Albania as a candidate country which adheres to join the European Union should fulfill certain obligations. The field of environment is one of the delicate issues in which Albania has a lot to do, especially in the field of horizontal environmental legislation approach. Even that it’s often believed that the Albanian legislation is aligned to EU legislation, it is not always true. The align process of EU legislation include three phases: the transposition, enforcement and implementation. While the first stage has been accomplished in the majority, the other two phases and especially the implementation needs a lot of work. This often comes as a result of lack of appropriate institutional framework or insufficient capacity and expertise that is needed for the law implementation.
In the Progress-Report 2015 of the EU Commission, the implementation of the cross-cutting strategy on horizontal legislation still remains in the same level as in the 2014. More work needs to be done for the alignment of the horizontal environmental legislation in particular with the Directive on Environmental Crime. What you can see from the report is that have been same improvements on the Institutional framework for the protection of the environment, mentioning the creation of the National Agency for Protected Areas, even though according to the report, effective protection for designated protected areas still needs to be guaranteed, in particular on the investments in hydropower which need to comply with nature protection obligations, especially for protected areas and areas of high natural value.
Hydro-power constructions without criteria and a national master-plan is a phenomenon which is destroying natural rivers. They host an outstanding rich flora and fauna of Balkans. In 2016 Albania should work harder to ensure the effective protection of protected areas and those with high natural value such as the Vjosa River-the last wild river in Europe.
On the other hand environmental NGOs have called on the Albanian government to declare a moratorium on HPP constructions in the entire territory of Albania, seeking a 3-year period to review all documentation and permitting procedure concession.
From Besjana Guri/ EcoAlbania