In an interview with media outlet Top Channel Albanian ambassador in the Netherlands Adia Sakiqi tried to downplay the news on the report of the Dutch police and prosecution in which they advise to suspend Albania’s visa exemption for the Schengen zone.
In the interview, Ambassador Sakiqi claimed that Albanian media had erroneously translated an article in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf as a “report”:
[De Telegraaf] published an article with the title “Albanian Mafia Spreads Its Tentacles.” What surprised me more is that I find this article translated as report within the Albanian media. In the article it says that there is an internal memo of the police. This is something that normally should exist.
Sakiqi is here factually wrong. The internal police report was first mentioned in the Albanian media on August 19, on the same day as the article in De Telegraaf. Both Dutch and Albanian media showed photos from the leaked report and the passages containing the advice to the Ministry of Security and Justice to investigate the option to suspend the visa exemption.
An image of the cover of the report itself was later posted on Facebook by journalist Vincent Triest.
In the interview, Ambassador Sakiqi furthermore claims that there is no risk for the visa exemption to be suspended and that the Ministry of Security and Justice had confirmed to her that they had not received the report in question:
I contacted the Dutch authorities after reading the article and I was informed by the Ministry of Justice and Security [sic] that they did not receive any report whatsoever.
This is correct, in the sense that the initial news reports on the report explicitly stated that it had not yet been delivered to the Ministry. This was echoed by the official response of Dutch Ambassador Dewi van der Weerd, who stated that the report was still confidential and had not been made public. The photo of the front page of the report, however, clearly shows that it is the “final” version, and has been dated August 3. At some point, this report will therefore end up at the minister’s desk.
Finally Ambassador Sakiqi claimed that she has not received “any official request, any concern” from the Dutch authorities:
There has not been any official request, any concern transmitted officially by the Dutch authorities.
Nevertheless, the Dutch authorities have indicated multiple times that the illegal immigration from Albanians into and through the Netherlands was an issue of concern.
Meanwhile, not a single Albanian or EU public official has responded to the contents of the report: the rapid rise of Albanian crime in the Netherlands, its links with drug cultivation, trafficking, and money laundering, and the concern shown by the Dutch police about these developments. No matter whether in the end the visa exemption will be suspended or not, the facts and concerns expressed in the report still stand and demand an official response.
It is understandable, however, that neither the Albanian nor the EU Delegation in Tirana can say anything sensible. For four years, they have sold the justice reform as the only issue that matters, and now that EU countries are increasingly faced with the miserable failure of the Albanian state to address organized crime and drug trafficking, and the EU Delegation with its own deafening silence on the matter, it is no surprise that all they can do is attack the media.