From: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
State of Emergency or Extraordinary Measures?

Prime Minister Edi Rama stated this morning the government will declare a “state of emergency” in the counties of Tirana and Durrës because of the earthquake. However, the state of emergency is related specifically to war or a civil uprising, but not to natural disaster. This is clear from the Law no. 8194/1997 “On the State of Emergency in the Case of Serious Threat to the Constitutional Order and Public Order,” art. 1, where the state of emergency (gjendja e jashtëzakonshme) is defined as follows:

The state of emergency in case of serious threat to the constitutional order and public order (henceforth: state of emergency) is considered a situation when in the Republic of Albania or in part of it attempts are happening to violently overthrow the constitutional order or the activity of state structures is violently interrupted […].

No such violent revolution is taking place in Albania and no state of emergency was actually declared, if only because Parliament would have to vote on such an act.

Instead, what Prime Minister Rama supposedly attempted to articulate was that the government will take “extraordinary measures” (masat e jashtëzakonshme) in the aftermath of the November 26 earthquake. According to the Constitution, art. 170(1):

Extraordinary measures can be taken due to a state of war, state of emergency, or natural disaster and last for as long as these states continue.

According to art. 42 of law 45/2019 “For Civil Protection,” extraordinary measures may include changing budget allocation, the use of state property for shelter, as well as the temporary confiscation of private property for shelter. The Civil Protection Law was only passed in July, and it appears that the National Agency for Civil Protection (AKMC), which should have had a leading role in the wake of the earthquake, has not become fully operational.

In July, during the presentation of the draft law, Prime Minister Edi Rama stated:

With this law there is a reason to be optimistic because we have clearly distributed the responsibilities. We have a chain of roles and we also have an everyday basis.