The Albanian government seems intent on modifying its program on the national theater, as the European commission - with a letter - has suggested launching a competition for the construction and urban development of the area.
The letter was sent by the authorities after evaluating the 'special' law proposed by the government, which met with strong opposition from public opinion and was not subsequently decreed by the President of the Republic, Ilir Meta.
The law, approved by the majority, provides for the construction of a new modern national theater building with funds from the private company Fusha Shpk, which in turn will receive thousands of square meters of public property in the city center to build a concrete complex .
Rather than discussing the need for a new building for the national theater, the controversy following the question focused on the special procedure that was used to exclude other companies from the competition for the construction of the building.
In this context, the head of the EU Enlargement Directorate for Albania and Bosnia, Michela Matuella, asked the Albanian government to amend the special law proposal and to remove the predetermined private company Fusha Shpk from the legal proposal.
"The services of the commission welcome the commitment of the Albanian authorities to modify the special law in order to introduce a call for proposals for the implementation of the national theater development project, according to which any private party could present a proposal for the project.
At the same time, the commission's services would like to underline the importance of defining clear, transparent and non-discriminatory criteria for the selection of the bidder by winning in the implementation of the special law. " - reads the letter.
Although the letter clarifies that there are no violations of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, the commission encourages the government to follow EU principles on public procurement and to ensure non-discriminatory access to free market competition.
The Albanian opposition, which had strongly opposed the project, called the letter a victory:
"The answer from Brussels is clear: the government has violated the law. The European Commission's response clearly supports the opposition's main concerns. We were right in saying that the law violated the principle of fair competition." - he has declared Jorida Tabaku, deputy of the democratic party.
On the other hand, also the mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj - among the first to defend the project - he called the letter excellent news.
"The law does not violate the stabilization and association agreement, we have the opportunity to improve it.”- written Erion Veliaj on social media.
It now remains to be seen which procedure will be followed. If the majority decides to change the law and then present a new one, which would provide for a competition open to all.