Vlahutin’s agenda and Rama’s entourage
More research into Ambassador Vlahutin, shows that Vlahutin has made statements to the press contradicting the European Commission’s official position as regards the progress made in the accession process of Albania – which was significantly more clear as to the steps Albania is required to make.
<h3class=“entry-title single-post-title“>EEAS Refuses to Reveal Offers for Vlahutin’s Villa
The residence of the EU Delegation Head of Mission in Tirana.
In response to a freedom of information request of Exit, the European External Action Service (EEAS) has refused to disclose the offers received by the EU Delegation in Tirana.
As Exit reported previously, the pre-selection procedure for the acquisition of EU Ambassador Romana Vlahutin’s residence at a total cost of nearly €2 million, produced five “possible” properties, two of which turned out not to be sale, one of which was not finished, while a fourth was very expensive. Even without any expert evaluation, the EU’s preferred choice in Rolling Hills already turned out to be the “best option.”
In other words, the pre-selection procedure hardly produced a level playing field in which the EU could acquire the best option for the best price. Moreover, this situation resembles the common “straw man” public procurement strategy often witnessed in Albania, in which the winner is pre-selected by making sure that other competitors clearly violate the eligibility criteria.
The EEAS refused to disclose the documents because this would “undermine the protection of commercial interests.”
I hereby confirm that releasing the list of offered properties (part of the market survey) would indeed undermine the protection of commercial interests of a natural or legal person, as per Article 4(2)1st indent of the abovementioned Regulation [(EC) No 1049/2001]. Therefore, I cannot grant you access to such list.
So while in Albania all offers in a public procurement procedure need to be public and are published on a weekly basis, the EU can withhold such order citing “protection of commercial interests.”
European Parliament Budget Control Committee Chair Ingeborg Gräßle previously stated that the affair “heavily damaged the image of the EU.” Without full openness from the EEAS about the procurement procedure, this damage cannot be undone. http://www.exit.al/en/2017/04/21/eeas-refuses-to-reveal-offers-for-vlahutins-villa/