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Henze: In fact, the autocrat Rama, who probably came to power by manipulation, Në fakt, autokrati Rama, i cili mbase erdhi në pushtet duke manipuluar.

Prime Minister Rama announced eight topics at the beginning of 2020 on which his government will focus in 2020.

Henze: 

In fact, the autocrat Rama, who probably came to power by manipulation, has mentioned some trivial points which basically show the simplicity, stupidity and lack of content of this government. We have rarely seen so much ignorance and stupidity in the international sector.

We should not waste much time discussing these points, but we can discuss them later. It is really interesting to see which essential, important issues he did not address

What do you mean?

Henze: The Rama government, which is still in power, is called upon to meet the Copenhagen criteria, including the 10 criteria of the German Bundestag, by May 2020.

These include among others:

1.restoration of the rule of law and democracy including freedom of the press.

2.a constitutionally compliant restoration of a functioning constitutional court and a supreme court

3.a constitutionally compliant implementation of the SPAK

4. investigation and conclusion of the electoral manipulation of the parliamentary elections by Rama, Balla, Veliaj and others, as well as a related possible formation of a criminal association between the mafia and the ruling party

5.investigation of the 2020 local elections.

6. electoral law reform, coordinated with the elected opposition, which is currently not in parliament due to the lack of a dysfunctional legislature.

These items are not on the agenda of the Rama government for 2020, but this is not surprising. Mr. Rama has apparently no interest in restoration:

– of democracy, 

– the rule of law, 

– the investigation of the rigged elections 2017, 2019.

If that is the case and Rama is still Prime Minister in May 2020, there will be no start of talks, any theatre and threats of this gentleman towards the EU will not help this man.

Why is he not interested?

Henze: It is very simple. If Albania were a functioning constitutional state and democracy, with constitutionally correct courts and anti-corruption authorities, then there would be no Prime Minister Rama or Mr Balla.

Rama, Balla and others would have to prosecute themselves and, he would have to face a very heavy prison sentence, not only because of the possible criminal offences, but also because he has violated Article 145(3) of the Albanian constitution. Why should he do this?

Why has such a mistake been made?

Henze: The question is to ask cui bono. Albania is currently no longer a constitutional state, has no functioning parliament. There is no separation of powers. All the laws that have been passed have no legal force, so they are illegal. Rama has created constitutional chaos. 

A state, governed by the still Prime Minister Rama , in which arbitrariness is massively favoured, as it is recognizable on 30 June 2019 with the accomplished illegal “local elections, despite clear decree of the president Meta, postponement of the election date due to a legislative emergency.

How is this to be understood?

Henze: According to Art. 145 III, the impairment of the activity of the courts or the judges leads to liability under the law. Furthermore, the principle of Art. 127 III of the Albanian Constitution also applies, which is the principle of the so-called permanence of the Constitutional Court. 

A constitutional court, the Supreme Court may not be set dysfunctional in Albania. If a position in the Constitutional Court or the Supreme Court remains vacant, an interim judge must be appointed until the mandate of the retiring judge expires. This has not been done, the crucial mistake of the legal reform, a serious breach of the constitution by the Rama government, is punishable by law.

Mr. Rama, as a politically responsible Prime Minister has not only affected the work of the courts, he has de facto abolished the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court 2 years ago. This criminal relevant behaviour of the government also affects the whole Vetting Commission.

Now the Constitutional Court is to be reactivated. So the situation has been eliminated, right?

Henze: No, the condition is not eliminated at all. The election of the constitutional judges, as everyone knows, the president Meta has published an objective account of it, is not in accordance with the constitution. In this respect, this court is currently unable to issue legally sound judgments, even if it is fully staffed. The requirements of the Albanian Constitution regarding the composition of the Constitutional Court have not been complied with.

The SPAK has not been established in conformity with the constitution. The Supreme Court is not operational.

And, even if all the supreme courts were to become functional again, fictitiously speaking, the processing of some 45,000 court cases would neutralise the courts’ entire resources for years to come.

The standstill of the judiciary will therefore continue for the next few years and will have a fundamental impact on Albania’s economic development.

An important element of a constitutional state, a democracy, is the acceptance, the confidence of the population that the constitution is valid and that it will be implemented. This basic trust has been completely destroyed. 

The result of the legal reform is therefore catastrophic at both the vertical and horizontal levels.

How is that to be understood?

Henze: All state action in Albania is bound by the law (legal security), all citizens are equal before the law (equality of rights), independent courts protect citizens from arbitrary state intervention (legal protection). 

The freedom and legal guarantees of the liberal constitutional state in Albania are essential elements of the Albanian constitution. 

Based on the constitutional significance of the rule of law, certain essential features have developed in Albania until 2013. 

These include, among others

– respect for fundamental rights (all organs of state power are bound by fundamental rights and may not disregard them)

– the separation of powers 

– equal treatment by law 

– the reservation of the law (interference by the state authorities in the freedom and property of Albanian citizens must be based on a formal and, moreover, previously adopted law. 

– proportionality (means used and purpose pursued must be proportionate)

– Consistency of jurisprudence.

All regulations and fundamental rights in the Albanian constitution are intended to ensure the independence of the judiciary and the legal security and uniformity of jurisdiction. The dysfunctional nature of the supreme courts meant that two years ago the uniformity of jurisdiction was suspended. Justice is established and all people have the same rights and duties. Now that no supreme courts functionally exist and will not function properly in the coming years, the basic principles are no longer protected in Albania.

Maintaining the unity of the legal system is a fundamental aspect of the appeal system and the ability to appeal, that is, the rule of law and the backbone of a functioning economic system. 

For the unity of the legal system is essentially threatened if equal law is pronounced unequally. This is always the case when there are no supreme courts, as is now the case in Albania.That is of practical relevance to Albania. All the court rulings of the last two years that have been submitted to the highest courts for appeal are de iure still pending. 

All laws passed in the dysfunctional parliament are, in principle, pendingly ineffective. 

What is the consequence of this?

Henze: That means legal uncertainty for the Albanian economy and people, for example, when it comes to expropriation, for the coming years. No sound foreign company will invest in such a country.

Whenever a state bases its decisions not on the constitution, as is now the case in Albania, but rather on unrestricted and arbitrary decision-making and enforcement, as is now the case with the Rama government, the exact opposite of a constitutional state is present. Such states could be called dictatorships or police states. The term “unjust state” is also often used colloquially. Albania has become an unjust state under the Rama government, co-financed by the international community, which has provided a lay drama group of lawyers as advisors to this government.

So there is a fundamental constitutional breach. Nobody may sneak out of the validity of the law without sanctions. Otherwise, commandments and prohibitions are only something for the stupid, good and weak. In addition, there is a possible criminal offence of high treason by the Rama government in connection with the merger agreement with Serbia, but more on that later

How does this disturbance occur?

Henze: Again, two guesses:

1. abroad: The longing for the equally simple and perfect solution will probably never die. As a rule, every solution creates a new problem. And this is due to the limitations of human thinking. The reason why abroad could not see this very obvious development in Albania earlier is due to what we in science call cognitive routines. 

These are typical, neurological observation programs in which the results are less interesting than the process itself. 

Hence the statement by some foreign representatives and ambassadors: ” Progress in judicial reform in Albania can be seen” “Albania will be the model example of successful judicial reform, a model country in the EU” .

Instead of focusing on the results of the judicial reform, here the abolition of the rule of law without interim solution and thus the collapse of the entire parliamentary system, the focus is only on the beginning of the process, the start of the legal reform. 

This is a sign of absolute overtaxing of these representatives, they are in a cognitive routine. Typical of cognitive routines is that the person concerned does not register the result ad hoc, an absolute perception disorder. In some cases it can certainly not be ruled out that they have received an extra fee. Corruption by the administration of the Rama government is a rule, according to international opinion.

2. Rama government: In addition, there is certainly also the fact that in an overall analysis, the Rama government is in a special constellation, which has a destructive structure.

·      Who benefits in Albania from the fact that the constitutional state no longer exists? 

·      Who has to fear courts that function under the rule of law, public prosecutors and a constitutional court that has to ensure that the constitution and human rights are respected?

·      Who has an interest in the government being able to pass laws that no court in Albania can review?

·      Who has an interest in holding elections even though there is a clear constitutional decree under Article 93 of the Albanian Constitution?

·      What is the use of two courts judging differently, one after the other, at the same level of authority, the same procedure?

·      What is the use of the fact that there is no functioning parliament in Albania and that the elected opposition has no right to have the government’s legislation examined and repealed by the Constitutional Court?

·      Who has an interest in the prosecution by the police and the public prosecutor’s office no longer being subject to constitutional control? 

·      Who has interest in the fact that because of the possible election manipulation in 2016 ,2017, 2020 and the connection to the mafia, the members of the Rama government and the presidium of the ruling party and members of the mafia are not investigated and subsequently charged?

·      Why do the investigators, police officers, public prosecutors have to flee abroad from these proceedings, since they are not granted protection under the rule of law in Albania? 

·      Who benefits in Albania from the fact that these investigators in Albania, who are loyal to the constitution, fear for their lives and the lives of their families? 

·      What is the point in Albania of the journalists involved in the scandal of the revelation of the electoral rigging now being threatened and tried to discredit them in Albania? 

·      What good, then, is this legislative and constitutional emergency in Albania?

·      Who benefits from the fact that, since 2013, drug production, trafficking and human trafficking have increased significantly in Albania?

In fact, if Albanian civil society wants to regain a democratic society based on the rule of law, it must ask itself the question cui bono , the question can be answered without difficulty.  The political consequences for the Rama government will then arise of their own accord from the answers to these questions.

Under such conditions no state can function, no wonder that young people flee Albania and the mass exodus will have completely different dimensions from March 2020 and this will also have a fundamental effect on the economic future of Albania, if there is no political turnaround in Albania.

How is that to be understood?

Henze: Some Northern European countries, such as Germany, for example, from March 1, 2020, have passed so-called skilled worker immigration laws. This is intended to open the labour market for skilled workers from countries outside the European Union. We are doing so well economically and that is because we have a social market economy and a constitutional state, that we need hundreds of thousands of workers

Until now, only academically trained professionals have had unlimited access. In future, specialists with foreign professional qualifications in all professions will also be able to obtain a visa or residence permit for employment. The restrictions have been completely lifted.

So, what I am saying is. If something does not change politically in Albania very quickly now, Albania has the potential to become the Switzerland of the Balkans, a large part of the Albanian population will emigrate, all Albanian families will be torn apart for good, the Albanian economy, tourism will no longer have any prospects, there will be a lack of employees, there will be a lack of rural infrastructure: roads, water supply, sewage disposal, schools will collapse very quickly, there will be a lack of young people. Albania will become, if something is not done now, a country of old people and the mafia, the Albanian nation will die.But that cannot be the will of the Albanian nation.

Prime Minister Rama has identified the reconstruction of the buildings damaged by the earthquake of 26 November as the most important point for 2020. Is that how you see it?

Henze: Well, you know, the Rama government always seems to spend foreign money well. Rama does not have the money for the complete reconstruction. 

The Albanian state is not only facing political bankruptcy, but also financial bankruptcy. Rama does not have the capital to repair the earthquake damages, Albania has after 6 years of government a down-and-out productive economy, dilapidated infrastructures. Economically, the Rama government has been producing permanent earthquakes for 6 years.

Economic growth slowed down in 2019 to an average of 2.8%, less than the 3.4% demanded by the Ministry of Finance; whether the figures are correct and doubtful. The Albanian balance of trade continued to deteriorate dramatically in the third quarter of 2019. Net exports have had a negative impact due to the growing deficit in the second quarter. Total investment continued its downward trend since the third quarter of 2018, shrinking by 0.9% in the second quarter of this year;

Foreign direct investment showed a downward trend in the second quarter of 2019. The energy sector has consistently shown financial weaknesses. 

The hydroelectric power plants on which the Albanian nation is existentially dependent are for the most part in a defective condition, it is only a matter of time before they fail completely. In the fourth quarter of 2019, GDP is expected to decline sharply due to the damage caused by the earthquake of November 2019. 

The dynamics of VAT revenues have further deteriorated in the 11-month period 2019. As a result, the pyramid scheme II of the Rama government, in which state salaries are financed by credit by selling future tax revenues to banks and private companies, could collapse in 2020. As a result, salaries and pensions may no longer be paid in full, and the banking sector could slide into a crisis, since the pre-financed loans can no longer be paid by the Albanian state.

According to the Doing Business 2020 report, the business climate has deteriorated and the index of corruption perceptions in the country has risen massively.

The Albanian government’s forecast of 4.1% economic growth in 2020 is absurd as it does not reflect the weakness of economic growth in 2019, the additional impact of earthquake damage and losses, the changes in the world economy and the lack of a productive economy in AL.

Should there be international EU aid funds for earthquake relief in early 2020, the Rama government will certainly try to book these funds as revenue in the budget and thereby produce cosmetic growth, which would certainly be fake news. 

The significant reduction in public spending on education as a percentage of GDP has not addressed the continuing concerns expressed by educational institutions and students in recent years, despite the commitments made. Another reason for emigration has thus been created.

An increased fiscal risk for public spending in fiscal 2020 is the appreciation of existing family contracts, the government calls them PPP projects but they are not and the number of new projects, the risk of capital injection for the investment company, the financing of losses in the energy sector and the increase in the cost of public debt.

A significant potential risk is the increase in public debt itself due to the increase in costs, as well as the full inclusion of arrears to private contractors for work carried out, non-recovery of VAT, credit surpluses, profit tax, national and international court decisions and local government debt. With these actions the Albanian government is destroying the economic future of Albania

So, to get back to the original question. Earthquake relief is important and elementary, for the people affected. But it is even more important that the entire Albanian state functions, and unfortunately this is no longer guaranteed for 2020. In addition, Rama wants capital from the western world, from the EU, but has de facto prevented the start of accession talks for years and is now trying to establish economic cooperation with the EU’s competitors, i.e. with Serbia/Russia. That does not fit together.

Could you please explain this to you? How do you assess Albanian development?

Henze: At the beginning of the Albanian Republic in 1992 there was probably the most profound change of a European state that a country in Europe has ever experienced. 

After totalitarian hypris through the occupation of Italy, the subsequent communism that spread under isolation, state-organized oppression of minorities, communism ended with total collapse. Step by step the Albania of today developed. The Albanian nation opted for a state and legal concept of the rule of law in the form of parliamentary democracy. A great success of today’s opposition, it secured peace and lit a light on the economic and social development of Albania. It is responsible for a large number of international treaties, the Albanian constitution and the planned EU membership.

America and Europe guaranteed Albania’s freedom and viability by fully integrating it into the Western community of values through membership in NATO and the offer of membership in the European nation, provided that specified criteria were met. Without the strict ties to the West and the significant financial, organisational and human support of the West, as well as the incredible commitment of the Albanian nation, the country could not have developed. This was, by the way, a magnificent achievement on the part of the Albanian population, but it was also paid for with a great deal of suffering.

In the constitutional sense, a state’s foreign policy ties are generally not among the foundations of a political system. However, if its existence and cultural and economic future are inseparably linked to certain foreign policy orientations, these too can be understood as factual, constitutive features of the system. 

This is true, at least in its history to date, for Albania. Without the protection of the Western alliance system, above all the USA and especially Germany, the Balkan wars in the 1990s could not have been pacified. The then Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, had played an important role in NATO’s attack on Belgrade in 1999. NATO’s intervention was the right thing to do and has certainly saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Albanians. Germany is a very great friend of this old culture, of the Albanian nation. Albania’s orientation towards the West also goes beyond a purely military, alliance policy option. It includes cultural and economic links with the western world, in other words a turning away from the Russian system and communism, and is at the same time a fundamental decision by the Albanian nation in favour of western democracy and the absolute rule of law. 

In contrast to Serbia, for example, which prances between Russia and the West, sees itself as autonomous and enters into changing alliances, but is primarily Russian-oriented, Albania’s current position is characterised by a firm and comprehensive commitment to the Western world, at least until 2013.

How is that to be understood with 2013?

Henze: The Prime Minister of Albania, Mustafa Rama, likes to present himself as a fervent supporter of the EU and its values. He periodically pays homage to the German Chancellor with downright declarations of love, he calls her by her first name, always seeks the opportunity for a joint photo in which he praises her humanistic-democratic attitude, and distributes gifts. With preference Rama also appears as an artist, although, allow me to say, in this matter the footsteps in the field of art, his father, are a little too big for him. This is apparently also his mental problem, whether he is in art or politics, Rama can show no success, only terrible disasters. Albania is facing a social and economic abyss.

As a result, Rama has made many promises towards the EU, has always been interested in money transfers from the EU, but has not delivered anything that justifies starting talks.

This is now again evident in the terrible earthquake disaster in Albania, the Albanian nation is suffering the effects of the natural disaster. 

The Rama government’s civil protection was not organized. The Albanian government has done little in the last 6 years. The first, Albanian rescue teams had to dig up the buried people with their bare hands. Material for this disaster, even heavy equipment was not available.

Now, because of the commitment of the EU and especially of the opposition in Albania, there is a so-called donor conference for the Albanian nation. What is Rama doing at the same time, in the shadow of the disaster, reducing the fourth power, the freedom of the press, to zero through a new media law, despite warnings from the EU? How can a government be entrusted with international aid when it is also suspected of massive corruption?

The Rama government cannot be trusted at all. The West agrees.

What do you mean?

Henze: We should first of all note that the postponement to clarify a date for the start of accession talks with the EU, to May 2020, was to be expected.The Rama government has put on a very bad show over the last few years, it has not pursued any serious government policy, it has neglected the country, hundreds of thousands of Albanians have left the country since 2013, and the Rama government has in no way fulfilled the conditions imposed by the EU. It has done nothing and only demanded, in between Rama has presented his so-called art in European galleries.

On the other hand, it should now be very clear to the Albanians that this very clever and wise EU decision is not directed against the Albanian people, the Albanians are our sisters and brothers. 

Albania has always been a part of Europe, Albania has valuable people, the country is beautiful, has many potentials and very interesting resources and an impressive culture and Albania will also be able to become a member of the EU very soon.

The decision of the EU is based on the fact that Mr. Rama, Mr. Balla, Mr. Lleshaj, Mr. Velaj and others from the governing party SP in no way meet the criteria of the EU, which have fulfilled the conditions for opening negotiations. There are no talks for free. 

On the contrary, the Rama government has organised everything in such a way in recent years that the EU had to reject it.

Now the EU has given Albania an extension until May 2020 and what is Rama doing? He is not working to create the conditions. Had already made comments on this. Rama’s political record is a catastrophe and will also affect the future of the Albanian nation if this policy is not ended immediately.

No, Rama is now showing his real face, he has failed politically, he has failed as an artist and is now negotiating with Serbia and then with Vucic, Milosovic’s Minister of Propaganda, which is absurd and a real problem for the future of Albania.

Why is it a problem:

Henze: Of course it is a big problem for the Albanian nation, it wants to become a member of the EU and not of the Eurasian Economic Union. This is not about a Schengen Agreement. It is about a decision for the EU and Nato or against the EU and Nato and for the EAEU. Russia has limited economic power and therefore needs partners. The economic power comes from gas and oil, products that will be less in demand in the next 10 years. A real problem for Russia, besides demographic development and climate change.

How is this to be understood?

Henze: The EAEU is an association around the Russian Federation to form a single market with a customs union. Such a thing existed once before, before 1989, when it was called the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, RGW. The RGW was founded in 1949 as a socialist counterpart to the EU and NATO and was dissolved after its collapse in 1991. The RGW was used by the Russians as a system to improve their own economic power through their partners, or simply put, it was a strategic instrument of Russian rule.

Serbia has now signed a free trade area agreement with the successor organization of the RGW, the EAEU, on October 25, 2019. The EU and at that time Slovakia urged Serbia not to establish a free trade area with the Eurasian Economic Union in order to avoid a possible collision with the European Union. “If you are serious about your European orientation, make political decisions that bring you closer.

This is not one of them,” said Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák after the meeting of EU and Western Balkans Foreign Ministers in Helsinki. “You cannot go in several directions at once,” he added.The European Commission has also warned Serbia not to push through trade agreements with the Russian-led economic bloc.

Serbia was not interested in this at all and now the focus is on Albania. Nor can it be ruled out that Serbia or Russia may have special information on Rama that would make him vulnerable to blackmail. The negotiations should certainly aim at a free trade agreement, which would then be an absolute NO GO for EU membership and a frontal turning away of Albania from the West, the withdrawal from NATO would then be a consequence.

I have the impression that the Albanian people absolutely do not want this. Rama is therefore negotiating without any legitimacy.

Allow me to add: Rama’s government, as shown by the results of 6 years of government has created an absolute disaster in Albania. Rama has brought the Albanian nation to the brink of economic bankruptcy, which is still to be discussed and, the Rama government has been active for years in gambling away the future of the Albanian nation, the youth are leaving Albania in unprecedented dimensions, they see no economic and political future. This will worsen from March 2020 onwards, as Germany, for example, has made it considerably easier for them to enter the labour market.

Rama has now managed in recent weeks to confront the EU countries with insults, threats and accusations. The EU has invested hundreds of millions of euros for the Albanian people in Albania. UN what happened in the last few days, the EU and especially the proud and important France, the Netherlands, the democratic Denmark are insulted and they try to divide the German nation and the French nation.I tell you, this will not succeed. After the earthquake disaster, the French nation was one of the first countries to send aid to Albania.

What is happening, Rama celebrates and praises France. The pattern is always the same. Whoever pays is a friend. Mr. Rama seems to have completely lost touch with reality, when I look at what he has said in the last few days and also in recent months, including the way in which this gentleman has dealt with the elected opposition, his lack of a positive attitude towards democracy and the rule of law, his antidemocratic attitude towards the free press, his reactions to the very substantiated Mafia accusations. 

To deny that Albania has fallen into a serious and perhaps fatal crisis, that Albania is not at present a constitutional state and democracy, and that it is indeed on the brink of an economic and legal abyss, would be to close one’s eyes to reality.Since 2013, developments in Albania have been characterised by Albania’s increasing sinking into drug-related crime, the massive expansion of the central heroin and cocaine trade for western and eastern Europe in Albania. The investigative successes of the Albanian government are a tragedy; on a net view, a significant increase in drug trafficking and production can be seen. The US State Department reports from April 2019 are clear. There are no results-oriented successes. On the contrary, there is an increase in the trade in hard drugs. A massive security problem for the EU and Russia.

The 2017 elections seem to have been manipulated, if you look at the Albanian investigation protocols, the records of the foreign intelligence and security agencies, the reporting of the international press in 2019 in an interplay between members of the ruling party, the name of Prime Minister Ramas, Ballas and others, mentioned, in cooperation with the mafia. The public prosecutor’s investigations were massively disrupted. The investigators in charge of the case had to flee from the Rama government to Europe, Switzerland and Germany granted them asylum.

How do you explain the attitude of Albanian Prime Minister Rama towards this agreement?

Henze: You see, the rule of law and democracy per se do not exist in Albania at the moment, the economy is very bad, foreign investment is almost zero, there is only narco investment from abroad, high unemployment, human trafficking, mass exodus of young people, abject poverty, ageing of the population in the countryside, dilapidated infrastructure, massive corruption of the Rama government administration, manipulation of the 2017 parliamentary elections together with the mafia, according to the international press, holding of illegal local elections on 30 September, and the fact that the Albanian government has been unable to hold the elections. June 2019, increasing heroin trade, constant breach of the constitution by the government of Rama, persecution of the opposition and critical journalists, expropriation of citizens without being able to defend themselves against expropriation before a constitutional court, characterize the situation in Albania. Albania is on the verge of national bankruptcy. Contracts are being signed in the road construction and health sector, they are called PPP. In reality, they are family contracts between the Rama government and friends from the business world. The population of Albania is being exploited as a result.

De iure, they do not meet the minimum standards of European PPPs, private monopolies have been created, no PPPs, non-transparent tenders have been carried out, the negotiations for admission to the EU have been postponed, a real disaster.

It is quite simple, the Rama government wants to distract from these disasters, first Rama created a Greater Albania, a joint foreign ministry with Kosovo, in spring this year, now a Greater Serbia is being celebrated.

In this context, I would just like to remind you of Operation Allied Force, a NATO military operation against the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which it carried out as part of the war in Kosovo from 24 March to 10 June 1999. Which saved the lives of very, very many Albanians in the Balkans. Germany in particular, through its commitment in the Balkans, prevented worse things from happening.

Vucic with the now Rama over an association agreement, euphemistically called “mini Schengen”, was in this time of the Serbian war crimes from 1993 to 2008 active member of the Serbian radical party, for which he was from 1998 to 2000 Serbian Minister of Information, so in the middle of the terrible Balkan war, Serbia was at war, also in Kosovo, he had the responsibility for propaganda. 

You only have to read once what this gentleman published at that time about Albania, minorities and the Western world. You can also wage war with words. Certainly, it cannot be entirely ruled out that Vucic, too, could be partly to blame for the conflict at the time, because he was responsible for propaganda.

His boss was Slobodan Milosevic, who had escaped conviction as a war criminal by dying in his prison cell near The Hague.Vucic himself, in his basic attitude, the restoration of Yugoslavia, as a Greater Serbia, certainly did not say goodbye, so why should he deviate from the nationalist goal.

Against this terrible background of the Balkan war and with such a person, who was responsible for propaganda at the time, the still Prime Minister Rama is negotiating an association agreement and, it seems that Rama is even handing over to Vucic the legitimacy for Albania to discuss with the EU. Kosovo is being completely ignored in the process. A simple catastrophe for the stability of the Balkans a betrayal of the Albanians in Kosovo by Mustafa Rama.

A course of action that certainly does not meet with the approval of the Albanian and Kosovar nations and the international community. One could come up with the idea that Rama is guilty of treason, which is after all a criminal offence of the highest order. Crimes against constitutional organs and the constitution are punishable, and can have the quality of high treason and are usually, internationally, judged with at least 10 years imprisonment.

And Serbia?

Henze: Serbia’s head of government Aleksandar Vucic, like Rama, is also a fervent supporter of the EU and its values. Like Rama, he periodically pays homage to the German chancellor with regular declarations of love, praising her humanistic and democratic attitude.  The former propaganda minister of dictator Milosevic, Vucic, also likes to appear as a reconciliation apostle in the Western Balkans. 

His goal is a Greater Serbia. That cannot really be in Albania’s interest, can it?

Serbia is in close partnership with Russia, isn’t it?

Henze: Vucic celebrates his friendly relationship with the Russian president. In Moscow he concluded a fighter plane deal with Putin in the spring, weapons were delivered via Romania in July 2019, where they were stopped, and Russia had to deliver by air.

He regularly has Serbian-Russian military manoeuvres organised, preferably near the border with the hated neighbour Croatia. He is not a friend of NATO. That can’t be in Albania’s best interests either, can it? 

However, I have grave doubts that Vucic is a great friend of Putin. Vucic wants a Greater Serbia and nothing more and nothing less.

Russia and the EU are in a partnership and are in the process of levelling out the conflict in Ukraine, which is a good thing. Russia knows that it needs a stable Europe for its own development and will not embark on nationalist adventures in the Balkans if it is wise.

And Albania:

Henze: Albania is a loyal member of NATO, a true ally of the Western world. Is that still the Albanian government Rama? I have my doubts. The results of Rama’s actions speak a different language, not that of the Albanian people.The close cooperation with Communist China and now with Serbia, serious doubts are now justified as to whether Mr Rama is still a friend of the West.The impression is being created that the Rama government is subordinating itself to the Serbian state, and the Albanian Prime Minister has even entrusted Vucic with negotiating with the EU on this matter. He is constitutionally not allowed to do so. This is an absolute breach of the constitution; it is probably of the quality of high treason.

The Albanian government is handing over the management of negotiations for the Albanian nation to Belgrade on one of the most essential issues of the Albanian state, the question of EU membership/Schengen, and this is something you have to imagine. This is an unbelievable course of action, an essential breach of the constitution, and it affects Albania’s national independence.There was also no consultation on this with the President of Albania, which would have been constitutionally necessary, the EU or the Albanian people. 

That cannot be in Albanias interests either, can it? 

Vucic’s frequent pithy, egoistic remarks to opposition politicians, dissenters and independent media are full of latent but serious threats. Rama and Vuci are very similar in this respect. 

That cannot be in Albania’s interest either, can it? 

But of course in Vuci’s eyes it is anti-Serb propaganda when the massacre in Srebenica is described as genocide. Vucic, who governs post-Yugoslavian Serbia with as much power as before him only like his former boss, Slobodan Milosevic, is the prime example of an authoritarian-populist-nationalist, who this year received the Alexander Nevsky Order of Merit from Putin, for which services did he receive the highest Russian order? Certainly also a motivational achievement for joining the EAEU.On 04. December he met with Putin again in Sotchi, already for the 17th time. In this respect, the renewed meeting with Rama in Tirana fits into a well existing road map of Serbia for the creation of a Greater Serbia.

Do you believe that Serbia will now gain influence in Tirana?

Henze: No. A majority of the Serbian population has been expressing indifference or even rejection of the EU in opinion polls for years. While in Kosovo, for example, 84 per cent, in Albania 93 per cent and in Northern Macedonia over 89 per cent express a positive attitude towards the Union, in Serbia it is only 29 per cent. These are the lowest approval rates ever measured in a candidate country. These results are also remarkable because experience shows that popular approval of the EU often falls after accession.That is a very important difference between the two nations; they have completely different, nation-state objectives.There is no basis for close bilateral cooperation between Albania and Serbia, not to mention the problem with Kosovo. The Albanian nation wants to become a member of the EU and sees itself as part of the Western world and not as an autonomous republic of Serbia.The political goal must therefore now be EU membership and accession to the EU’s Schengen area.

Why is Kosovo not part of this process?

Henze: Serbia does not recognise the borders of Kosovo. It has waged war over Kosovo and lost it. There are still calls at the political level for a bilateral agreement with the neighbouring state of Kosovo, which Serbia has not yet recognised. Actually, such an agreement should already have been reached, but so far not even the agreements with Kosovo, which were already concluded in 2013, have been implemented. Serbia is solely responsible for this and it is against this background that Albanian Prime Minister Rama is now negotiating. Serbia apparently wants to win the Balkan war after all.

But where does Serbia’s rejection of the EU come from? 

If you ask the Serbian President Vucic about this, he points out that a majority of EU states recognized Kosovo, Serbia’s former province, as an independent state ten years ago. 

Indeed, a correct decision by the EU. This recognition has led to peace in the Balkans. Even then, the aim was for all the Balkan countries to become members of the EU as independent nation states.

Serbia still claims to rule over the Western Balkans and sees Kosovo as part of Serbia, Albanians are certainly strangers to Serbia there. The temptation to see the Balkans as a unity is great. But the image is a cliché. 

To lump all the Balkan peoples together is immoral and unjust. Greeks, Albanians, Romanians, Bulgarians – none of these ancient, cultural peoples have attacked their neighbours, they have only defended themselves.

An aggressive, chauvinistic policy is only practiced by Serbia, which we could see very well in the 90’s, it is now to remember the Serb leader Radovan Karadžić Only the massive intervention of NATO, and especially Germany, has led to the restoration of borders and peace.

This is a crucial difference between Serbia and Albania. The Albanian nation wants to become a member of the EU, the Serbian nation does not.  

For this reason, the German Bundestag clearly stated in September 2019 that the existing borders in the Balkans, including the borders of Kosovo, must be respected and that all efforts to the contrary were is not compatible with accession to the EU and would have to lead to a breakdown of the accession negotiations.

So if the Albanian nation wants to become a member of the EU, and this is the case for 93% of the population, there can only be one Schengen in the EU. 

Cooperation with Serbia and Russia will lead to association with these two countries and not with the EU, which will not lead to a future, it will lead to the downfall of the proud Albanian nation.Albania must now work hard to meet the criteria for accession to the EU. 

The Rama government has completely failed in this matter, it is also factually and personally incapable of organising this. there also seems to be no real interest in membership on the part of the Rama government, with one exception, there is interest in EU funding. The Albanian nation must now decide whether it wants to become a member of a Greater Serbia under Russian influence and abandon its thousand-year-old culture and continue to vegetate and lose its youth and children for good, or whether Albania wants to preserve its identity, culture and values, as well as its economic independence and find its future in the EU. 

If this is the case, Albania should organise a new government very quickly. There is no more time for experiments.

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