MEPs call on Albanian citizens to stay away from the violent acts

Knut Fleckenstein; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS –  In the light of protests which took place in Tirana on Saturday, EP rapporteur for Albania Knut Fleckenstein and Chair of the EP Committee of Foreign Affairs’ Working Group on Western Balkans Eduard Kukan wrote a letter to Albanian citizens expressing their concerns by serious acts of violence which were seen on the streets in Tirana.

Even though the right to protest is crucial in any democratic society, this can never legitimate violence, states the letter.

In addition, by writing this letter, members of the European Parliament from different political families call on all participants to the protests announced for upcoming days in Tirana, to refrain from all forms of violence and to stay away from such violent events. The call was addressed to all political leaders as well to show responsibility and restraint.

“Our job as Members of the European Parliament is to encourage the progress made by Albania and to support the country on its way towards the European integration. In this respect, we feel the urge to addressing you, the Albanian citizens today. At the same time, we keep calling on all political leaders not to jeopardize the country’s prospects on its European path. Therefore, we count on you, the citizens and civil society to push our common goals”, say MEPs’ letter.

Adding that they do not aim at interfering with the demonstrations. They want to simply recall, that only the democratic institutions and processes, parliamentary dialogue, legal procedures, free and fair elections – can legitimately resolve the serious challenges the Albanian society is experiencing.

“The images we saw last Saturday, could give the wrong impression that Albania is not ready for the opening of the accession negotiations in June this year. Citizens of Albania: As friends of Albania and supporters of its EU integration, we urge you to send out a clear message to the world that Albania is mature to solve its conflicts in a peaceful and democratic way”, MEPs’ conclude.