Special Draft Law for the National Theater Has Not Changed after “Public Consultation”

The special draft law regarding the National Theater, approved last week by the government, is identical to the law presented by the Ministry of Culture at the beginning of June. This contradicts the government propaganda and the statements of Tirana mayor Erion Veliaj who claimed that the new draft law would reflect discussions with artists and citizens.

Both the June 8 draft law, and the one approved by the government, entail the expropriation of public land which will be given to the private company Fusha shpk for the construction of a new National Theater and several skyscrapers surrounding it.

In both draft laws:

  1. The new National Theater will not house any other institutions on its upper floors. The BIG and Fusha shpk project never planned to build on top of the Theater, instead planning on building skyscrapers around it. In the new draft law, however, the government stresses the fact that nothing would be built on top of the national Theater, in an attempt to sell this as a concession towards the artists requests.
  2. The public land owned by the Tirana municipality will be expropriated in a direct negotiation with a single, predetermined private company, Fusha shpk, via this special law. Fusha will therefore not have to compete in a public procurement procedure, or even go through the moves of proposing a public–private partnership.
  3. The Committee established to negotiate with Fusha shpk will be headed by Veliaj. The Tirana municipality will play the role of the “secretary” for the private company, since Fusha shpk will be the one to dictate the contract’s reference terms, that is, every term and condition:

    Art. 8(1) The contract between the state (owner) and the private partner must contain the proposal presented by the company Fusha shpk, per this law, that has been assessed by the negotiating Committee and will be an indisputable part of the contract.

  4. Fusha shpk will acquire the public land owned by the Ministry of Culture, where the National Theater and the Experimental Theater are currently located, as well as the land owned by the municipality that is currently a parking lot. According to the project, the surface space the new Theater building will take up will be smaller than the current one. The new Theater will be 3000 square meters, whereas 4500 square meters of public land owned by the Ministry of Culture and the Tirana municipality will be awarded to Fusha shpk.Image 1 represents the current division of the surface:

    Image 2 represents the division predicted by the Fusha shpk and BIG project:

  5. Fusha shpk will build a complex of skyscrapers throughout the area in between the Abdi Toptani and Murat Toptani streets, per the rendering below, covering the entire area surrounding the Theater in concrete.