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European Commission: Releasing Albanian National Theater Report Could Cause “Diplomatic Incident”

European Commission: Releasing Albanian National Theater Report Could Cause “Diplomatic Incident”

In a response to Exit, the European Commission has refused to release its reports on the Special Law for the National Theater, which was later amended because it violated the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the Albanian government and the European Commission.

After the law had been cosmetically touched up by the Rama government, the European Commission threw its full weight behind the “Special Law” for the National Theater, even though the law had been appealed at the Constitutional Court. The Alliance for the Protection of the National Theater considered EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca’s statements in support of the tender procedure “harmful.”

In its response to Exit, the European Commission stated that releasing the reports on the National Theater would “compromise the immense efforts achieved to establish quality international relations with Albania” and “might lead to a diplomatic incident.”

Public disclosure of these strictly confidential political reports and positions of the EU Delegation therein, would undermine the protection of the public interest as regards international relations and compromise the immense efforts achieved to establish quality international relations with Albania. Furthermore, the disclosure would undermine the EU policy objectives in the country in the particular area of public procurement reform. It is in the interest of the Commission to maintain the quality of these established international relations to ensure the orderly progress of the reforms in Albania and advance its core policy objectives in the region.

Secondly, it should also be noted that public disclosure of these reports might lead to a diplomatic incident as the reports in question contain EU’s diplomatic positions and assessments concerning the political situation in Albania which are not destined for public communication. These diplomatic positions were addressed in full confidence by the staff of the EU Delegation in Albania and destined solely to the EU institutions in headquarters.

Furthermore, the European Commission expressed fear about the impact of the reports on the National Theater project, in the context of the “intense and extremely polarised political debates are still ongoing in Albania” and would “put the Commission in a very delicate position and at risk of being used instrumentally in the tense political debates.”

Public disclosure of these documents would reveal internal opinions on questions on which intense and extremely polarised political debates are still ongoing in Albania. This could potentially cause confusion to the public, by placing in the public domain preliminary statements of staff members of the Commission which do not necessarily reflect the final position of the European Union. In addition, such disclosure would put the Commission in a very delicate position and at risk of being used instrumentally in the tense political debates.

Ironically, the statements of the European Commission are continuously “used instrumentally,” most prominently by Prime Minister Edi Rama, who claimed that the Commission had found “no violation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement” with the Special Law for the National Theater.

The outcome of the tender procedure allegedly held for the destruction of the National Theater is still unknown, while all legal deadlines have already passed.

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