From: Alice Taylor
Albania Violated Regulations by Awarding Contract for Vjosa Hydropower Plant

The Albanian government violated EU rules and regulations when it awarded a contract in 2016 to build the Pecem hydropower plant of the Vjosa river.

The Secretariat of the Energy Community sent a letter to the authorities earlier in the week to raise the issue. An investigation into the contract found that the administrative procedures followed for the project were not in line with EU directives, particularly in terms of the environmental report and public participation provisions.

The Secretariat said Albania has two months to react to the accusation of non-compliance with the Energy Community law. This is required so the Secretariat can understand the entire situation and the background of the case.

The plant in question was built by a Turkish company, Cinar-San Hafriyat Nakliyat Insaat Turizm Sanayi Ve Ticaret Limited Sirketi. The proposal from the company was unsolicited. 

Environmentalists and civil society reacted strongly to the plan, saying that the project would cause irreversible damage to the Vjosa which is the last free-flowing river in Europe. Opponents have managed to stall the commencement of the project through various court battles which are still ongoing.

The Secretariat which is based in Vienna, supervises the Treaty of the Energy Community. EU Member States and Western Balkan countries including Albania are party to it. They all pledged to participate in a single energy market, as per EU energy market rules.