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Politike

BIRN: SP turns a deaf ear to the EU's warning, approves the law on protected areas

BIRN: SP turns a deaf ear to the EU's warning, approves the law on

At the entrance to the parliament, dozens of activists and civil society representatives protested on Thursday morning with the banner "Don't vote for the massacre law of protected areas". And yet, a majority of 74 MPs raised the green card in a short session on the Protected Areas bill, turning a deaf ear to warnings from environmental organizations and the European Union.

According to environmental activists, the new changes risk irreversible damage to protected nature, allowing heavy construction within them for economic and touristic reasons. In the session, the variant brought by the government at the last moment without public consultation was voted on, and why the EU delegation asked the Assembly to withdraw it, since the provisions conflicted with the European legislation on the environment.

The Socialists did not even take into account the memo of the office of approximation of legislation in the Assembly, according to which the law is contrary to the Stabilization-Association Agreement and other international conventions, to which Albania is a part.

The EU delegation in Tirana declared after the vote of the law that "it will closely follow the implementation of the new legal provisions for protected areas, in accordance with the EU legal framework for environmental protection and Albania's international commitments" .

In a reaction to the X platform, the delegation emphasized that, "in the framework of the accession negotiations, the adoption of laws on topics covered by the EU acquis presupposes genuine and comprehensive public consultation, as well as a predictable and transparent process ".

But Prime Minister Edi Rama arrogantly replied that he was "100% in agreement with the European Union", while talking about imaginary successes with protected areas.

"Today's changes strengthen the basis of our ambitious path for sustainable development in harmony with the stunning beauty of Albania," Rama wrote in X.

The Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Mirela Kumbaro, also defended the law that allows the construction of 5-star hotels and their infrastructure within protected areas, saying that these will be done with "strict filters".

"We respond to the challenge of economic growth, but without harming biodiversity," Kumbaro said after the session.

The opposition opposed this law as clientelistic and as the final step in the destruction of nature protected by law until today.

"It's been a while since the parliament has turned into a body that no longer passes laws for the benefit of the citizens, but for the benefit of a handful of people," said Gazment Bardhi, the chairman of the democratic group in the Assembly.

While MP Ina Zhupa said that "a clientelistic law made for oligarchs near Rama" was approved. The law removes the protection of these areas and turns them into construction sites".

According to her, the PD group will make every effort to stop it, from the President to the Constitution.

The government's legal changes allow within the Protected Areas "accommodation structures of excellence, 5 stars or more, in the field of tourism and any other activity/infrastructure supporting or in function of them, regardless of whether this is defined in the VKM announcing the area protected".

With the new changes, the National Territorial Council will be the body that will establish the rules and criteria for the development of these areas, a state body that does not include public consultation in its decision-making.