A decision of the Council of Ministers has transferred ownership of the land where the National Theater used to stand from the Ministry of Culture to the Municipality of Tirana.
The decision stipulates that the Municipality will not have the right to transfer ownership or exploitation rights over the land to third parties.
According to Euronews, an accompanying report specifies that the transfer will happen because the Ministry of Culture had not set aside funds to cover the costs for the construction of the new National Theater. It also justified the decision with the fact that the surrounding area already belongs to the municipality.
The decision comes less than a month after the Constitutional Court repealed the 2020 decision that transferred ownership of the land and the theater building to the Municipality of Tirana. The Constitutional Court deemed that the original transfer was unconstitutional given that the National Theater is part of Albania’s historical and cultural inheritance and could not be managed by the Municipality, thus restoring ownership to the Ministry of Culture.
The latest decision then transfers the land back from the Ministry of Culture to the Municipality, so the project can continue as planned.
Speaking to BalkanWeb from Tokyo, mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj said that this new decision does not contradict the Constitutional Court’s ruling, since the actual building—whose cultural significance the Constitutional Curt based its decision on—no longer exists.