religious institutions does not endanger secularism, then the state will grant its freedom to exist.
Another success inspected personally by Rama was initiation of works for the Urban Waste Treatment Plant in Elbasan. Let’s hope this plant will be ready on time and offer the best conditions to open the way for other plants all over the country.
On March 18, the Prime Minister held a long speech to promote the initiative to open secret service files from the communist regime. During this speech, the Prime Minister of course took all the credits for this initiative and tried to hide the fact that this is a diretive of the EU, beyond his desire or lack thereof, willingness or lack thereof from each side.
Furthermore, during this month the Prime Minister used an already consumed cliche related to the computerization of the administration. At a certain point in his speech he says: ‘’For this reason we are strongly engaged in this direction and a comprehensive plan, that includes the spread of new technologies for over 300 services offered to the Albanian citizens, is already underway. Our ambition is to offer the majority of these services online by 2017’’. All this makes one think that on the other side, Albanian’s wellbeing is such that they posses a PC or smartphone that would ensure access from every village, however small, to these services.
On March 23, the so called foreign policy event of the month occured: the meeting between the government of Albania and that of Kosovo. Beyond all the emotions and feelings this meeting transmitted, let us look closely at two aspects: 1- The signed protocols; 2- The meeting from a regional perspective. For the first aspect, the list of signed protocol reached 11, however none of them promises a fundamental improvement of relations, or an immediate political-economic benefit. If we look closely at the 11 signed protocols, we will see that in fact they are documents Albania needed to sign with neighbouring countries, and that in fact even it refused to do so, the directive on regional cooperation comes directly from the EU and in this case both countries are eager to comply with the directives. The second aspect leads us to the question: is it worth enjoying a populist show, endangering thus relations with other neighbours? Of course these agreements might have been signed without the need to conduct a decorated meeting for psychological effects.
Just a day after, in the High Level Dialogue Albania-EU, the Prime Minister declared among others that ‘’…we are confident that in the fall we will hand over everything to the Commission, related to the 5 priorities…’’. These 5 priorities (1- Establishing a professional and depoliticized public administration; 2- Strengthening the independence of judicial institutions; 3- The fight against corruption; 4- The fight against organized crime; 5- Protection of human rights), are so evasive that in any case can’t be considered exhausted, or fulfilled, as each priority in itself implies a continuous process and not a static point of arrivar. Therefore, only fall will show if the government will have fulfilled everything by October: Public Administration reform, judicial reform, anti corruption and the comprehensive reform in public order and constitutional freedoms. The fall will nevertheless show us if the government will deliver or this promise will remain unkept in the eyes of the public and the EU.