Thursday, May 26, 2016
Demolished Houses in Himara Region by the Albanian Government, with EU Funds
Funds for Albania –€ 28.7 million to the Government for the development of poor rural communities and the modernization of municipal infrastructures with respect for historical heritage and the environment.
The implementation of a "development plan" for the region of Himara has begun by the Albanian Government, but no one officially knows exactly what is included in this project and what is the source of abundant funding. The plan is presented to the world fragmented into small individual interventions and investments, including the construction of a square or a coastal road, the reconstruction of a church, etc. So far, however, they have not been organized by the competent meetings bodies with the local community nor have posted relevant communications although the implementation of the project has begun.
What is ultimately the "development plan" and who is funding?
Although shown as autonomous interventions and investments all the projects of "development plan" have something in common: the oversight body and funding management is the Albanian Development Fund (Fondi Shqiptar i Zhvillimit F.SH.ZH.). On the website of the Albanian Development Fund find information for a large development project called "Development of the Albanian Alps and the coastal region" ( "Community Works IV: Development of the Albanian Alps and Coastal Area" Project). This project, according to F.SH.ZH., funded with 28.7 million euros from the European Development Bank and 6,000,000 euro (relating to taxation) from the Albanian government (see. Link relative).
In the Development Bank website of the European Council we find a communication dated November 6, 2014 to notify the approval of this finance to the Albanian Government in the amount of EUR 28.7 million for the purpose stated in the notice of the Albanian Development Fund (see . related link).
Why hide the Albanian Government the actual name of the project and the real source of funding?
First: The Albanian Government is trying to benefit politically and economically from the implementation of the project and presents it as its own investment. For this reason, the plan appears as an initiative of the Prime Minister Rama himself appears on every occasion on construction sites as initiator and benefactor.
Second: The Albanian Government is trying in this way to avoid the application of European procedures and principles, such as transparency and legitimacy in the implementation of the project. So in the design deliberately avoided mentioning the financing by the European Union.
Third: After the fiasco of the previous development plan was to be financed by the World Bank, it has resulted in cancellation of funding in the last stage because of the practices of the Albanian side, the Albanian Government is now trying to conceal the source of funding of the project in the hope that will manage the money at will, avoiding the local community reactions and European control.
In this way the Albanian government announced interventions in 11 churches of the Orthodox Church, of which seven are located in the region of Himara, but never consulted with the local community of Himara. And worse, they never consulted with the Autocephalous Church of Albania, which is the administrator of temples and legitimate and recognized by the state representative of the Orthodox Christian community in Albania.
The demolition of houses and businesses in the villages of Himara are not officially informed the owners affected, although the relevant law obliges the Planning Service to inform the owner in writing at least 10 days before the demolition.
The above are not the only arbitrariness of the Albanian State in Himara, which violates its own law, but what is surprising is that all this happens in the implementation of a development project funded substantially by the European Union.
At present the implementation of the plan has sparked the ire of residents of Himara. We expect the European Union's response and hope this does not come too late for the Greek population of Himara.