From: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
European Commission Sides with PM Rama on National Theater Law

In a recent interview with Euronews, Prime Minister Edi Rama stated that the Special Law for the National Theater

“…has all been reviewed by the European Commission, and has been cleared, with the condition to have a competition. So, the competition is launched. The rest is, you know…”

This view has been supported by EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca, who has supported Prime Minister Rama by stating that the issue had been “politicized” while it was important that “free and fair competition” was ensured.

In response to a question by whether the European Commission indeed had “cleared” the special law, a spokesperson provided the following statement:

“The European Commission examined the draft law regarding the National Theatre last summer, and the revisions proposed by the government of Albania to address the concerns expressed, in light of applicable Stabilisation and Association Agreement provisions.

While the Commission at that time found that no violation of the SAA could be ascertained in the revisions proposed, it underlined the importance of compliance with EU public procurement principles and non-discriminatory market access. The Commission, therefore, emphasised the importance of defining clear, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria for the selection of the successful bidder in implementing the Special Law.

It is not the role of the European Commission, under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, to express itself on the demolition or renovation of the National Theatre. Neither it is for the European Commission to assess the technical specifications of the project being tendered, for which deadline is set at 19 September.

Any legal issues regarding the special law should be addressed in line with the relevant Albanian legislation and procedures.”

As Exit has argued, the actual conditions set up by the Special Law do not comply with the principle of non-discriminatory market access, but apart from emphasizing its “importance,” the European Commission remains silent.

It is, furthermore, ironic that the Commission refers to “relevant Albanian legislation and procedures” even though it is well aware that in absence of a High Court and Constitutional Court Albania has basically become a state without justice.