Albanian Parliament approves REC international agreement

July 27, 2012

During yesterday's plenary session, after having passed through all institutional levels and special parliamentary committees, the Albanian Parliament decided on the international status agreement of the Regional Environmental Center (REC). With 128 votes in favour (out of 140), none against and no abstentions, the Assembly voted to grant the REC greater legal and institutional support towards fulfilling its objectives and vision.

THE 'AYES' HAVE IT: Albania's Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of supporting the status agreement. Photo: Courtesy of the Albanian Government

"By today's action, we give proper legal status not only to a very important agency involved in regional environmental issues, but an agency that provides concrete value for environmental issues here in Albania," stated Fatmir Mediu, Albanian Minister of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration. "Granting this status provides more legal support for the REC to conduct the kind of activities it has been practising for the last 20 years. The REC is not only active in promoting environmental issues, but provides concrete support for policies by being an ideal partner of citizens and governmental institutions to further approximate Albanian environmental standards to European standards."

On behalf of the Socialist Party Parliamentary Group, Besnik Baraj recalled that the REC started its activity in the early '90s and has played an important role in raising awareness, and in the management and implementation of various projects and financial resources. In considering the REC as an independent institution, and based on financial resources that are not associated with the Albanian Government, Baraj addressed the crucial role of providing stronger support for debating important and sensitive environmental issues in Albania, regardless of which political force holds power.

"Several REC flagship programmes, legal assessments and publications--such as the information service Environment Today--remain notable REC contributions of the past years," Baraj added.