Citizens protested on Tuesday (12 July) outside of Albania’s parliament against the proposed administration of Butrint by a foundation including the Albanian American Development Foundation.
In 2020, the law changed to allow Butrint to be controlled by the Ministry of Culture and a “strategic partner” as a part of the Integrated Management Plan for Butrint National Park.”
The plan was drafted by a British law firm, and commissioned by the AADF.
Now, it is confirmed that AADF will be part of the Butrint Management Foundation which will see the site partially controlled by a private entity for the first time in its history. They will be involved in managing it for a period of ten years in return for a grant of $5 million.
With the Economy Commission set to review the return of the law to parliament by the president, civil society has protested.
“We agree to protect Butrint from invaders in this case. The chairman of the board [of AADF] says that Saranda and Butrint are Greek and were accidentally left in Albania, seen from this point of view, we oppose this ominous project,” said activist Aulon Kalaja.
President Ilir Meta previously returned the law allowing the agreement back to parliament. According to him, Butrint cannot be administered by social organisations such as NGOs as it violates the Constitution and the rule of law.
The law had previously been approved by parliament with 75 votes in favour.