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Opposition Claims Durres Port Deal Violates EU Standards

The Democratic Party has raised concerns over an agreement between the Albanian Government and a company from the UAE.

An Agreement for Economic Cooperation was signed between the two countries on 26 November 2020 by Prime Minister Edi Rama and it was ratified in Parliament just seven days later. Based on it, the government has drafted a law which if approved, would hand over the Durres Port to an Emirati company called Symphony Invest.

The draft does not contain any conditions, criteria, or procedures and as such gives a “carte blanche” to the government, according to the PD.

In a statement sent to Exit, they state that it violates the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU (2009) because the draft prevents any EU or Albanian companies from bidding. Because it is classed as a “strategic investment”, the governments are able to pick any company to carry out various elements of the project. This breaches an essential competition clause in the SAA.

Furthermore, the PD state that according to the SAA, if the contracting party has to derogate from the SAA, it can only do so with the authorisation of the Stabilisation and Association Council and under conditions determined by the latter. This has not happened.

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