From: Megi Ndregjoni
Albanian Government Proposes Law to Ban Private Costal Development and Force Property Owners to Sell to the State

The Albanian government has approved and sent to the Assembly a draft law on coastal management. This will give the state the right to repurchase any private land along the coast and obliges that any redevelopment must be done via PPP or strategic investment.

The law is a violation of the right to property that is protected by the Albanian Constitution, international conventions, and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. Under these laws, the owner has the right to enjoy, buy, or sell the property at their own discretion.

This draft law interferes with the will of the owner of the land or property, forcing them to sell the property to the state. Article 23 also gives the state the right to pre-purchase the land if the owner intends on selling it.

This means that if a private owner wants to sell his property, he must first offer it to the state. If the state refuses to buy it, only then can he sell the land to anyone he wishes. It is likely that the state would have standard rates or fixed fees for properties in this category.

Another provision of the law, Article 22, prohibits the development of the property by the owner. It states that it is not allowed to issue building permits on the seashore, except for concession/PPP contracts, strategic investments and constructions for public infrastructure.

If an owner wants to build even one apartment for himself on land on the coast, he cannot do so as the government has limited construction projects to PPPs or “strategic investments”.

Again, this interferes with the owner’s right to freely enjoy their property. Regarding the ban on building on a plot of land, this constitutes a violation of Article 1 Protocol 1 of the ECHR.

In the case of Porrong and Lonnroth v Sweden, the Court states:

“Prohibition of long-term construction constitutes a violation of the right to property, guaranteed by Article 1 of Protocol 1.”

Since 2015, the Rama government through a series of laws such as Public-Private Partnership, Strategic Investment, Tourism Law, Strategic Investment Corporation, and public expropriation has had the sole purpose of benefiting the state and large companies, rather than the public. Furthermore, they are not in line with EU law.

Since then, a number of strategic investments have been granted to investments on the coast that have no public interest. As a result, the government handed over prime real estate at absolutely no cost.

If the law is passed, it could essentially bring an end to all private ownership of property on the coastline of Albania. It would also prevent anyone who remained from doing any private personal or business development on their property.