Tirana, 17 April 2019
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors learned about the Decision of the Low House of the Dutch Parliament of 16 April, where 108 out of 150 MPs from five major political parties voted in favour of the proposal to start the procedures of imposing back the visa regime for the Albanian citizens travelling in the Schengen Area.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors shares the concern expressed by the whole public opinion for this negative development, a setback for one of the greatest achievements of Albanians after the fall of communist dictatorship – the free movement without visas in the Schengen zone.
This Decision does seriously harm the interests of Albanian citizens, the image of Albania and Albanians in Europa and worldwide. It could also serve as an additional argument for all those European political forces that on different accounts and motives are opposed to the opening of the EU membership negotiations.
This decision should sound a note of alarm for all Albanian official structures and make them rapidly address the great damages it has produced.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors notes with great concern the lack of an in-depth analysis regarding this decision of the Dutch Parliament by the responsible Albanian structures. The interpretation of this decision as an hypothetical issue, which allegedly would not occur is equally superfluous and unprofessional. Such a decision, with its serious effects for the image and free movement for Albanians should be associated with a serious and high institutional responsibility, defining also concrete measures to address, reduce and minimise all the problems and their impact in reaching up to this decision.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors requests the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs that, given the priorities of the foreign policy and the protection of the interests of Albanians wherever they are, it should immediately make the necessary demarshes with the Netherlands, its law-enforcement agencies and with the other EU member states, so that this decision would have no further effects and will not be followed by other similar decisions.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors does also express its confidence that the EU Commission, as the final decision making instance will reject this proposal and will abide by the Conclusions of its Report of December 2018, which affirms that Albania complies with the criteria and conditions so that the visa liberalisation for Albanian citizens in the Schengen area be continued.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors underlines that in view of receiving a positive signal this June, the opening of the EU membership negotiations has been and and remains the major priority, both to the benefit of the country and the EU itself.