From: Alice Taylor
Questions over Durres Port Concession Being in Line with EU Stabilisation and Association Agreement

Yesterday in Brussels, the Stabilisation and Association Council between Albania and the European Union held its 11th meeting. 

According to a press release published by the EU, the SA Council noted that the transitional period of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement ended on 31 March 2019 and that since 1 April 2019, Albania is fully associated with the EU in this regard.

This raises questions over the recent awarding of the concession of the Port of Durres to an Emirati company, Symphony Invest and the signing of an Agreement for Economic Cooperation some days later. This was then ratified in Parliament less than a week later.

The Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU lays down the stringent competition and transparency clauses for concessions and investments in the country. It also doesn’t allow preferential treatment to be given to non-EU countries. The nature of the agreement and the concession with an Emirati company appears to bypass these provisions and prevent fair competition from EU countries.

The Agreement requires that any derogation from the Agreement can only take palace if the Council agrees and under conditions determined by them. 

Exit has contacted the EU Delegation in Tirana and the European Commission to ask whether they are aware of this issue, if it was discussed in Brussels yesterday, and what their stance on the matter is.