Martin HenzeDemocracy: the government of the people by the people for the people.
Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varheleyi and EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca have stated that the first intergovernmental conference between Albania and the EU will take place in December. With what balance will Albania be presented at this meeting?
Henze: The Corona crisis and the current political crisis puts the Albanian population before the decision: Future or no future. As a European I come to the conclusion that the current Rama government had 7 years to prepare for the opening of the talks. Today, the Albanian people are facing a shattered pile, not functioning, no functioning economy, democracy, rule of law, a one-party state, massive increase in corruption and mass exodus of young people and an opposition in parliament, not legitimized by the vote, but because the government likes it that way.
I don’t know if this is really clear to all Albanians what is at stake for themselves and their children by the upcoming elections.
Ambassador Soreca himself should pay more attention to what the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the EU nation states have decided in this matter. He sometimes seems to forget his task as EU ambassador. The foreign policy of the EU is a matter for the nation states, thus for the Council of Europe and not for the EU Commission.
There are 15 criteria set by the national parliaments, by the EU Parliament and by the EU Council for Albania, in addition to the Copenhagen criteria of 2014. Unfortunately, the Rama government has not delivered anything. On the contrary, since 2013 Albania has been transformed step by step into a run-down autocracy.
Parliamentary elections in 2017 have been manipulated by members of the ruling party, even Rama is suspected of having participated. In 2019 an illegal local election was held, there are members of parliament, like Hajdari, who were not elected by the people, they have no legitimacy but vote on constitutional amendments.
The parliament with 120 people, required by the constitution 140, is not correctly staffed and there is an illegal opposition in the parliament, which was not elected but sits in the parliament because Rama likes it so much, an unacceptable state of affairs, isn’t it?
There is massive political influence by the organization Rama on the occupation of the constitutional court, why would they accept a free court that Would mean consent to one’s own suicide.
Rama’s SP organization has filled all state leadership positions in Albania and is thus solely responsible for corruption. The electoral agreement of June 5, 2020, which was concluded under the protection of the USA and the EU, has now been terminated de facto and de iure by the organization Rama, which has thrown it into the dustbin of history, the constitution is being permanently broken and the press is being regulated in the interest of the Rama administration, thus further manipulation of the parliamentary election 22021 is being institutionally prepared.
The attempt to implement an anti-democratic ban on electoral coalitions before a democratic election leads to a real constitutional and legislative emergency. Even in a very democratic Germany we have of course left the parties the freedom to form coalitions, as you can see very well in my party of the CDU/CSU, which of course formed a coalition before the election.
In Albania, the prohibition of coalitions before the elections, which the autocratic government of Rama and friends, like Hajdari, wanted, has the consequence that votes are lost if these parties want to form a coalition after the elections. An absurd demand, the voice of the Albanian voter is not taken seriously by Rama and his comrades and the combatants.
Since no functioning constitutional court has existed for three years, the constitution cannot be changed. If this should be done nevertheless, it would result in the facts of a heavy constitutional offence. The government and the dysfunctional parliament would be enemies of the constitution. A pattern that is typical, like the development of a dictatorship.
So, as a result, it can be attested that the government of Rama and the illegal deputy Hajdari have shown that they can not decline the words: democracy, rule of law and future for the Albanian people, they only think of their own pocket. For us Europeans these are not negotiating partners, so the accession of Albania to the EU will not happen.
Balance, is the Albanian nation treated fairly?
Henze: Yes, we Europeans and especially we Germans, but also the USA, have tried again and again to help the Albanian nation. We have invested hundreds of millions of Euros. Now it is time for the Albanian people to elect a reasonable government, it cannot go on like this.
How is this indication to be understood?
Henze: Only, unfortunately, a lot of money has trickled away in the corrupt government administration of the organization Rama Balla and Veliaj, Hajdari, they have occupied all the decisive positions in the government and in the municipalities, therefore they alone are responsible for the corruption.
We should make it clear and explicit that the Albanian economy is not corrupt per se, it is basically being blackmailed into granting advantages to these ladies and gentlemen in the Rama government administration. It is not the Albanian economy that is corrupt but the executive of the Rama organization. Whoever does not play the game of this organization has a problem.
But, and let me add to this, the question you are asking is for the Albanian nation, but this question is also for us Europeans. Membership in the European Union is like a marriage. The partners have to fit to each other, they don’t always have to have the same opinion, but they can also argue and have conflicts. However, the core of the partnership is to be understood as a triad, it consists of a common value structure and legal understanding, we call this democracy and rule of law as well as a clear orientation towards the West, i.e. membership in NATO. Furthermore, the comprehensive integration in the European Single Market and as a final feature: the partnership is exclusive and permanent. So, a united Europe, the democratic nation states.
I think that the talks with North Macedonia should start in 2020 and with Albania when the conditions for admission by the Albanian government are fulfilled. This also includes the accusation against Rama on suspicion of election manipulation.
It will therefore be the task of the new government in April 2021, led by the current united opposition, under the leadership of Lulzim Basha, who is very well accepted by us in Europe.
Mr. Henze, you call for a “New Deal” to heal Albania from the crisis. The New Deal was once the US response to the devastating crisis of 1929. Is the situation in Albania that bad?
The causes and circumstances were different then. Albania has many problems, Albania is in an existential crisis that is far worse than just the US economic crisis of 1929. Today the world is much more interconnected, but the possibilities to fight the crisis are also better if a government is able to do so. The Rama government shows when I look at the results of 7 years of activity: Mass exodus, increase in unemployment, corruption, human trafficking, manipulation of elections, no pandemic control, abolition of the rule of law, no foreign investments. Nobody doubts that a recession is imminent, maybe even a depression like 1929, but it is also about the future of the nation.
Then why do you allude to it?
Henze: In Albania about 45 % of the economic output is gone, so, the situation is very serious. Albania needs strategies to rebuild the destroyed economic structure and to heal the country’s political divisions. There are three camps after all. Firstly, the political faction of the Albanian people, the Albanian economy and then the corrupt government of Rama. Albania wants to become a member of the EU, right? With the current government and the illegal representatives in parliament, this is not possible, the results show it. Albania needs a fundamental change, a New Deal, and that can only be achieved through elections and the complete replacement of the incompetent and corrupt members of the Rama government, and also through new elections in the municipal sector. The United Opposition has the concepts and the will as well as the support of the European people’s parties for this New Deal. The virus in Albania and the economic collapse of Albania must be fought with all available means, as is happening in many countries. At the same time, the government must protect as many jobs and companies as possible from the consequences of the forced standstill and attract new start-ups and international companies to Albania as a business location.
How do you explain that Rama and his friends say: We cannot afford it, we have no money for the health system, for clinics, for testing, for universities, for free education of young people.
Henze: If someone says that, then he either has no idea how money works, he is stupid or he is lying. I don’t know which is worse. The stupidity of Mr. Rama is that he relies on such stupid people in his government, also the appetite for money of these gentlemen, a disgrace for Albania. But, there is a third possibility: power always invites abuse of power. We are currently seeing this with the Albanian government, it has abolished the rule of law, freedom of the press is restricted, the parliament is dysfunctional, economic, social and financial policies that are supposed to secure Albania’s future do not exist, but they do exist with the United Opposition. The united opposition has experts and a very good program, it will work, we Europeans are on their side.
What is the next step?
Henze: My answer is: Either the Albanians believe in democracy and have the will and the resolution to become members of the European Union or not. If the Albanians believe in democracy, then I don’t see why the voters are not enlightened about what a desolate government it currently has and what this government is gambling away, what will happen if they don’t bring about a political change now, how the monetary system actually works instead of deceiving them. At the moment the Rama government is doing exactly that, it is deceiving and playing theater, a bad theater. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Albanians, especially young people, have fled in recent years, Albanians are starving or dying, as they are now, because there is no functioning health infrastructure. We should also realize that the average life expectancy in Albania is about 72 years, two hundred kilometers away, in Italy, 84 years, Italy is not far away, the difference in the death rate is not due to the fact that the food or water in Albania is worse. No, it is because the Albanian government of Rama is simply incapable of implementing good economic and social policies, they cannot.
Democracy without transparency is not possible, is it?
Henze: Yes, that is so. In states like Albania there is a Nacro government in power, which has dysfunctionalized the rule of law and the parliament. This is why freedom of the press and freedom of opinion is such an important human right. We in Europe see freedom of the press as a fourth power, next to the judiciary, executive and parliament. If the Albanian voters are informed and consciously decide for a new government, I have no problem with it, it is necessary.
But I have the impression that the Rama government is deliberately keeping people in the dark about the economic connections and the tragedy of the Albanian economy, hence the government’s attempt at the beginning of the year to restrict the freedom of the press in order to massively distract from its own failures and corruption. The united opposition, its president Meta and the Venice Commission reacted brilliantly, congratulating and preventing this further breach of the constitution by the Rama government and the illegal parliament. As Europeans, however, we also expect that the Albanian people will now also hold the constitution-breaking government accountable.
Is there a chance to get out of the Corona crisis as fast as we got into it and a way out of the economic crisis of Albania?
Henze: Unfortunately not with the existing Rama government. It is currently the primary problem in Albania, it is the real corona virus, if I may put it bluntly. Debts and corruption are on the rise, the rule of law is approaching zero, the interest burden is increasing, foreign investors are scarce, there are no tourists, income is falling. They have to get out of this debt spiral. The current government is not making it, it has no strategy, it is threatened with national bankruptcy and the growth of the shadow economy. The economic and social consequences of the virus will keep them busy much longer than the virus itself. At least this year and next. This crisis will be harder and more destructive than the financial crisis of 2008, and the economic cycle will not have a V-shape, graphically speaking, but rather a U in Albania. And they would have to do everything to ensure that it does not take on an L-shape, i.e. that they do not get out of the trough at all. Even before the corona crisis, the economy in Albania was already in a downturn, further aggravated by the earthquake in 2019. The situation is very dramatic, in the case of corona infections even fatal. The drama of the situation is caused solely by the wrong policy of the Rama government, Rama and Balla are the perpetrators, not the virus.
Due to the crisis many are additionally threatened by poverty in Albania. Shouldn’t it be about social issues instead of the economy in Albania?
Henze:It is very serious, the future of the youth Albania in Albania is close to zero. Social cohesion should therefore be the main focus in Albania now. Inequalities are threatening to grow further because people with assets are better able to protect themselves from the virus and its consequences than the weaker ones. Half of the members of the middle class in Albania fall out of the already much too small middle class through unemployment after only a few months of Corona. This is why, for example, the German model of short-time work is so valuable. Behind the Corona crisis lurks the economic crisis. If it produces too many losers, the already high level of dissatisfaction increases further, and the youth, as we say in Germany, vote with their feet, they emigrate. The economic, medical and social crisis are in a symbiotic relationship. The problems cannot be viewed and solved in a linear fashion. The problem in Albania is too complex for that.
Germany and other rich countries are spending many billions to combat the crisis. Is that enough?
Henze:Yes, we are currently experiencing phenomenal economic growth in Germany. The concepts we developed from March to May, which was a demanding task, are having a robust and efficient effect. We in Germany and in Brussels are very proud of this, a super achievement by Europeans. However, there are economic sectors on which we must now focus more seriously. The most important signal was that central banks like the European Central Bank are pumping money into the market. The financial markets have calmed down, fiscal policy has taken effect. Unfortunately, there were no efficient economic programs in Albania, the medical pandemic control is a disaster, the lock down of Mr. Rama, accompanied by the driving up of tanks in Dures, has not brought anything positive in Albania, only harmed the people and the economy. The government has also not used the lock down to prepare for the time after the lock down and how to get out of the lock down. The schools and public institutions were not well prepared. The gastronomy was not well equipped, that we now bring Albania even more deaths and the economy and therefore the income of the Albanian families will suffer the more. Unfortunately, it turns out that the Albanian government’s failure to act and the dysfunctional parliament will result in additional deaths of Albanians who, with good management, should not have died.
Mr Henze, you compare our Albanian monetary system with a cinema box office. How is that to be understood?
Henze: Well, the Rama government seems to believe that the Albanian state must first collect money before it can spend it. That credits and taxes are necessary to make expenditures. In fact it is the other way around. First the government spends money, then it collects taxes. It is like in the cinema: there the tickets are not collected first before they are given away. The state simply does not need our money. If you decided to pay your taxes in cash with old, used bank bills, the government would issue you a payment receipt and then throw the whole pile of money into the shredder. If the employee on duty is friendly, he might even thank you for your contribution.
The united opposition has an interesting tax concept, they want to introduce a flat tax, a reduced tax rate. Why pay taxes if the state does not need our money at all?
Henze: Yes, the economic and social concept of the opposition is goal-oriented and will bring about a complete and necessary change in society. A rest button is being pressed. Taxes have a regulatory function. The state wants goods and services to be offered. It wants food and schools, public health facilities, a legal system. Someone has to offer these things and in return accept money as a means of payment. So how do you get people to ask for the currency of a country and then buy from them? Instead of raiding other countries and bringing slaves home, there is tax liability today. At the micro level, the state thus creates a genuine incentive to offer its own labor force. So taxes are not money per se, but the fact that people are looking for paid work in order to be able to pay the taxes. But under no circumstances is anything “paid” with it. So now we have to rethink and the concepts are available.
The current administration of Rama has been in power for 7 years, how do you evaluate their economic competence?
Henze: It is important in analyses to pay attention to the results and not to the propaganda. The results of the Rama administration lead us to the current state of emergency and to the lowest life expectancy of people in Europe as well as to a mass exodus of young people that has been taking place for years, i.e. the future of the Albanian nation. Yes, we see only backward-looking thinking in Rama and his comrades, and in the illegal opposition in parliament as well. Economy is the opposite of religion. In economy is doing something, the determining principle, i.e. goal-oriented problem solving. In truth, only the Rama organization profits from Rama’s government policy, no other Albanian. As an economic expert, how would you assess the economic situation in Albania? It is very, very critical. The situation is fragile and any further hesitation in implementing political change will lead Albania into the abyss. Apart from the dangerous anti-democratic actions of the Rama and Balla government and an illegitimate, dysfunctional parliament, which is nevertheless bringing about constitutional changes.
The core of Albania’s economic collapse lies in the failure of the Rama government. This leads, for example, to a significant increase in drug trafficking to Europe and Russia since the Rama government took over in 2013, not to mention a significant increase in money laundering. Money laundering is used to finance international terrorism, and Rama bears political responsibility for this. The Albanian government is therefore politically partly responsible for this. And this is not so much cyclical as structural. In the coming months, we will experience an economic decline of unprecedented proportions in Albania, and the government is making mistakes in the area of medical pandemic control, and I cannot see economic reconstruction programs unless change comes. The Rama government has failed completely, it shines through economic and sociopolitical incompetence. There is no alternative, the opposition must appeal to the government, its experts and the modular programs we have developed with them will give Albania a future again, and very quickly. A democracy thrives on change, Rama knows that too.
What are the causes of the increasing debts of the Albanian state?
Henze: There are several reasons. Firstly, there are structural reasons. There is the massive corruption by the government. We should just make it clear that the Rama government has occupied all state functions in the last 8 years and now also in 2019, through the illegal local elections, all top local government positions. So when we talk about corruption in Albania, we are talking about the structure: state – private, so we are only talking about the governing party, so the structure Rama, that is a corrupt structure, there is no other in Albania.
Corruption has many faces in Albania: the minister, family members or the mayor who, for 10-30% of the project volume, ensures that the contractor receives his contract, his building permit, the doctor who only takes good care of the patients whose families pay an extra fee, the judge who is bribed by a government organization or a person and gives a lenient judgement, the government politician who provides good jobs for his friends and relatives, the entrepreneur who receives his contracts through bribery, the list could go on for a long time. Corruption is a catastrophe in Albania, it has increased significantly under Rama, is coupled with drug trafficking and money laundering and has terrible consequences – on the economic as well as the political and social level. Through the corruption of the Rama organization, Albanian tax money and international aid is wasted instead of being used to finance sustainable development in Albania.
Private interests of the Organization Rama are enforced – to the detriment of the Albanian people and the future of the Albanian nation. This for 8 years. The consequence is that money is missing and the state has to take out additional loans, i.e. it has to take on additional debt, so that services can be provided by the Albanian state at all. Corruption hinders a sustainable development in Albania. Corruption results in public money never reaching the country and public resources being wasted. Companies are blackmailed and thus criminalized by the corrupt structure.
Ultimately, therefore, corruption inhibits the political, economic and social development of the country. This is primarily the Albanian Republic’s systemic failure, that is, the dysfunctionality of the rule of law and parliament for over three years, as well as the absolute incapacity of the Rama government in matters of financial, economic and social policy. On the other hand, it is misinvestment that generates operational losses, such as the purchase of an own airline and the expansion of the airport in South Albania, the faulty organization of PPP contracts whether in school construction, road or health sector or even the illegal closure of a TV station, where the Albanian state had to pay 100 million Euros to the owner, an opponent of Rama. How many clinics and schools could have been built in Albania for 100 million Euros alone, a disgrace.
On the one hand, Rama’s policies Is this economic crisis the result of incompetence or corruption?
Henze: have created a considerable structural debt, characterized by long-term financing gaps that persist beyond the economic cycle. They represent a permanent discrepancy between government spending and the revenues it generates. To calculate this structural deficit, cyclical and financial transactions are deducted from new debt. This structural new debt must be limited to a maximum of 0.35% in relation to nominal gross domestic product. I cannot see at present that the Albanian government of Rama is abiding by this restriction. The measures introduced by the government communicated figures are problematic, a verification of the figures cannot be made at present. Structural debt reveals the fiscal sins of the Albanian government Rama’s past. It is difficult to eliminate structural debt because a large portion of expenditures is long-term. They include long-term payment obligations in the form of interest payments, personnel expenses, PPPs and bonds. Taking on further debt in this state and relying on the deficit-spending system to stimulate the economy and increase production capacity, which stimulates overall economic demand and could generate a symmetrical economic cycle, so that deficits that then arise are balanced by surpluses, may lead to success in Germany, but not in Albania. Albania is basically bankrupt, and no deficit spending system can help. Politically responsible persons: The government of Rama, Balla and his combatants.
What exactly can go wrong?
Henze: For example, the fact that the state debt, as shown in the statistics, is often only half the truth, usually only a small part of the real burden. For example, the dimension of the entitlement that pensioners and employees of the Albanian state, who have municipal structures to future tax revenues, have is absolutely underestimated. Finally, most social systems are debt-like in the sense that the state takes money from the working population with the promise to pay it back with interest when they are old. This is also the case in Albania. The Rama government is currently unable to keep this promise; for example, it finances all state wages through a factoring system.
What does this mean?
Henze: The tax claims of the future will be sold, and in recent years this has been used to finance salaries. Now tax revenues are falling, ad hoc and massively. As a result, this system of public financing no longer works. So Albania increases its loans on the bond market, at very high interest rates. Albania slides with it into national bankruptcy, in the end the Albanian people will lose all their savings. It turns out that the Albanian government Rama has no solution for the current problems.
What is the problem? The state can adjust the interest rate depending on the capital market interest rate.
Henze: You see, on average the industrialized countries are currently spending around eight percent of their economic output on pensions, in Italy and Greece as much as 16 percent. In fact, future taxes in Albania, which are earmarked for the payment of pensions, exceed future taxes earmarked for the payment of debts many times over. The solution would be a solid economic and social program, more growth, therefore more tax revenues and consumption. But, for this they need a change in the country’s leadership. The current government, as we understand it, does not have the necessary expertise.
The real risks of debt are hidden in Albania?
Henze: Yes, and in addition to that, many of the preachers and propagandists of Rama’s ruling party, and there are a lot of them, in Albania, in Berlin and Brussels, mistakenly assume that the current crisis will follow a similar pattern as the past one. That the international community will help again and that the interest rates on the capital market will fall in the next economic shock. The history of crises teaches that this is a frivolous, even dangerous assumption. As we see it now in Albania. Therefore, economic reforms are needed now. Only a change of government can help Albania. The sovereign, the Albanian people must react now. Not the Europeans, USA, Turkey or China can help there, the Albanians must clarify now their domestic political topic and fast.
Not only the debts of Albania are too high, the balance sheet of the state bank seems to be inflated. Are we even equipped for the current crisis?
Henze: That is indeed a problem. Albania’s central bank has no room for maneuver. Fiscal and economic policy must make things right in this crisis – one more reason to create room for maneuver here. If you look at the current government, my confidence is at zero, there are absolute failures in the government and in the Albanian parliament, they can make applications for subsidies to international institutions and make propaganda, but they have no ideas, strategies, solutions such as how to eliminate the Albanian crisis. This is now the time of experts and experienced politicians, no more time for experiments.
How do you generally assess the crisis management of the state bank and the government since the outbreak of the pandemic?
Henze:They have either hardly acted at all and if they have reacted, then too late or wrong. Without the massive interventions of the EU in recent years, the crisis would have reached a completely different dimension and Albania would have been bankrupt long ago. Nevertheless, the Rama government is not taking the responsibility it currently bears seriously.
Constitutionally, they are expected to take care of social justice, the rule of law and economic policy. Rama’s inaction is problematic: It ultimately explains the chaos that now exists.
What other dangers do you see in Albania?
Henze: In my opinion, the increasing differences between rich and poor, demographic change and the associated mass exodus of the young Albanian population represent a major challenge. The middle class in Albania is too small and a developing society needs young, well-educated people to start families in Albania,
Rama promised the Albanians apparently easy solutions in 2013 and 2017. These awaken great hopes, especially among the poorer part of the Albanian population. In many cases, however, these solutions are never implemented, which ultimately leads to great disappointment and frustration. They feel cheated of their future and rightly so. In addition to growing dissatisfaction, the impression is stabilizing that the Rama government’s commitment is directed against the people and against minorities. This one-party state means that the different opinions of individual citizens are lost. The feeling that diversity of opinion is irrelevant in Albania ultimately results in increasing political disenchantment and flight from Albania. The United Opposition, together with us, the partners from the European People’s Parties, has in recent months designed practice-oriented modules in the economic and social sector, which will be implemented very quickly to the advantage of the Albanian population when the government takes over. In our opinion, Albania has the potential to become the Switzerland of the Balkans, you just have to want it and do it.
So what can be done?
Henze: Two things, among others: instruments must be implemented that reduce the current level of corruption step by step. First, corruption is partly poverty-related. In the case of poverty-related corruption, state and private sector salaries must be increased; state personnel in particular should simply be paid a higher salary and possibly state employees should also be given employment guarantees, so that their motivation to receive an additional salary so that the family can survive is neutralized. Corresponding concepts have been developed in the opposition.
On the other hand, in terms of regulatory policy, the penalties for government-related corruption in particular should be raised to a much higher level than has been the case in Albania to date, and a doubling of penalties is acceptable. Deterrence must increase massively and robustly, not only pressure from the police and courts, but especially from companies and their owners, as well as politicians and administrative officials. It must be clear to all commercial enterprises: Yes. We can do business, we don’t have to pay anything extra and the state side must know that we cannot demand black money, we get a decent salary from the Albanian state.
It is not so complicated. The German entrepreneurs make fantastic turnovers and have become the third largest economy in the world in the last 70 years, without much corruption. So, that works also in Albania.
Very interesting, but how do you think Albania will develop economically?
Henze: In the last 8 years Rama and his government have always said: First come the taxes, then the expenditures. But in the end, there were higher taxes and the expenditures were reduced by the amount of corruption, and loans were taken out, so people did not like it. First the money is spent by the state or the central bank, then taxes can be paid with it or government bonds can be issued. Because the money to pay taxes or buy government bonds can only come from the state or its representatives.
Aren’t you worried about higher government spending, after a political turnaround in April 2021, when taxes will be lowered and more jobs created, even if the inflation rate rises in return?
Henze: I don’t believe that. Inflation affects everyone, unemployment affects many people in Albania, especially young people. So a minority will be against such a policy, but the majority will not. People would quickly vote out a government that drives up inflation. I have been in business since the mid-nineties, and as a rule high inflation rates are not due to high government spending but to other factors.
Which ones, for example?
Henze: In Argentina, Mexico, corruption and the shadow economy play the decisive role, as they do in Albania. Corruption must be eliminated in Albania. The Rama government is politically responsible for corruption, so the government must go. Then, with the new government of the united opposition, a complete restructuring and change in economic and social policy will begin. It will be the reset button to press. Albania has no more time for experiments. With the concept of the opposition low taxes are introduced for all in Albania, a social and educational policy is organized, which makes the middle class of the Albanian society massively larger and thus more democratic.
Albania needs many well educated Albanians for the upcoming growth, that is the future of Albania. Albania needs a broad and well educated middle class, without which an effective economy cannot be created. There will be an intensive support of the families, monthly children – money, for example, as in Lithuania, in the amount of 19 €, the IT, tourism and agricultural industry, everything is feasible and realizable. A dual education system should be organized according to the German model, for this purpose we had already organized a congress in Tirana together with the DP at the beginning of 2019. As I have already mentioned elsewhere, Albania has the potential to become the Switzerland of the Balkans, it just has to want it and therefore choose the right government.
The existing government of Rama and the representatives in the parliament are not considered to have an intelligent economic and social policy?
Henze: No, Rama is the generalized global risk par excellence, in the Balkans and for the future of Albania: no one knows what he wants, no one knows what comes to his mind next, no one knows if he is really healthy, no one knows if he knows what he wants. He seems to think only of himself, he and his friend Balla, Veliaj and Hajdari,are no democrats. But depending on who wins, I assume the united opposition, this would mean a long-term political turnaround – future for Albania, membership in the EU, economic growth in Albania, more jobs for Albanian workers. The European people’s parties support the DP.
The only economic model of the Rama government is borrowing for investments. What dangers does such a model hold for a state?
Henze: If austerity does not make political sense and inflation is not economically possible in Albania at the moment, then Albania is threatened with national bankruptcy. A Japanese solution, the debts are parked in the balance sheet of the central bank, in Japan the national debt is over 200 %. Japan has been doing this for decades, unfortunately Albania cannot realize it like this, it does not have the economic power of Japan. We need in
Albania a combined strategy of action. After 30 years, a fundamental change in economic and social policy must take place for the benefit of the Albanian nation.
President Ilir Meta has set the date for parliamentary elections at April 25, 2021. What would be the consequences of Edi Rama’s victory in a third term of office?
Henze: Let me say this once as a European and entrepreneur, your President, whatever is communicated about him, is doing a very good job, a real patriot in the good sense, he is trying to protect the Albanian constitution, and in doing so he has his oath, which he swore, completely in mind to protect the Albanian state and the Albanian nation. Also the united opposition is doing a very good job, we trust them to give Albania a future again, for all, rich and poor, small and big, weak and strong.
But if there is no change, yes, Albania will sink into chaos, the youth of Albania will leave the country for good, the Albanian nation as we know it now will no longer exist in a few years, a real tragedy and real loss.
Mr. Henze, thank you very much for the interview