The Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Gent Cakaj announced today that persons holding the title of Honorary Consul will no longer be allowed to use diplomatic licence plates for their vehicles.

A few hours before departing to the United States, Cakaj stated that the honorary consuls are required to hand in their diplomatic licence plates in order to receive standard national licence plates.

He added that the new plates would also include a special symbol to identify the status of honorary consul.

“I have decided to take another indispensable measure. The time has come to undo an absurd practice and return to accordance with the existing laws in Albania and international practices in general.

Cakaj explained that our country is one with 48 honorary consuls. Some of these consuls are receiving greater diplomatic privileges than they are entitled to according to the law.

In particular, he expressed concern over the issuance of diplomatic registration plates for vehicles belonging to Honorary Consuls in 38 instances.

“In Article 5 of the Constitution it is written: 'Vehicles of honorary consuls are to be equipped with an Albanian national license plate, regardless of the individual's nationality.'

“Strangely, 38 honorary consuls that we have between us, who come in and out of the borders of this country, are in violation of the law. This special privilege is unjustified and we must end it.

“I inform all persons in question that the protocol office will begin the procedures immediately and they must deliver the special license plates in order to be equipped with the standard licence plate containing the oval mark,” said Cakaj.

Cakaj did not hesitate to clarify that this decision is not related to any particular individual, but simply to the correct enforcement of the law:

“This measure is not related to specific names, but comes from the necessity of respecting the law.”

Minister Cakaj also announced that the Ministry will take measures to strengthen the dignity of the Albanian diplomatic passport which, according to him, has been questioned by many countries due to the criteria and processes for obtaining one. 

“We are in the process of reviewing diplomatic passports and will soon communicate the results of this initiative,” informed Cakaj.

A few days ago, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs announced that it had taken action to remove 28 diplomats from duty, arguing that some of them did not meet the legal requirements to hold the position.

Others had held such positions longer than the allowable mandates. The full list of names of the 28 recently dismissed diplomatic officials is still yet to be released.