In 2014, EU Ambassador Romana Vlahutin took over from former EU Ambassador Hettore Sequi for a 4-year mandate. This mandate is supposed to end in 2018, but sources of Exit with knowledge of the matter have confirmed that the Ambassador Vlahutin is seeking a one-year extension to stay on her post in Albania until 2019.
Few EU ambassadors have in the past sought and received an extension of their term, only a handful in recent history. The official reason of Ambassador Vlahutin’s request for an extension is unknown, but may be related to her ongoing attempt to seek future employment within the EU or international bureaucracy.
Ambassador Vlahutin is one of Croatia’s two politically appointed ambassadors, the other being the EU Ambassador in Tajikistan. Before becoming EU Ambassador to Albania, she was foreign affairs advisor to the President of Croatia since 2010.
In 2015, the Croatian Parliamentary Commission for Conflicts of Interest conducted an administrative investigation of Vlahutin, who was suspected of hiding part of her wealth and falsifying the declaration of her wages and real estate property. Whereas the commission indeed confirmed that Vlahutin had committed fraudulent acts, the commission decided not to take any punitive action as she was no longer paid by Croatia (but rather by the EU).
Ambassador Vlahutin’s position in Albania was tarnished after it became public that the acquisition of her private residence had cost €1.6 million and was situated in a building complex owned by an influential oligarch. Recently, there have been unconfirmed reports that EU anti-fraud agency OLAF has started an investigation into the role of the ambassador and the EU representation in Albania in the acquisition.