Rama’s Waste Management Law Is Back from the Dead

As Exit already predicted before the elections, the parliamentary agenda for the coming month includes the discussion of the decree of former President Nishani to send back the waste management law to Parliament.

The changed waste management law was improved in Parliament on September 22, 2016 by votes of the PS and LSI, after which then President Nishani refused to sign it and return it to Parliament on October 14, 2016. Because the Parliament failed to discuss the President’s decree within 8 weeks, it automatically became effective. In order to be passed, the waste management law has to be reintroduced completely.

Nevertheless, in the last days of his previous mandate Prime Minister Edi Rama tried to bypass the presidential decree, profiting from the lack of public attention during the political crisis. Although this attempt ended in failure, Rama has now returned the heavily contested law, which would allow waste imports into the country, to the agenda of a parliament dominated by his own party. In July, Prime Minister falsely claimed that allowing waste imports was a demand of the EU.

The waste management law was first approved by the Berisha government in September 2011, and heavily opposed by the Socialist Party, environmental activists, and thousands of citizens demanding a popular referendum. Rama made the cancellation of Berisha’s law one of his main electoral promised during the 2013 elections, and when he came to power this one of his first acts of government.

But in June 2016, without any public consultation or parliamentary debate, the Prime Minister forced a law that was even more liberal toward waste imports through Parliament, despite again large popular protests.

Counting on the eventual implementation of the waste management law, the government has handed out several concession for waste incinerators in Elbasan, Fier, and Tirana, as well as new concessions for landfills in order to process waste from Italy and other European countries.