Albania of concessions. Vjosa – the next victim

The tendering process for the concession of the Pocem hydropower plant on the Vjosa river is opened.

In the official bulletin of the National Public Procurement Agency, the announcement was published yesterday about the opening of the procedure for granting a 35-year concession for the construction of the Pocem hydropower plant in the lower reaches of the Vjosa River. Meanwhile, previously, on July 29, 2015, the Government approved the acceptance of an unsolicited request from the Turkish company Çinar-San for the construction of this project. The company in question has earned the right to a bonus of 8% even though it is a company with modest capacities and has no experience in the field of construction and management of hydropower plants, or energy in general.

During the protest in the Vjosa river. (c) EcoAlbania

During the electoral campaign for the local elections, Prime Minister Rama responded positively to the request of the residents of the Vjosa valley for its declaration as a National Park, promising that: “We will transform the Vjosa valley into a national park to prevent barbarism from hydropower plants and to develop tourism, economy, agriculture, to strengthen the family economy by increasing the number of visitors to this great park of Vjosa.”

But apparently, the barbarism on the Vjosë river – the blue heart of Europe unfortunately continues to definitively destroy one of the greatest values of national and European natural heritage.

“This is a decision taken in complete arbitrariness, ignoring the clear messages from the EU but also from experts and representatives of civil society in Albania and Europe” says Olsi Nika, representative of EcoAlbania and coordinator of the campaign “Saving the blue heart of Europe” “.

The battle for the river Vjosa is no longer only a national but also a European issue, as the Vjosa represents a unique ecosystem across the continent.

“The construction of the HPP in Poçem would end the vision of the first national park of a wild river in Europe and would undermine the economic development and the future of the entire Vjosa valley,” said Ulrich Eichelmman, from the Austrian NGO RiverWatch .

Additional information:

The Poçemi HPP is one of the 8 dams planned to be built on the Vjosa River, while the total number of HPPs planned in the entire Vjosa watershed is 33. The campaign for the protection of the Vjosa River is part of the international campaign for protection of the most valuable rivers of the Balkan peninsula. More than 630 HPPs are currently designed from Slovenia to Albania. To oppose this wave of destruction, “EuroNatur” and “RiverWatch” have launched the campaign “Saving the blue heart of Europe” in cooperation with local partners in the respective Balkan countries.

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