French Ambassador Says June 30 Albanian Elections Were ‘Curious’, Scolds Western Diplomats

French Ambassador Says June 30 Elections Were ‘Curious’, Scolds Western Diplomats
Ambassador of France to Albania, Christina Vasak

The French Ambassador to Albania, Christina Vasak, stated that the June 30 elections were “curious local elections”. She added that Albanians’ trust in institutions is declining and that “in no way are [foreign] diplomats [in Albania] to make judgments or replace competent authorities.”

Vasak is the first Western diplomat to question the process of June 30 local elections held by the ruling Socialist Party in violation of presidential decree cancelling the date.

On Saturday, at an event commemorating the national day of France, Ambassador Vasak focused her speech on Albania’s path ahead and the high numbers of youth leaving the country.

“Where is Albania heading for and where is its youth leaving for? These are the questions I would like to raise publicly, a few days after the strange local elections,” she addressed her audience at the opening of her speech.

On the question of why are Albanian youth leaving the country, Ambassador Vasak quoted Prime Minister Edi Rama, who had stated earlier that “there is nothing more natural than wanting to explore the rest of Europe and the world, to study, work and live in another country.”

“Sure, but why is it that many youth want to leave for good?” she asked, following with a quote by President Meta who had called the emigration of youth “an exodus”.

Vasak answered that, whilst Albanians are confident of their country’s future in the EU, their trust in Albanian institutions is declining.

“Building the rule of law […], where [there is] no impunity, without complacency, is something Albanians agree upon […] But isn’t trust in institution fading?”

In what appeared to be a message to Western diplomats in Albania, Vasak stated:

“Diplomats are here to understand, support and go along [with Albanians], but in no way are they here to make judgments or replace competent authorities. This must be said.”

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