Prime Minister of Albania

Speech made to the Assembly

Tuesday, 4 April 2000

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to have the opportunity to speak to you on this day, which marks the approach of the fifth anniversary of Albania’s accession to the Council of Europe. However, I wish to emphasise that co-operation with the Council – the oldest European organisation championing democracy and human rights – dates back to before 1995, as cooperation was established between the Albanian Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly in 1991.

I thank you once again for the interest shown towards my country and my government, as well as the interest shown in our democratic and institutional developments. I am grateful for the opportunity to be present here to outline our most recent developments and efforts, and our resolve to proceed.

Today, Albania – and the government I have the honour to head – is totally involved in the process of democratic transformation. The country has achieved multi-dimensional progress, the most salient achievements being respect for human rights, both civil and political; respect for the rights of minorities; cultural diversity; linguistic pluralism; and freedom and cooperation among various religious communities.

We have put in place a functioning state based on the principle of the rule of law. On that foundation lies the new constitution, which clearly defines the separation of the various powers, the independence of the judiciary, decentralisation of power at a local level, the encouragement of a private media and many other things. Significant steps have been undertaken with regard to economic recovery and build-up.

Such steps are closely linked to the stability in the country, the rule of law, the fight against corruption and an active role for our foreign policy in the framework of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, the general economic improvement of the country and the adoption and implementation of relevant legislation. These create the proper ground for the government to have clear and concrete perspectives for development.

We are committed to conducting the upcoming local elections in a free and fair manner and we will not permit such elections to create rifts and to be an excuse for division. Therefore, we are co-operating closely with the international community, particularly the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe, to find consensus on a few pending issues.

However, we note with regret that the major opposition party seems to lack such a will and defies the constitution. Its representatives have attended some of our meetings with the OSCE and the Council of Europe and we hope for their continued participation.

Law enforcement and strengthening the rule of law remain high on the agenda of my government. The fight against corruption and illegal trafficking and the strengthening of the judiciary and the police along the lines agreed upon with our international partners continues with great determination.

Recently we adopted a package of laws aimed at reforming the police force. Following the adoption last November of the law on state police, which finally marks its separation from politics, we are currently working to strengthen police co-operation among the countries of the region to increase efficacy in the fight against organised and cross-border crime. We have achieved important results and, in 1999, there was a sharp decrease in crimes committed.

With regard to corruption – still a major challenge for the entire region, Albania included — we have focused our attention on two aspects; namely the fight against corruption in the national and regional frameworks. By the latter, we mean co-operation with the countries of the region, not to mention adherence to a series of European conventions and agreements. Of course, this entails the efficient implementation of obligations stemming from those conventions.

As the chairman of the government programme against corruption, I am aware of my specific obligations and I am committed to fight to the very end against corruption. However, the fight against corruption is not a task simply for the police, the courts or the government alone. It must encompass all of society, with the government carrying a specific responsibility.

Albania’s strategic goal is to strengthen ties with the European Union and Nato, with the long-term aim of becoming a member of those organisations. We can achieve that by the consistent implementation of reforms, the modernisation of state and society and a continuing policy of reliable and predictable partnerships with the international community.

In this respect, I would like to single out the fact that, during the last few months, we have worked hard to achieve the main targets of Albania’s integration into Europe and the Euro-Atlantic structures. In our relations with the European Union, essential developments have been achieved. Late last month in Brussels, I officially handed over Albania’s status report. I hope that, by the end of this year, we will be able to start the negotiation of an association and stabilisation agreement with the EU, We are fully dedicated to honouring our commitments.

Bilateral relations with Nato have witnessed new and important developments following the Kosovo crisis. With regard to the membership action plan, we are now in the phase of consultation and we are accomplishing step by step the requirements set forth by the organisation.

The Albanian Government is fully committed to continuing reforms to the legal and judicial system. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the contribution that the Council of Europe and the European Commission have made, through the action plan, to the reform of the judiciary and the legal system in Albania. In this framework, there have been some major achievements related to the independence and efficacy of the judiciary. These will definitely help to recover its lost credibility.

The Government of Albania has focused much attention on the expansion of the progress of structural reform in the basic areas of governance. Important progress has been made in the framework of the joint action plan between Albania, the Council of Europe and the European Commission to carry out further reforms in the field of justice.

However, we are aware that democratic, economic and social prosperity is intimately linked with the entire development of the region and, in particular, with the stability and strengthening of relations with and among neighbouring countries. For that reason, Albania gave full support from the very beginning to the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, which we believe offers a new framework for the stabilisation and development of Southeastern Europe. The Stability Pact promotes democracy, economic development and security which, in the end, will enhance the integration of the countries of the region into the Euro-Atlantic structures. However, we believe that strengthening our internal policies and institutions is a prerequisite to using the opportunities offered by the Stability Pact properly. The Government of Albania believes that the active participation of the Council of Europe in the three round tables of the pact – in particular table one on democracy, and table three on human rights – is vital to the countries of the region.

The Government of Albania has fully supported the commitments of the international community for the stabilisation of the situation in Kosovo embodied in Security Council Resolution 1244. As you are aware, some of the major challenges the international community is facing in Kosovo include the establishment of a secure environment for the return of all displaced persons, confidence building to ensure multi-ethnic cohabitation, restoration of law and order, creation of self- governing democratic institutions pending a final political settlement, and so forth.

I believe that the obstacles to the free return of refugees, regardless of their ethnic origin, and the efforts ethnically to cantonise Kosovo – in particular the latest events in Mitrovica – are diametrically opposed to the above-mentioned principles. The recent vicious circle of violence in Mitrovica is beyond doubt a consequence of the policy followed by the regime in Belgrade, which aims at destabilising and questioning all that has been achieved so far in Kosovo. Therefore, we deem it important that the international community maintain the embargo on Milosevic’s regime. Otherwise, as he is a dangerous liability, he will be reinvigorated and his grip on power will be strengthened.

The processes are as one and are inseparable, and the goals can be achieved only through a serious commitment by all countries of the region, as well as by the international organisations. Albania’s regional policy is characterised and based on the philosophy of good neighbourliness. To that end, we are co-operating closely with the governments of Greece, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Bulgaria to identify projects of mutual regional impact. We are paying particular heed to relations with the democratic forces in Montenegro.

Recently, the Albanian Parliament set up an ad hoc committee to assist in the implementation of the Stability Pact. The pact is a post-conflict healing process and therefore it should maintain a certain balance among countries in the region. It is a well-known fact that Albania inherited the worst infrastructure compared with other countries. It also bore the major brunt of the Kosovo humanitarian crisis, the consequences of which are now being felt. Hence it is vital that Albania is supported in the distribution of funds. In this respect, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the donor countries that endorsed Albania’s projects in the last financing conference in Brussels, late last month.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are of the opinion that the Council of Europe is a political organisation of general competence, which is contributing and will continue to contribute to the future consolidation of the region. The role of the Organisation in the post-conflict era in relation to other organisations consists of a series of major tasks encompassing the establishment of democratic institutions, protection of human rights, assistance to refugees and activities in the field of local democracy, the judiciary, civil society, the media and other areas. Such activities are implemented both through providing expertise and through the office of the Council of Europe in Pristina, Kosovo. In this framework, we appreciate the invaluable role that the Council of Europe is playing in the accomplishment of the tasks of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.

The Government of Albania believes that the Council of Europe is vital in Southeastern Europe, in particular its contribution to the establishment of a constitutional framework, the development of a democratic culture, cultural heritage and so forth. These are the main pillars of the programme of the Organisation for stability in the region and they ensure the protection of human rights for all citizens. This contribution becomes more significant if we want to avoid future conflicts. In this context, the role of the Assembly is vital.

Alongside the consolidation of state structures, the Government of Albania has taken concrete steps to fulfil the duties set forth by various international organisations including, of course, the Council of Europe. The signing of Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which abolishes the death penalty, marks a sea-change in our legislation and, what is more, it is important for changing our mentality. Nevertheless, I want to underline the fact that it has not been easy for us to take such a step and to observe our commitment, taking into account the developments my country has been through in the past. But, in our judgment, capital punishment gives a false sense of security to the public. Worst of all, playing God in this way has no conceivable moral basis. Much remains to be done – a civilised state, to deserve its name, must uphold, not violate, the sanctity of human life.

With regard to the government’s programme and the implementation of its priorities, we have resolved to go ahead with democratic, legal, institutional and economic reforms. Permit me to express my deep appreciation for the enormous support offered by the Council of Europe and other European organisations in this regard. The accession of Albania to the Council of Europe Development Fund, the establishment of the state publication centre and of the magistrate’s school, the judicial police, support with drafting the organic law for the Ministry of Justice, the efforts to adjust Albanian legislation to make it compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights – which is in fact one of the priorities of our mutual co-operation – and the programme for democratic stability in Southeastern Europe, approved in May 1999 in Budapest, are some of the major areas of our co-operation that are bearing fruit now. This process of cooperation has enabled us to achieve the priorities set forth in our programme, thus facilitating the way to Albania’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Obviously we have a long way to go and these are long-term objectives which will require strong commitment and perseverance on our part.

Before concluding, I would like to emphasise that we are working hard to improve the image and perception that others have of Albania and to show that the Albania that we want to build is a European Albania. We are aware of the difficulties ahead of us, so we very much need the support of European and international organisations, as well as that of the most developed democracies, with the aim of consolidating state institutions, invigorating our economy and promoting cultural values. This process, for which I am convinced we will have your support, is a serious challenge to the Albanian Government and the entire country.

Dear Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to conclude by expressing, on behalf of the government I represent, my firm conviction that the fruitful co-operation of, and contribution of your Organisation to the reconstruction of the democratic institutions in Albania will continue unfailingly in. the future. Thank you for your attention.


Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. The applause that you have just heard showed how much the Assembly appreciated what you have just said. You have agreed to answer questions, and fourteen members of the Assembly have so far indicated their wish to put questions to you.

I remind those who wish to put questions that they are limited to thirty seconds, and no more. As we are short of time, I shall use a bell to stop people exceeding their time – otherwise we will not get through all the questions. I do not propose to allow supplementary questions for the same reason.

Some of the subjects that members wish to raise have a common theme, so I have grouped those questions together. Where that is the case, I will call members to ask their questions one after the other, and then invite you, Mr Prime Minister, to answer them as a group.

The first group concerns the general political situation in Albania, with questions from Mr Taylor of the United Kingdom, who is an Ulster Unionist, and Mr Brunetti of Italy. I call Mr Taylor.

Mr TAYLOR (United Kingdom)

We thank the Prime Minister for his progress report. I have two brief questions. He said that he wanted to create a European Albania. Does that mean that, eventually, Albania would wish to join the European Union and become a member of Nato? He also praised the Stability Pact. Can he confirm that it is benefiting Albania, not simply a great idea?


I call Mr Brunetti. He is not here. Mr Meta, would you care to reply to Mr Taylor’s question, at least?

Mr Meta, Prime Minister of Albania

I thank Mr Taylor for his interesting question. I mentioned that we want to build a European Albania. Albania has been in Europe for a hundred years, but, because of fifty years of the hardest communist regime in Europe, the country has encountered many problems in achieving democratic values. Fortunately, Albania has made major progress in the past ten years, and its entry into the Council of Europe five years ago was a major step forward. For Albania to become truly a European country, it needs to improve its democratic, economic and constitutional standards to the level of the most developed European countries. We are ambitious to join the European Union and Nato and are now in the process of working on opening negotiations for a new agreement on stability and association. Albania is fulfilling almost all of its commitment? to the Council of Europe as regards Protocol No. 6 and all the obligations that flow from the country’s desire to join the European Union and Nato. We hope that will make it possible in the years ahead for Albania to become a European country, not only geographically and through its wish to become so, but also because it objectively meets European standards.

As to the Stability Pact, I appreciate that the conference on financing that Pact...


I do not want to interrupt, Prime Minister, but the next three questions are about the Stability Pact. Perhaps it would be better to take them together? I call Mr Radie.

Mr RADIC (Croatia)

What concrete results do you expect from the implementation of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe?

Mr BEHRENDT (Germany)

I would like to ask what benefits the Stability Pact will have for Albanian minorities in Southeastern Europe and also what degree of inter-regional co-operation between Albania, Montenegro and “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” will result from the pact.

Mr HEGYI (Hungary)

The situation of the Albanian population in Kosovo is well known to us, but few people are aware that there is also an Albanian minority in Montenegro and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. Peaceful co-existence with the majority population is crucial to keep the peace in Europe. How does the Prime Minister view the situation of the Albanian minority in those two countries?

Mr Meta, Prime Minister of Albania

I must emphasise that the result of the Stability Pact must be not only economic – although any lack of success in that regard will be a disappointment for the region. The Stability Pact is aimed also at helping the countries of the region to work in harmony in building a common future. We must forget and leave behind our difficult past, which was full of conflict and ethnic problems and has presented a serious obstacle to the development of the entire region.

Since the end of the Kosovo war, we have seen growing harmony between the countries of the region. There have been many meetings and changes, and that better atmosphere will provide a helpful basis for developing the projects of the Stability Pact. We hope that the result will be not only a favourable political climate and growing understanding between the countries, but new concepts for dealing with minority and ethnic groups. We hope also to see economic changes and reconstruction throughout the whole region, which will further strengthen economic and infrastructural ties. The last Brussels conference was an important step in that direction.

As for the Albanian minority in Montenegro and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, there are many ethnic problems in the region. The Albanians probably have more problems than anyone else. The position of the Albanian Government accords with Council of Europe and European Union standards. We have a full commitment to the Greek minority in Albania and to the ethnic groups in Montenegro and Macedonia. We feel that we have a right to ask other countries to adopt similar concepts in respect of Albanians in Macedonia and Montenegro. Albanians have been in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” for many years and in Montenegro more recently. They are doing their best to cohabit by participating in coalition governments and building new democracies and a common future. The current Macedonian Government of Mr Georgievski is dealing differently and in a positive way with the Albanians, which helps Macedonia’s stability. I am sure that they will work together to build new standards.

The Albanians in Montenegro belong to the democratic forces in that country. They have some complaints, but we believe that the growing democracy there will lead to improved standards. They must take an active role in that process. Albania has co-operated usefully and successfully with Montenegro and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” over the past year and with the latter over the past month in particular. Last January, we held a trilateral meeting at prime ministerial level and have presented some common projects in the context of the Stability Pact, which will help further to improve our relationships.


There are two questions on Kosovo and refugees. One is from Mr Iwinski, who is outstandingly active for the Assembly in respect of refugees, and one from Mr Kofod-Svendsen of Denmark. I call first Mr Iwinski.

Mr IWINSKI (Poland)

In view of the number of challenges that Albania is facing, I want to ask about the present situation in Kosovo. What is the attitude of the government there to minor Albanian political forces, such as Mr Rugova’s group on the one hand and Mr Thace’s on the other? How is the Prime Minister perceiving the tendencies for an independent Kosovo or unification with Albania? We would also be grateful if he will comment on the situation in respect of Albanian refugees and displaced persons.


I would like to hear specifically about what possibilities there are for the refugees to return to their home areas. Can you do something to help them in starting their new fives in their home areas?

Mr Meta, Prime Minister of Albania

I thank Mr Iwinski for his question about our stance on developments in Kosovo, the political forces there, and its future. The position of the Albanian Government has always been highly principled, and is part of the position of the international community on developments in Kosovo. We are aware that there are many problems there, but they do not compare with the situation a year ago, when hundreds of thousands of Kosovars were refugees in Albania, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and other countries.

Today, those people are back home, but there are many difficulties, because there is not yet a complete institutional framework there. Managing life and managing the problems is difficult. The war was only months ago, so there are also emotions and other reactions, and some upset caused by disappointment at the fact that, when people came home, everything could not be changed very rapidly, especially from the economic point of view. People have passed a difficult winter, with an almost total lack of energy supplies, and many other problems.

However, there is much progress. For instance, there is no KLA in Kosovo today. There are some changes in political fife, too, and Albanians have participated in the Interim Administrative Council from the beginning, thus showing that they are willing to work closely with the international community to build institutions in Kosovo and stabilise the situation there. Unfortunately, the Serb minority have not yet taken their place in the Interim Administrative Council, but we hope that they will do so as soon as possible.

Certainly there are still problems. In particular, the situation in Mitrovica has been continuously problematic, and we have asked all the Albanians there to be helpful and to co-operate with the international community – with Unmik, KFOR and so on. However, I must emphasise that Milosevic is the person most interested in preserving tension in Kosovo, because that is how he tries to keep tensions far from Belgrade. He wants the international community’s efforts to stabilise the situation in Kosovo to fail. Therefore, he tries to cantonise Kosovo and to create enclaves that can be used whenever he wants to make the situation difficult. That is the main reason why we sometimes have problems.

From the outside, we have made it clear to the Albanian political parties that our co-operation with them will be based on their efforts to co-operate with the international community in building democratic institutions, and on their showing their tolerance towards the Serb minority and other ethnic groups. We do not have a special preference for any particular group or party; we have a very principled position, and that will continue to be the case. We also want a better understanding among the groups, and the closest cooperation between the Albanian factors and the international community, especially with Mr Kouchner.

Questions about the future of Kosovo cannot really be addressed to me, and I am not the right person to answer them. The answers must be given by all the citizens who live in Kosovo – but for us it is a democratic Kosovo. That problem is on the agenda, and it is much more important than the independence of Kosovo.

Mr COX (United Kingdom)

Prime Minister, the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of this Assembly has been in the forefront of helping your country with the protection and welfare of children. Can you tell us what progress you are making in developing services involving education, health care and care home facilities for the benefit of children? What are you doing to stop the trafficking in children, which, sadly, did take place in your country?

Mr Meta, Prime Minister of Albania

I thank you for your question, Mr Cox. We are aware of your concerns and your recommendations concerning the situation of children in Albania. That situation is problematic, as are the general situation and the social problems in our country. I stress that we are very committed to improving rights, living standards and education. I am also committed to working to promote social cohesion, in close co-operation with the Council of Europe and Unicef, and to define a national programme for children, through the national committee for women and the family.

Mr HORNHUES (Germany) (translation)

I note the Prime Minister has announced the holding of local elections soon. I would like to know if there is any substance to the complaints of the opposition regarding the unilateral composition of the Central Election Committee. Is the committee independent and will the conduct of the elections therefore be completely unbiased?

Mr Meta, Prime Minister of Albania

I hope that my speech was clear about the organising of the new local elections. Indeed, we can profit from this great opportunity to invite the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to monitor those elections. I am confident that they will be the fairest and most free democratic elections in the country since 1991, because the conditions for organising such elections are better than ever. In answer to the specific question about the Central Election Committee, I have to say that that committee was created by respecting the constitution of the country. We see that there was some criticism of the way the committee was constituted, but without questioning the integrity of the individuals making up the committee. Despite all that, I think that the essence of the noise which is coming from part of the Democratic Party has nothing to do with the way in which the committee was created. It has nothing in substance to do with the people involved, either, but results from an effort to make some noise about the idea that there are attempts to manipulate the elections in Albania. That is not true.

Today, I represent a government, but also a party that was in opposition in May 1996 when Mr Berisha, the former president, manipulated the elections in a most unfair way. We cannot repeat the same drama for Albanian democracy now, in the Europe of 2000.

We work very closely with the OSCE presence in Tirana, Ambassador Ahrens, your representative there, and the international community, to establish a dialogue and to resolve all the problems. We also deal with all the logical points that come from the opposition, always respecting the constitution, but also trying to show the maximum flexibility and will to include the opposition in all the procedures for organising the elections. It is not the majority that is quitting the round table headed by the OSCE presence in Tirana, but sometimes it is part of the opposition which wants to block the process. I assure the Assembly that the government will take every measure not only to develop the process, but to organise the most fair and free elections in the country since 1991. Everybody is invited to see them.


We have five questions left. They are all on different subjects, but with co-operation and speed we can get them all in, one after the other. Firstly I call Mr Hadjidemetriou.


I am one of those who follow developments in Albania as a Council of Europe observer, and I was a rapporteur in the parliamentary elections. I congratulate you, Mr Prime Minister, on what you have achieved.

My question concerns culture. In its reflections on the struggle in the former Yugoslavia, the Assembly has stressed the role of culture in reconstruction and the development of understanding. The Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe does not, however, include action for culture and the cultural heritage. Does Albania believe that there is no place for culture in the reconstruction process?

Mr POLLOZHANI (“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”)

Mr Prime Minister, I should first like to congratulate you, your government and your fellow Albanians on your attitude and contribution during the Kosovo crisis.

Secondly, in the framework of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe there was a donors’ conference in Brussels. Albania received a sum of money for infrastructure reorganisation. Do you believe that these funds are sufficient for the realisation of Corridor 8? How long will it take to build it for the countries of the region?

Mr RODEGHIERO (Italy) (translation)

Prime Minister, for many years Italy has been providing development aid to Albania in the hope of tackling the problem of the many boatloads of clandestine migrants arriving on Italy’s shores by courtesy of organised crime.

What is the Albanian Government doing to police its coastline and help the Italian authorities with the identification of Albanian citizens?

Mr RISE (Norway)

As an observer during the referendum on your new constitution one-and-a-half years ago, I should like to know, Mr Prime Minister, what have been the main obstacles for the government in implementing the new constitution. What was most worrying for me as I visited your country was the extent of organised crime. We saw the mafia’s control of villages, the stolen cars, drug trafficking, illegal economic activity. Do you consider organised crime to be a threat to democracy? What is your government’s main strategy to get rid of organised crime?


Mr Van der Linden has gone, so that is the end of the questions. Good luck, Mr Prime Minister.

Mr Meta, Prime Minister of Albania

I shall do my best to be brief, in order that we may be punctual.

I appreciate the emphasis that Mr Hadjidemetriou gave to the role that culture can play, including in the context of the Stability Pact, in helping to create a better understanding and more harmony between the countries of the region. This can be a very important way to promote more tolerance and understanding and to use cultural diversity not to separate us from one another but to strengthen our co-habitation, our understanding, so that we may live in harmony and respect this diversity. We are therefore also working with neighbouring countries in the context of the Stability Pact to present some common projects.

Mr Pollozhani asked whether the Brussels conference had resulted in enough funds to finance Corridor 8. I have to emphasise that building Corridor 8 remains of great importance, not only for Albania, but for the development of our region. So far the process has advanced slowly. However, we are optimistic, not only as a result of the conference but as a result of our talks and negotiation with the European Union, the European Commission, the United States, the European Investment Bank and other institutions, that our countries will have the right support to promote the project, to make it a reality. The Brussels conference is just a starting point from which we shall go on.

Mr Rodeghiero’s question had to do with Italy’s problems because of “clandestines” from Albania. The fight against the clandestine traffic in human beings is a regional challenge, because there is a regional network which helps the “clandestines” to go to Italy, not from Albania but from other countries to Albania and to Italy. Albania has been and still is a transit country, which has been used by the regional smuggling networks because of the fragile institutions resulting from internal instability in the past. But in the last year we have succeeded, co-operating very closely with the Italian Government and the governments of other neighbouring countries, in fighting this trafficking. Much more effort is needed. It is also necessary that neighbouring countries from which “clandestines” enter Albania, and from there pass to Italy, accept readmission agreements with Albania and take their own responsibility in fighting the clandestine network.

As for the difficulties in implementing the new constitution, we have done our best after adopting European standards, and for this reason I must thank the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission for help in the whole process of drafting it. There have been many changes in our legislation in order to make the whole legislative framework compatible with the new constitution. As a result of this process, we have passed very important laws on the judiciary, the police and the civil service that will help to make fundamental reforms.

With regard to the strategy against organised crime, there is in Albania a completely different view of security, criminality and organised crime compared with a year ago. Progress on improving security and strengthening public order and relevant institutions was recognised and appreciated at the most recent meeting of the Albanian groups in Vienna in late February.

We are working very closely with the Western European Union and Italian missions in order to be more successful in fighting organised crime. Indeed, we have had success in fighting smuggling; there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of goods seized by customs in the past month. We have also been successful in fighting the problem of clandestines. We are co-operating with neighbouring and other European countries in the fight against drug trafficking and every other type of trafficking through Albania.

I have done my best to give short and clear answers. I hope that honourable parliamentarians have received the answers that they wanted; if they have not, I apologise.


On behalf of the Assembly, I thank you very warmly, Mr Meta, for both your speech and your full and patient responses to our questions. You deserve a good lunch.