The EU Delegation in Tirana has asked the Albanian government for clarification on the Agreement for Economic Cooperation between Albania and the UAE, including the concession for the Port of Durres which was given to an Emirati company, Symphony Invest.
This they said, is in order for them to assess the compliance of the agreement with the EU Stabilisation Association Agreement that Albania is a part of.
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.
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.
Exit asked for clarification on whether the agreement and concession violate the SAA and whether they have addressed the matter with the authorities.
The EUD responded:
“The EU is aware of the agreement concluded in November last year between Albania and the United Arab Emirates, which includes a major redevelopment of the Durres port.
The EU has asked the Albanian authorities to provide clarifications in order to assess the compliance of the agreement with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Albania.”