The tempest in the teacup of Albanian diplomacy

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 29, 2019 07:47

The tempest in the teacup of Albanian diplomacy

Story Highlights

  • The revolution that the representation of Albania abroad needs should start with a systemic rethinking of the law, with the restoration of career diplomacy as the primary way for promotion and with a strategic priority setting for key national goals. This cannot be achieved by petty witch hunts and all attempts to do so will make this representation even less legitimate, even less efficient.

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The Albanian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gent Cakaj, charged with special delegated ministerial powers by the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edi Rama, whose second title has been forgotten too soon, stirred up debate again this week with his decision to cleanse the ranks of the Albanian diplomats. Announcing the removal from posts for about 20 serving diplomats the allegedly ‘prodigy child’ has argued that the reasons behind this move have to do with the lack of credentials and performance and even allegations of nepotism regarding the ones that have been targeted.

There is no doubt that there are serious, concerning problems with the representation of Albania abroad.

Up until the end of the nineties a small core group of diplomats was developed and was accepted by both political sides in Albania. This consisted of seasoned and well-prepared individuals which were quietly protected from the effect of political power changing hands. Instead of strengthening and expanding this group, the changes in the foreign service law in 2014 shattered the entire logic of diplomacy by career progression and implemented the ‘open doors’ policy which had the scandalous effects of increasing the number of unprepared and unsuitable people being the face of Albania in the world.

The situation now is that embassies and consulates harbor a garden variety of pensioners, former people accused of crimes alongside the usual suspects from the extended families of politicians. Indeed the situation would have warranted the removal of twice as many people, perhaps even more.

However at the same time is obvious that the unexperienced and militant minister is being used as an easy and convenient instrument for the internal political fight within the Socialist Party. Sadly there is little chance he is aware of how destructive this is for the Albanian foreign policy in such a crucial time.

The revolution that the representation of Albania abroad needs should start with a systemic rethinking of the law, with the restoration of career diplomacy as the primary way for promotion and with a strategic priority setting for key national goals. This cannot be achieved by petty witch hunts and all attempts to do so will make this representation even less legitimate, even less efficient.

This strategic vision needs to be based on a comprehensive knowledge of problems which sadly cannot be transmitted by metrics such as “kilometers of books read” but by years of experience and being embedded for a desirably sufficient time in the identification of the dynamics. The same is valid for the idea of incorporating excellence students in the foreign service trumpeted as part of the effort to accommodate the student demands. The only way it can be done properly is through legitimate competitions and a career system in which they start in the basic levels and move up by building expertise. The faà§ade shows of promoting excellence by force do not serve foreign policy goals, on the contrary.

Otherwise this is just a little tempest in a teacup, useless and ridiculous.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 29, 2019 07:47