The Price of Fear

The Price of Fear

Without the slightest understanding of the consequences of last Wednesday night, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn exuberantly congratulated Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha on “respond[ing] to their citizens’ expectations and show[ing] democratic maturity.” “Democratic maturity.” There was nothing of this sort. And citizens “expected” nothing at all […]

When Art Is the Only Administration Left

When Art Is the Only Administration Left

The front page of the cultural supplement of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera today features an enlargement of one of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s doodles, with which he also papered a wall at the current Venice Biennial, curated by COD board member Christine Macel. What is remarkable is that the doodle features Rama’s official […]

EU Commissioner Hahn in Open Letter: “Leaders Will Be Held Accountable” – But to Whom?

EU Commissioner Hahn in Open Letter: “Leaders Will Be Held Accountable” – But to Whom?

In an unexpected and unprecedented move, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn has written an open letter to all Albanian citizens. The letter arrives after the failed elections in Kavaja and at a moment the negotiations between opposition and government have little chance of succeeding. Prime Minister Edi Rama has […]

Mediterranea 18 Fails To Be Apolitical

Mediterranea 18 Fails To Be Apolitical

The last few days, Tirana and Durrës hosted the Mediterranea 18 Young Artists Biennale under the title “History + Conflict + Dream + Failure = HOME.” In spite of the title, which suggests at least some form of critical inspection or introspection (how else could we know we failed?), the concept of the Mediterranea Biennale, […]

Not All Restorations Are “à la Kumbaro”

Not All Restorations Are “à la Kumbaro”

In 2014, I finished the first and only survey of all lapidars (monuments) constructed all over Albania during the communist period, around 700 in total. The results of this project, the Albanian Lapidar Survey, were documented on a blog, video, and publication. Although the project was partially funded by the Ministry of Culture, the data […]

Can Fleckenstein Be a Credible Negotiator?

Can Fleckenstein Be a Credible Negotiator?

Today the negotiators sent by the European Parliament (EP) will arrive in Albania, David McAllister and Knut Fleckenstein. Responding to a call of the Albanian government for the European People’s Party, to which the Democratic Party (PD) is affiliated, to intervene, both negotiators will try to break the stalemate between the government and the opposition regarding […]

EEAS Refuses to Reveal Offers for Vlahutin’s Villa

EEAS Refuses to Reveal Offers for Vlahutin’s Villa

In response to a freedom of information request by Exit.al, the European External Action Service (EEAS) has refused to disclose the offers received by the EU Delegation in Tirana for the purchase of it’s ambassador’s residence. As Exit has reported, the pre-selection procedure for the acquisition of the residence, eventually costing nearly €2 million, produced five […]

Albania Is the Future of Europe

Albania Is the Future of Europe

There is a moment in Adam Curtis’s documentary Bitter Lake in which the narrator (Curtis) talks about the ideals that brought both the Soviets and Americans to Afghanistan: to create a state based on their respective principles and ideologies, to create an ally in the region, to change the country in their likeness. But, Curtis concludes ironically, little did […]