dje në 10:30
EU Funds Project to Strengthen and Protect Property Rights in Albania

The European Union delegation in Tirana has announced a new program that will strengthen and protect the right to property in Albania.

The initiative was launched at Europe House yesterday.

During a first phase, some EUR 5.7 million will be dedicated to improving data quality, creating a better institutional framework and digitization of property data.

EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca said that “the programme will improve legal certainty and promote more foreign investments.”

He added that it’s a crucial reform for the Albanian people and for its integration into the EU.

US Ambassador Yuri Kim added that “resolving property rights will lay the foundation for greater development, investment, and equality of opportunity.”

“It’s a must”, she added.

During the communist regime, all private land was seized by the state. Thousands of Albanians lost their property and had to watch as the state gave it to others, built on it, or otherwise occupied it. Following the fall of the regime in 1991, a significant problem had arisen. Some people had been living on the property for several generations, therefore it wasn’t as simple as just giving it back to the original owners. Some received their land back, others received just a bit, and some to this day do not own what is rightfully theirs.

Additionally, during the regime, people were not free to move and live where they wanted. When the old system came to an end, people flocked to return to cities and towns, and thousands came to Tirana. They built on land that was available, often without permits or proper paperwork. There were other intricacies as well such as owning the land but not having the right to build, or having the right to build and therefore owning the building, but not owning the land. This was due in part to the chaotic system during the transitional years which made it difficult to get the correct documents in order.

Today, people are finding themselves evicted from their homes to make way for roads and developments. Often they do not receive compensation because how they came to occupy the land is potentially illegal. Many people have paid thousands of euros and waited years to legalize their properties. The system however is slow and ineffective meaning that many end up being evicted without compensation before the process of legalization is completed.

The Rama government has not helped the situation by passing laws that have been used to evict people on their say so. Often because they want to use the land for private development.

Any property that is deemed unsafe, dangerous, or at risk of collapse by government-appointed officials can be demolished without the consent of the owners. This was the case with the National Theatre, large swathes of Kombinat, and likely the Sarajet building in the near future.

Furthermore, they have also proposed a law that means the government can force people with land on the coast to sell the property to them at special rates and also bans them from developing their own land.