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EU & WBs / Albania Energy Publication Centre

Presentation of Albanian Centre for Energy Regulation and Conservation - ACERC

ACERC is a think tank centre with focus in Albania energy market and its integration on 8th Regional Area & EU IEM. The ACERC mission aim to provide a qualified contribution to the promotion of the liberalization and the effective integration as well as the efficient use of energy resources.

ACERC main activities profiles briefly consists in the release reports, articles and periodicals. In cooperation also with collaborates the offering of the activities that support capacity building of market actors, such as national and regional seminars, trainings and conferences. Initiatives completed by advocating in the energy sector promoting a forum called in Albanian School of Regulation.

For more visit us at the Official Website of Acerc | Albanian Energy Market - AEM Group in LinkedIn

Current trends and developments in the international gas markets by Hasan Cerhozi | Monday, September 28, 2015

AEL Updates September 2015 Posted on Mon, September 28, 2015 08:47:01

LNG Trade and the Shale Gas Revolution

The international gas markets have suffered radical changes in the last two decades. Since the year 2000 the LNG industry has boomed due to the growing energy demand in the Asia Pacific basin. The strong need for long term security of supply at the same time with the fact that the Asian LNG price formula is based on Japan’s crude oil imports has been the culprit to the development of LNG reaching at a level of 33% of total gas exportation in 2012.

Moreover, the change towards a supply driven market model in the Atlantic basin where producers developed new pipeline or LNG capacities without supply contracts lead to a rapidly growing regional market with spot trading and arbitrage dynamics. Traditionally, the LNG market was based on long term contracts between producers and market players following on a demand driven business model.

An unprecedented natural disaster which lead to the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima in 2011 affected substantially the course of international LNG trade. All over the world ongoing nuclear projects were either halted either completely cancelled. Japan’s decision to phase out from nuclear power generation skyrocketed Asian gas spot prices to an average of $18/mmbtu at a time when NBP and East Asia Index seemed to converge at $10/mmbtu.

On the other side of the Pacific, in the US, since 2008 a technological breakthrough along with the fact that the oil prices had surpassed the $100/bbls threshold constituted to what was later called the “shale gas revolution”, a game changer to the international gas markets with a cross sectorial impact. Since then the US have been transformed to the biggest gas producer amounting 20% of global gas production in the world surpassing Russia (18%). Shale gas accounts for more than 40% of the U.S gas production in total and 9% of the global gas production.

Nevertheless, it is important to define why did this revolution took place in the U.S and not somewhere else where tremendous reserves of shale gas are also in place such as in China, Europe, or Argentina. It was a hand of small independent companies which for years put effort and money to develop the technology which completed the function of the unique ownership regime, a well-developed transportation infrastructure in place, market-based pricing and favorable regulation.

The first result of this phenomenon was that Henry Hub prices collapsed and stabilized at around $4/mmbtu since 2009 which was one third of the average European spot price and one fifth of the average Asian LNG spot price. The American electricity mix was affected directly since the share of electricity production from gas has risen by 10% reaching a total of 30% substituting coal fire generation.

Going back to years 2000 – 2008, were US gas production was in decline and HH prices fluctuated at an average of $6/mmbtu, with the latest spike recorded in May 2008 at $12.69/mmbtu, foreshadowed that LNG was to become the first source of energy import. Heavy investments in regasification terminals took place reaching a capacity of 430 bcm in 2012 while the imports accounted only for 19 bcm in the winter of the same year.

On the supply side LNG projects that were developed around the world to respond to US demand shifted towards the Asian markets as a function of Asian high prices and no demand signals from the North American market due to shale gas development.

Regasification terminals are turning into liquefaction terminals and US is about to become a net exporter reaching 200 bcm by 2040. The EIA projects in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015 reference case that LNG exports will reach 7 bcf/d (billion cubic feet per day) by 2022. So far five LNG facilities have taken FERC approval.

Pacific Asia and the North America, two markets which are characterized by completely different dominant pricing regimes have been the major drivers of the radical changes in the international gas flows.

The European Gas Market

In Europe, during the 1970s and the 1980s gas replaced oil products in industrial, commercial and residential uses, however, today natural gas in power generation seems to be no longer competent due to abundant volumes of coal coming from the other side of the Atlantic and due to renewable energy sources (RES) penetration backed from EU’s policies. Europe is characterized by depleting indigenous conventional gas resources and growing import dependency with imports from Russia counting for as much as 40% in 2013.

Only 20% of gas imports is based on gas spot prices at an average of $10mmbtu while 80% remains on long term oil linked contracts, however, the market trend driven by EU’s policy is towards more short term gas hub priced contracts. It is worth to be mentioned the EU’s energy dependency on imports has an expensive price, only France had a cost of 69bn Euros in 2012 from the fact the country imports 99% of the oil and 98% of the national gas consumption. EU’s natural gas demand dropped 11% on year in 2014 to 409 bcm due to an exceptionally warm winter coupled with low coal and carbon dioxide prices.

EU energy policy

The three pillars upon which the EU energy policy is built is transition to a carbon neutral energy sector, well-functioning integrated energy market and security of supply. The 20-20-20 by 2020 policy set the first step toward EU’s energy transition road. So far, the EU is on track to achieve the targets set, however, that does not imply that the policy was successful as the economic recession and the deindustrialization of the continent played a major role in the reductions of the GHG emissions.

The financial crisis of 2008 and the followed economic recession coupled with policies promoting power generation from renewable energy sources has had tremendous effects on European utilities. The grid priority given to RES by the EU regulators and the resurgence of coal from the US lead to the demand for natural gas to decline in an already over flooded gas market due to the LNG boom at the beginning of the decade. At the same time the market liberalization and competition which had started in late 80s started to have effect mostly in North Western Europe. The utilities found themselves over flooded with gas flowing under long term contracts (LTCs) and take or pay clauses with suppliers, causing severe economic impacts on their balance sheets since major investments had taken place in gas power generation facilities.

The current situation of the European gas market along with EU energy policy does not seem to favor Russia from any side. The Energy Union’s strategy clearly aims at strengthening the diversification of supply sources including plans for a new LNG strategy while emphasis is given to the South Eastern Corridor and a strategic alliance with Turkey. Turkey undoubtedly is the country with the best perspectives of becoming a hub for natural gas in South Eastern Europe and plays a critical role in unlocking the reserves of the Caspian and Middle East to the European market.

The final investment decision (FID) taken on the summer of 2013 by the BP lead Shah Deniz consortium for the realization of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) opens the door of the South Eastern Corridor for Caspian gas to flow directly to the European market.

However, it remains uncertain to what extent TAP satisfies EU’s wish to diversify from Russia since it is of only 18 bcma maximum capacity. There is always the question though how reliable are the new suppliers going to be taking into consideration the conflicts that are taking place in the region and Turkey’s recent involvement. Another element to be considered is that Turkey’s primary concern is the satisfaction of its own domestic gas demand.

Russia’s export strategy

Russian export strategy has been traditionally oriented towards satisfying European demand only through pipeline gas and be the region’s dominant supplier. As it concerns the pricing strategy, from 1990 – 2002 Russia’s policy was volume maximization and price damping. The strategy changed from 2002 to 2008 towards price maximization and volume growth while during the years of the financial crisis, 2008 and onwards, Gazprom has proceeded with small price adjustments acceptable from the consumers and stagnating gas flows.

Today, the European market is not Russia’s only target as Gazprom tries to find new markets. The strong support that Novatek’s LNG project in the Yamal peninsula is receiving from the Russian government highlights the shape that the Russian export policy has been taking. Exploiting the Artic reserves and opening the North Route for Russian LNG cargoes to reach Asian markets is very high on Russian government’s agenda, however, Gazprom’s and Rosneft’s LNG plans have been suffering delays while the current low oil prices coupled with the continues fall of the Ruble call for a re-evaluation of the project economics.

Amid tensions in Ukraine and sanctions imposed to the Russian state for the annexation of Crimea a final purchase and sales agreement was signed by Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in May 2014 for the supply of 38 bcma of gas. The route selected was through the Power of Siberia pipeline and not from the Altai which Russia favored. First gas flowing to China is expected in 2019. This agreement was reached a decade after their first co-operation agreement in 2004. The East Gas Program seems to be a priority for Gazprom since the European demand is not there and further investments would not be rational.

Turkey’s role

On December 1st 2014, following a meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents, president Putin and Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller announced that South Stream is cancelled. Gazprom claimed that the reason for the cancelation has been the combined failure of the Bulgarian government to provide assurances that the pipelines could be laid; and the European Commission to provide assurances that gas would be allowed to flow through them. South Stream had an estimated CAPEX of 15bn Euro (10bn offshore section & 5bn onshore section.

Immediately Turkish Stream was announced in place. Turkey is a country which Russia dominates its natural gas imports and is also of strategic importance. The annual gas capacity of the Turkish Stream will be of a total of 63 bcm and will consist of four strings with the capacity of 15.75 bcm each. Gas from the first string is intended exclusively for the Turkish market which is expected to be constructed by December 2016.

For the moment the negotiations between the Turkey’s Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (Botas) and Gazprom have frozen due to the fact that still there is no government formed since the Turkish national elections were held in June 2015. Turkey is to become an important player in the international energy markets. Even though the EU integration process and bilateral negotiations between the country and the EU have frozen, still Turkey has made a lot of progress in the liberalization process of both its domestic natural gas and electricity market.

Game Changers

Two major recent political decisions which can be defined as gamechangers for the international natural gas markets has been Japan’s decision to restart its nuclear program and the nuclear deal with Iran. As already mentioned, the main game changer of last decade in the energy industry has been undoubtedly the shale gas revolution in the US. In terms of the positive impacts of the shale gas revolution, Europe does not seem to be on the same line with the US. On the contrary, in Europe gas cannot compete with coal anymore in power generation, hence the switch is from gas to coal.

The utilities have been stricken by the return on profitability of coal fired power plants due to abundant cheap American coal which reduces coal generation’s costs. In the aftermath of the shale gas revolution and high oil prices we saw European refineries closing down one after the other, over 15 refineries shut down from 2008 to 2013 translating to 8% reduction in total refining capacity.

The convergence of spot prices

In case, U.S. proceeds with massive gas exports analysts expect that the European gas market will tend to be second on American preferences as Asian prices have been the most attractive. However, since mid-2014 oil price benchmarks have suffered a tremendous fall following OPEC’S historic decision not to cut on production squeezing US producers.

LNG arriving at the European coasts from the other side of the Atlantic means that the operational and strategic security of supply of the EU will be strengthened. This event seems not to be so far in the future with US LNG exporter Cherniere Energy agreeing to sell up to 24 cargoes to French energy giant EDF from 2017 through 2018. What is most interesting of this deal is that sales price of the shipments will be linked to the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF).

After four years of high LNG prices in the Asia Pacific basic mainly dut to high crude prices now the Japan’s LNG import price is found at the same levels as prior to the Fukushima disaster. In 2014 China’s LNG demand grew by 8% compared to 2013, Japan’s grew by 1.2% while Korean imports decreased by 9% as reported by Enerdata. This drop in demand in the Asian market coupled with the current low oil prices resulted in price convergence with the average German import price.

To this end, the European market turned to be once again attractive and at the same time proved able to absorb the oversupply developed in the Asian market. In the first quarter of 2015, imports in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom grew from 1.7 mtpa to 3.7 mtpa, as estimated by Cedigaz. However, according to 2015 BP statistical review natural gas consumption in the European Union had the biggest volumetric and percentage decline on record (-11.6%).

Japan’s decision to restart its nuclear program approving a new target, in August 2015, which calls for nuclear to account for as much as 22% of the nation’s electricity mix by 2030 coupled with the fact that more Australian and US LNG is coming on stream might maintain this dowward in trend in Asian Prices.

The opening of Iran

The nuclear deal with Iran is definitely a game changer for the international natural gas markets. Iran has the potential to become one of the world’s top gas producers, thanks to its 34 tcm of natural gas reserves which count for 18% of the world’s total. The after sanction’s Iran has to deal with a number of critical issues in order to exploit and benefit from its potential.

Iran’s oil and gas sector is critical to the country’s economy and the Iranian government has been unable to satisfy its domestic natural gas demand while natural gas is injected to maintain oil production. Iran needs foreign capital and know how. However, it is a big question for international oil companies (IOCs) what will be the terms that Iran is prepared to offer. In this context the current low oil-price environment is not at all ideal. Iran’s opening comes at a time of strong competition and an oversupply of the LNG market in sight. However, the country’s priority remains to export any surplus gas in a regional level to countries such Pakistan, Iraq and Oman.

Zohr: an unexpected discovery

Last but not least, in the 30th of August the Italian giant Eni Spa announced a massive natural – gas discovery of the coast of Egypt. The discovery in the Zohr field is estimated at about 30 bcm and Eni plans to start drilling in early 2016 and estimates for production to commence in the year after.

This discovery is definitely a game changer not only for Egypt, which will be able to cover its own demand and become again a net exporter but also for the international gas markets and the European one in particular. Egypt can become another supplier of natural gas to the EU adding an important element in strengthening the long term security of supply of the union.


Due to LNG trade the regional natural gas market are connecting. A price convergence between Europe and Asia Pacific is already happening, while the commence of exportation of LNG from the US is expected to strengthen the connectivity of import prices in different regions, hence strengthen the globalization of gas pricing.

In Europe the role of spot pricing will continue to grow as this is what the EU energy policy stands for, however, long term oil linked contracts are going to remain dominant in the short and middle term. Europe’s main challenge toward the energy transition remains whether EU energy policy will be directed by soft laws or will leave the sovereign power of the states and be governed by the institutional bodies of the union.

The LNG strategy to be published in early 2016 by the European Commission is expected to define a single European strategy probably with more powers at the hands of the union’s institutional bodies.

All in all, the main challenges ahead for the international gas markets though, derive from the supply side and the Asian market with Japan restarting its nuclear program, Korean demand dropping and China revising its growth rates as concerns over the country’s economic growth fueled world slump in global markets. The growth in Chinese energy intensive sector for 2014 was dramatically below the 10 year average foreshadowing a drop a in the energy demand of the country which will impact the whole world.

Charting the Upsurge in Hydropower Development 2015, World Energy Resources

AEL Updates September 2015 Posted on Sun, September 27, 2015 19:42:49

The hydropower sector is set to double in potential to 2,000GW capacity by 2050. It has enjoyed healthy growth in capacity worldwide over the last decade as stakeholders continue to value the potential of hydropower development to help meet growing energy demand. Hydropower’s stock is also set to rise thanks to the multiple roles hydro projects can fulfil, particularly in climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, there remain a number of challenges where the potential effects of new developments on local environments and communities.

World Energy Resources Report 2015: Charting the Upsurge in Hydropower Development is a critical and expansive review of the current state and trends within the hydropower sector, examining the sector’s development from technological, economic and socio-political perspectives. The report highlights the key opportunities for further growth in the sector, along with the major challenges it must overcome in realising its future potential. The study will feed into the upcoming World Energy Resources and the World Energy Scenarios, two of the World Energy Council flagship publications. It is aimed at assisting key decision makers ensure hydropower development is managed in the most sustainable manner possible.

Download publication files:

Regulators’ Bridge to 2025 actions advance the Energy Union Strategy, Brussels, 24 September 2015

AEL Updates September 2015 Posted on Fri, September 25, 2015 23:31:13

Today’s one-year anniversary for the “Bridge to 2025” Conclusions Paper is a testimony to the strong link between regulators’ “Bridge” actions and the Energy Union strategy, and our engagement in:

• promoting liquid, competitive and integrated wholesale markets and a new deal for consumers;
• enhancing Europe’s security of supply; and
• moving to a low carbon society with more renewables and smart, flexible responsive energy.

Regulators’ “Bridge to 2025” Conclusions Paper, launched in September 2014, recommends a set of actions for regulators, Member States, the European Commission and energy actors (including consumers).

Delivering the Energy Union through dialogue and collective action

One year on from the Bridge launch, regulators are already realising results focused on:
• strong stakeholder engagement to deliver the Energy Union strategy
• linking wholesale & retail markets in an integrated Internal Energy Market (IEM)
• new governance arrangements fit for an integrated market
• strengthening interactions with regulators within and outside the EU including through regulatory capacity-building along IEM principles.

Lord Mogg, Chairman of ACER’s Board of Regulators and President of CEER, underlined the importance of continuous stakeholder engagement and delivering tangible benefits to consumers:

“Strong commitment and collective action by all energy actors, consumers and the Institutions is key to delivering the Energy Union strategy. Our forward-looking work on distribution networks and retail markets should help bridge the gap between wholesale and retail markets.”

ACER ready to play a stronger role

ACER Director, Alberto Pototschnig, stated:

“Completion of the Internal Energy Market is at the core of the Energy Union Strategy. An integrated market, with an increased interaction between electricity and gas sectors, requires even greater cooperation among all actors and a fit for purpose governance and regulatory framework. ACER stands ready to play a greater role in a more robust regulatory oversight of the wholesale energy market, to reinforce regulatory cooperation and oversee the evolving role of network operators and other bodies. This requires firm commitments and action by all of us and effective monitoring.”

Regulators, in close cooperation with stakeholders, are contributing to delivering the Energy Union through ACER’s work on (post-2014) Internal Energy Market completion, infrastructure development, wholesale market monitoring, Gas Target Model implementation and a review of the Electricity Target Model. Concrete examples of CEER’s work include an assessment of the new role distribution system operators (DSOs) will play in the future IEM, advice on data management, forward-thinking work across a number of areas including security of gas supply, gas storage, well-functioning retail markets and future renewables support schemes in Europe, and continuing efforts to better engage consumer bodies in the regulatory process.

To read the full press release with Notes for Editors, please click here.

The Intersection of Politics and Civil Society in Albania: Collaborative Policy to Support the Sector is Possible By Elvira Felix on September 18, 2015

AEL Updates September 2015 Posted on Sun, September 20, 2015 20:31:21

Twenty-five years after the collapse of the Albanian communist
government, Albania continues to experience the growing pains of a
democratic transition. Throughout the years, the presence of a strong
and active civil society has been a key factor in the democratization of
Albania. Yet, civil society in Albania has continued to struggle to
maintain their significance as advocates for citizens’ concerns.

Historically, civil society in the Balkans has been at the center of
progressive change; dozens of prominent activists in the region have
used civil society as a springboard for political careers. However,
their entry into politics has proven to be controversial, at times even
weakening or detrimental to the organizations left behind. These
incidents have also triggered a broader debate about the intersection of
politics, civil society and European aid in the region. Still, others
argue these cases show the vitality of civil society, validating its
influence and its successful penetration into politics.

Nonetheless, the cases of using civil society as a catalyst to push
political agendas have shaken many citizens’ belief in civil-society
initiatives. This consequently creates the opportunity for those against
civil society to disenfranchise and disenable productive civil society
spaces. In addition, the nuances of the bureaucratic legal and
regulatory frameworks have been affecting civil society’s development
and operation in the country. As a result, needed reforms and
democratization have been slow to unfold within this political dynamic.

This has yet to stop Partners Albania’s efforts to address the most
pressing issues for civil society development and citizen participation.
Partners Albania has developed new frameworks that contribute to
increased cooperation between civil society actors, and both local and
national governments. By promoting new legislation that legitimizes and
sanctions citizen participation processes, and by utilizing
participatory methods to implement current policies, Partners Albania
has made strides to integrate change and conflict management in a
meaningful way. Their methods have encouraged new models of
participatory governance and cooperative planning.

Regardless of the corrupt use of civil society by a few individuals
or debased policies, civil society is recognized as an indispensable
social partner and will continue to be an integral part of the
decision-making process in the country. Given the importance of civil
society participation, the Albanian government has incorporated a yearly
national conference that addresses civil society concerns, entitled
“Social Partners – Time for Action.”

Civil Society Milestones

ensure action and progress after the conference, Partners Albania led
the “Enabling Environment for Civil Society” Working Group; an assembly
of NGO leaders and civil society experts that were in close cooperation
with the Prime Minister’s office. Together with Parliament, the group
engaged in a joint process to adapt the necessary strategic documents
and national mechanisms for State and civil society partnerships.

The establishment of this cooperative approach between the NGO sector
and the government shows that despite their differences, it is possible
to develop long-term dialogue with state bodies. As a result of this
constructive dialogue, several policies and developments were achieved
to advance civil society’s impact:

  • Adoption of the first charter
    that recognized and established concrete commitments by the Albanian
    Parliament entitled, “Recognition and Strengthening of Civil Society’s
    Role in the Democratic Development Process.” The charter was the first
    documentation to legalize principles of cooperation and to establish
    accountability for both civil society and Parliament;
  • Preparation of a first draft law for the establishment of the
    National Council for Civil Society, an independent advisory body to the
    Council of Ministers. The establishment of this council will guarantee
    civil society organizations’ equal representation and participation in
    the discussion and decision-making processes within state policies. The
    council will now have the opportunity to encourage sustainable
    development of civil society in the country;
  • Adoption of the Law 92/2014 — Value Added Tax in the Republic of
    Albania, which introduces a series of important, fiscal changes for the
    improved treatment of civil society organizations, providing clarity for
    the economic activity of non-profits.

Bridging Politics and Civil Society

Most people in the Balkans regard political leaders as synonymous
with greed and incompetence; civil society therefore is playing a vital
role for Albanian citizens’ oversight and involvement in government
decisions. Overall, civil society groups such as NGOs are seen as an
important counterbalance to bad government, representing the needs of
the people to those in power. In this sense civil society groups have a
political purpose; however, civil society organizations’ credibility
often stems from their distance from political parties. Likewise,
politicians can be criticized for appearing to align themselves with
some in the civil society sector too openly.

In Albania the roles of politics, government and civil society are
often seen as black and white. However, in order for there to be a
thriving and prosperous Albania, civil society must be able to work with
political leaders and government officials outside of any one political
agenda. Partners Albania is demonstrating that this kind of
collaboration is possible and can produce better results. The “Enabling
Environment for Civil Society” Working Group has produced concrete
policies through a truly participatory process. Ultimately, it will help
civil society organizations to consolidate as they continue to play
their needed role in a more open and democratic Albania.

Although Partners Albania has helped to establish noteworthy
advancements for civil society, there is still much work to be done.
NGOs need to continue to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring
institutions and the enforcement of new laws that support civil
society’s role in a democratic society. Under the auspices of the
Working Group, Parliament will also continue to monitor and measure the
progress of civil society’s enabling environment yearly by revising and
setting new objectives to improve the sector. Together with other local
NGOs, Partners Albania is committed to fostering this collaborative
space for ongoing feedback and improvement of the legal framework, and
to help oversee the proper implementation of the current laws.

Albania – the regional loser of the “Vienna Summit”, Interview with GERI SELENICA, Published on 14.09.2015 at MONITOR magazines

AEL Updates September 2015 Posted on Fri, September 18, 2015 19:03:29

Just a few days ago at the “Vienna Summit” there were discussed
infrastructure projects for the 6 Western Balkan countries between the leaders
of the region and the EU. You were present in many economic meetings. What was
discussed there and what was said about their financing?

First, let us analyze in a cause and
effect line, to clarify for your readers on what is the “Berlin
Process”, what is the “Connectivity Agenda” of the EU, what are the
“Trans European Corridors” and then what was achieved at the
“Western Balkans Summit Vienna 2015” and what did Albania win.

The so-called “Berlin Process” is an original
initiative of the German Government and Chancellor Merkel to accelerate the
integration of 6 Western Balkan countries in the EU (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosova,
Montenegro, FYROM, Serbia and Albania). One of the instruments that are used
for this purpose is to accelerate and support the “Connectivity
Agenda” of the European Commission for these countries. This is a very
positive thing economically, as the basic reason why these Balkan countries are
economically underdeveloped is because they are far away from the main markets
and the economic epicenters. In short, they are some remote areas of Europe.
Improved connectivity with the most developed countries of Europe, as well as
between the Balkan countries themselves (regional market expansion) is the most
important step to increase their economic potential. The “EU Connectivity
Agenda” provides capital investments in better connecting their
infrastructures in transport (road, rail, river, port, airport) and in energy
(electricity and gas). In fact, it should have been included also the broadband
internet infrastructure. The “Connectivity Agenda” foresees also
legislative improvement in the transport and energy sectors by some “Soft
Measures”. These are combined with technical support from SEETO (
and the Energy Community Secretariat (

The development of transport in the EU is governed
by a program called “TEN-T” – “Trans European Transport
Network”. TEN-T has identified 9 trans-European transport corridors, out of
which 3 run through the Balkans (2 of them in Albania: “Med” and
“Orient / East Med” Corridors). These corridors have two layers: the “Core
Network”, which carries the most important flows of passengers and goods
and the “Comprehensive Network”, which provides access to the main
network. The “Core Network” projects are the priority projects which
are legitimized for possible funding from the EU over the next six years.

There have been several meetings in support of the “Berlin
Process” at the level of prime ministers, ministers and experts. The
second meeting of prime ministers was the “Western Balkans Summit Vienna
2015”. At this summit, the 6 Balkan countries I believe had much higher
expectations, but the Commissioner Hahn cut them short by saying that “the
EU is not an ATM”. In fact, every initiative has its bill to be backed up.
The real bill to implement 100% the “Connectivity Agenda” for 6
Western Balkan countries is over 30 billion euros. According to studies, a
total of over 100 billion euros are needed in investment in the 6 Western
Balkan countries, in order to make competitive and sustainable their economies.

In Vienna was not mentioned any investment figure
(other than the 1 billion euros Commissioner Hahn has launched time ago), but
simply were presented projects or better saying some pre-identified project,
that were discussed in advance at the technical level with the EU and were held
political speeches, especially for the energy. EU published a list of intended project
in the infrastructure of the transport (TEN-T Extension Indicative Core Network
to Western Balkans) and of the electricity (Electricity Infrastructure Projects
of Energy Community Interest – PECI).

The EU presented a list of ten mini projects that
were ready to co-finance, under “Pre-Accession Program”, 4 in energy
and 6 in transport, worth 616 million euro, which benefited from a grant of 205
million euros. Albania won only one power project – “the interconnection
with FYROM” and received 14 million euro grant and did not win any transport

I do not know exactly what projects did Albania
present to the EU, but the EU presented 24 transport projects, out of which
Albania received only 1 project.

Here are the 24
that were presented:

Bosnia and
Herzegovina, 5 projects:

1 – border highway Croatia / Bosnia –
Sarajevo – Ploče;

2 – railway Bosanski Šamac / Šamac – Sarajevo;

3 – Sarajevo Airport;

4 – border highway Croatia /
Bosnia-Gradiška-Banja Luka-Travnik;

5 – Port of Brčko.

Kosova, 3

1 – highway Niš-Pristhina;

2 – highway Prishtina – Kosova / FYROM

3 – railway Kraljevo – Prishtina –
Gorce Petrov;

Montenegro, 3

1 – highway Croatia / Montenegro border – Bar
– Montenegro / Albania border – Lezhe – Albania / Greece border;

2 – railway Belgrade – (Vrbnica) –

3 – highway Belgrade – Bar;


1 – highway Kichevo – Gostivar;

2 – common railway station Tabanovce –
Serbia / FYROM border;

3 – railway Beljakovce – FYROM /
Bulgaria border;

4 – highway Rankovce – Kriva Palanka –
border FYROM / Bulgaria;

Serbia, 13

1 – railway Niš – Dimitrovgrad – Serbia / Bulgaria border;

2 – railway Belgrade – Novi Sad –
Serbia / Hungary border;

3 – railway Belgrade – Niš;

4 – highway / Belgrade Ring (Strazevica-Bubanj

5 – highway Niš – Prishtina;

6 – common railway station Tabanovce –
Serbia / FYROM border;

7 – railway Belgrade – (Vrbnica) –

8 – highway Belgrade – Bar;

9/10 – two projects on the Sava River;

11/12 – two projects on the Danube

13 – Intermodal Terminal in Belgrade.

Albania, 1 project:

1 – highway Croatia/Montenegro border – Bar
–MN/Albania border – Lezhe– AL/Greece border, which in Albania includes studies and works for sections
Thumane – Kashar/Vorë, Lezhe bypass and Tirana bypass.
Studies ongoing, works needed on Tepelena bypass.

As you see, Albania has received very little from
the EU or demanded too little from the EU. For this you can ask the Albanian

For this, you do blame the Albanian authorities or the EU?

I believe that the main responsibility
for this falls on the Albanian government, because according to EU Commission
the National Investment Committees, I do not know whether such a one exists in
Albania, are responsible for determining and managing the priorities of the
national projects (Single Project Pipelines) and should serve as the basis for
programming of all possible sources of financing (including domestic and other

With our domestic and foreign experts we have
made it clear many times and with many scientific arguments to the Albanian
government, that in addition to “Adriatic-Ionian (Blue) Highway” (or
“Mediterranean Corridor” – EU classification), they should have
presented to EU also these very strategic projects, as “TEN-T Core Networks”:

1 – highway Elbasan – Qafe Thane – Kapshtice /
Albania-Greek border;

2 – railway AL-Greek border / Kapshtice-Pogradeci-Hani
Hoti / AL-Montenegro border.

Perhaps also these additional projects, to meet our full
transportation needs:

3 – Railways Milot-Prizren / Kosova

4 – Spitalla Multimodal Terminal integrated with
Durres Port or Porto Romano.

EU may classify these projects as “Med” or
“Orient/East Med” Corridors. In my opinion, the EU has not paid the proper
attention to the “Adriatic/Med Corridor” and much less to Albania. In
fact, I raised this issue in Vienna in the meeting with the director of the
expansion of the European Commission responsible for Albania, Mr. Jean Eric
Paquet, and I gave him a written note (including Commissioners Hahn and Bulc),
which consisted of:

– the total exclusion from the EU corridors of the
“Adriatic Aegean (Blue) Railway” (Croatia-Montenegro-Albania-Greece) and

– the total exclusion of Albania from the TEN-T
Railway Corridors for the Western Balkans, thus de-facto isolating us from the
European rail connections.

Many Balkan high officials considered very right my
observations and I have official information from the Croatian and Greek
government, that they would strongly support by the EU the above two issues. The
Albanian government has given us no answer so far.

Geopolitically, if there isn’t any EU technical negligence
or any incompetence on our part, reading the list of projects and their categorization
in “TEN-T Core Networks” and “Comprehensive Networks” seems
very clear that the EU strongly supports “Corridor 10” versus
“Adriatic Corridor”.

Hence these projects are indicative and not final,
there should be done a great work from the governments of Albania, Croatia,
Montenegro and Greece, to change this reality at the EU.

How the EU does fund these projects?

The European Commission, via the Western
Balkans Investment Framework – WBIF, co-finances only mature energy projects
from the list of PECI (Projects Interest Energy Community) and mature transport
projects from the “TEN-T Core Network” list, in cooperation with
international financial institutions.

We must understand that the EU has its own financial
problems. Investments in the EU have fallen from 3 trillion euros in 2007 to
2.6 trillion euros in 2013. To fill up this gap in EU investments, President
Juncker has launched the European Investment Strategic Plan (EFSI) of 315
billion euros. The novelty of this plan is that through innovative financial
mechanisms, it will enable attraction of third parties capital in the EU
investments, including investments in “Connectivity Agenda” for the 6
Western Balkan countries. This is good news, as the EU will allow the capitals
from the third parties and in fact capitals of third parties that can
realistically be absorbed are mainly the Chinese capitals. President Juncker
agreed in principle with Prime Minister Li Keqiang in May 2015 in Brussels for
the establishment of a China-EU Investment Platform, which will materialize
during the visit of President Juncker at the end of this month in Beijing. So
the EU co-financier may be even China. Especially the Balkans is a good part of
the Chinese strategy “Silk Road Economic Belt”, which has as entry
points in Europe the Port of Piraeus and Istanbul. At several meetings in
Vienna, this was admitted also from the top executives of EU financial
institutions, provided that Chinese financing should be carried out according
to EU banking institutions rules.

But almost all transportation projects, even if
financed or co-financed by third parties are not really self-payable and
affordable for the poor Balkan countries. So there must be an EU financial
support in the form of grants or traffic guarantees. So the classification of
our projects as “TEN-T Core Network” increases the theoretical
possibility of obtaining EU funding and support.

So without the real commitment of the EU, the financing of these projects
will be put in difficulty?

In a great extent yes. In my view, the
Vienna meeting was a political meeting without much real tangible economic
value to the implementation of the “Berlin Process”. I believe, and this
opinion had many prime ministers and leaders of the Balkans, the EU is not really
focused and has not taken seriously the Western Balkans. Simply is keeping them
with promises. If the EU would take seriously our 6 countries, as seriously as
they took Greece, with a fraction of the funding that is helping Greece, EU could
make tremendous contribution to our 6 countries.

How is the issue of “Blue Corridor”? What is this project?

“Blue Corridor” is the most
strategic artery linking Albania with Europe and is a great success that EU
classified it few months ago as part of the EU “Med Corridor”. As the
highway is concerned, it must be built from Ploče, Croatia to Ioannina,
Greece (according to the EU). A very positive achievement of the Croatian, Montenegrin
and Albanian Governments is that they determined the right approximate crossing
points of this highway from Debeli Brijeg and somewhere between Muriqan and Velipoja.
The exact track will emerge from the detailed feasibility study and the final
project, which will be funded by the EU immediately. The greatest financial and
engineering difficulty of this highway is in Montenegro, due to its mountainous
terrain and financial constraints, although 10 km of this highway will be provided
as a grant from Azerbaijan’s Socar.

In our opinion, which I have said many times to
Albanian and Greek governments and to EU, the “Blue Highway”
connection with Greece via Kakavija is out of economic logic. We have brought
in facts that the Kapshtica connection is better, because:

– the highway route via Kakavija needs other 70km new
highway up to the Egnatia Motorway A2 south of Ioannina. And still it nees over
100 km of new motorway (A5) to connect with Athens. While A2 Egnatia motorway
has reached 3 km south of Kapshtica (Ieropigi). So via Kapshtica Greece does
not need to build a new highway.

Tirana-Athens via Kapshtica is 100 km less than via Kakavija.

– According to the socio-economic study, Kapshtica
route serves faster and better 90% of the Greek economy and population, living
in the north and south of Greece.

– Kapshtica route is about 200 km closer to Istanbul,
than via Kakavija.

– Kapshtica route makes “Blue Highway” and
“Egnatia Highway” more competitive against Corridors 4, 10 and 8. The
distance Piraeus-Tirana-Trieste will be 150 km shorter than the
Piraeus-Belgrade-Trieste and Istanbul-Tirana Trieste only 75 km longer than the

– Kapshtica route is integrated for 120 km from
Tirana to Qaf Thane with the Corridor 8, thus increasing significantly and the
profitability of this route.

Since the EU and the Albanian government want
Kakavija connection with Greece, then it is an urgent task for the Albanian
government to classify the segment Qaf Thane – Kapshtice as a “TEN-T Core
Network”. Either as a “Med Corridor”, or as an “Orient /
East Med Corridor”. But its lack of classification as a “TEN-T Core
Network” will automatically exclude it from the financial support of the
EU. Also Greek transport officials and experts prefer Kapshtica as the best
link between the two countries.

We believe that “Blue Highway” has been
designed as a major European artery, that beside serving our modest economies and
our scarce populations, would better serve bigger European traffic flows, as 25
million tourists go every year to Greece or 30 million tourists go to Turkey,
goods coming from Turkey, the Middle East, the Far East, China and for the EU
goods exported eastwards.

What is the “Blue Railway”?

The “Med Corridor”, in
addition to motorway, should also include a railway. But it is missing in materials
distributed in “Vienna Summit”. It’s a fact that Croatia does not
have any study on this. Montenegro and Bosnia have made a study funded by the
EU, to link Montenegrin railway from Nikšic with the Bosnian one
in Čaplinja. Albania is conducting a study for the railway master plan funded
by the EBRD. I do not know if this study will include 52 km of new railway
line, connecting Pogradec and Kapshtica
(Greek border). Greece, for its part, has included its railroad to Kapshtica as
“TEN-T Core Network” and surprisingly “TEN-T Core Network” stops
in Albania!!!

Based on the vision expressed above, we are the main
promoters of the Blue Railway (Kalabaka/Florina-Kapshtica-Pogradec-HaniHotit-Nikšic-Čaplinja-Ploče-Split) and we have
protested to the EU for failing to include it in the “TEN-T Core Network”.
The partial railway solutions that we have heard from Albanian officials (as Tiranë-Hani i
Hotit or Vlorë-Hani i Hotit or Lin-Durrës)
are not logical, because if the railways do not cross Albania from North to
South and serve to the international freights, there will be no future. Albania
has neither the goods nor the passengers in sufficient quantities to make
profitable a railroad. With a clear economic vision and a solid political will
the “Blue Railways” may turn in a more feasible option than the “Rail
Corridor 10”. This needs a strong lobbying by the EU, supported by serious
studies and arguments, which thankfully Albanian government will have soon, from
the study funded by EBRD (which should have funded itself long time ago).

How is Albania positioned and what might be its economic and strategic benefits?

I cannot give an exact answer on this,
as it needs serious studies, but our preliminary assumptions shows that traversing
Albania from South to North, from the East and Northeast to the West makes it an
important transit hub. This would have a much greater value if the Port of
Durres or Porto Romano will be developed as a regional “hub”, as the
Chinese are doing with the Port of Piraeus. But too much depends on the
interest of global shipping players.

At what stage is Albania compared with other West Balkan countries? What
difficulties are encountered to be coherent with them?

What I have seen so far, all countries
in the region are far ahead with making projects. While here I have not seen
any serious project. In the opposite the only high value road that our
government is constructing, that enters in the natural space of EU corridors,
is a quite unnecessary investment of 150 million euros, 2 lane Road Qukës-Qafe
Plloce. A mountain road, out of which 20 km will be built from 1’000m up to 1’300m
altitude in the mountains of Mokra. Actually is totally impassable in the winter,
for whom knows the area, with temperatures reaching below -20’C. For your information,
Korca is only 800m above sea level. It will shorten the distance in relation to
the route from Pogradec just 3km. So a project with no parameters, at which our
foreign experts laugh at, that ‘de-facto’ was “designed” by a former deputy
minister of the last government, simply to obtain in a corrupt way the Arab funding.
This is very shameful and irresponsible misuse of our public funds. We have
notified about this the prime minister and many ministers.

How should lobby Albania? What should consider the Albanian government?

In Tirana they might be happy only with
the “Blue Highway”, but I repeat again, the Albanian government
should immediately submit to the EU additional major projects. As a minimum, it
should seek urgently the inclusion of the second link with Greece “Elbasan-Kapshtica
Highway” and “Kapshtica-Hani Hotit Railway” in “TEN-T Core Network”.
They should not stop at the “Blue Highway”. Look at the surrounding countries.
All have introduced any project that they need, even they have been able to
classify many in the “TEN-T Core Network”. Needless to mention the projects
and the countries. You would better check the maps approved at the “Vienna

Shqipëria, humbësja rajonale e “Samitit të Vjenës”, Interviste me Geri Selenica, Revista MONITOR 14.9.2015

AEL Updates September 2015 Posted on Tue, September 15, 2015 14:03:24

Vetëm pak ditë më parë në Samitin e
Vjenës u diskutuan projektet infrastrukturore të 6 vendeve të Ballkanit Perëndimor
midis liderëve të rajonit dhe BE-së. Ju ishit prezent në shumë takime
ekonomike. Çfarë u diskutua aty dhe çfarë u tha për financimin e tyre?

GERI SELENICA: Së pari, le t’i shtjellojmë
në një linjë shkak-pasojë, që të qartësojmë për lexuesit tuaj së ç’është
“Procesi i Berlinit”, ç’është “Axhenda e Konektivitetit” të BE-së, ç’janë “Korridoret
Trans-Europiane” dhe pastaj çfarë u arrit në “Mbledhjen e Vjenës për Ballkanin Perëndimor 2015” dhe çfarë
fitoi Shqipëria.

“Procesi i Berlinit”
është një nismë fillestare e qeverisë gjermane dhe e Kancelares Merkel për të përshpejtuar
integrimin e 6 vendeve të Ballkanit Perëndimor në BE (Bosnjë-Hercegovinës,
Kosovës, Malit të Zi, Maqedonisë, Serbisë dhe Shqipërisë). Një nga instrumentet
që po përdoret për këtë qëllim është përshpejtimi dhe mbështetja e “Axhendës së
Konektivitetit” të Komisionit Europian për këto vende. Kjo është një gjë shumë pozitive
nga ana ekonomike, pasi arsyeja bazë që këto vende të Ballkanit janë të pazhvilluara
ekonomikisht është se janë larg tregjeve dhe epiqendrave ekonomike. Shkurt, janë
disa zona të thella të Europës. Përmirësimi i lidhjes me vendet më të zhvilluara
të Europës, si dhe nëpërmjet vetë vendeve të Ballkanit (zgjerimi i tregut
rajonal) është hapi më i rëndësishëm për rritjen e potencialeve të tyre
ekonomike. “Axhenda e Konektiviteit” parashikon investime kapitale në ndërlidhjen
e infrastrukturave të transportit (rrugore, hekurudhore, lumore, portuale,
aeroportuale) dhe ato energjetike (elektricitet e gaz). Madje, duhej të ishte përfshirë
dhe infrastruktura e internetit broadband. “Axhenda” parashikon dhe përmirësimin
e sektorëve të transportit dhe energjetikës nga ana legjislative me disa “Soft
Measures” (Masa të Buta). Këto janë kombinuar edhe me një mbështetje teknike
nga SEETO ( Sekretariati i Komunitetit të Energjisë

Zhvillimi i transportit
në BE udhëhiqet nga një program i quajtur “TEN-T” – “Trans European Transport
Network” – (Rrjeti Trans-Europian i Transportit). TEN-T ka identifikuar 9
korridore transporti trans-europianë, nga të cilat 3 zgjaten nëpër Ballkan (2
nga to në Shqipëri: Korridoret “Med” dhe “Orient/East Med”). Këto korridore kanë
dy shtresa: “Core Network” (Rrjetin Kryesor), i cili mbart flukset më të
rëndësishme të pasagjerëve dhe mallrave dhe “Comprehensive Network” (Rrjetin
Gjithëpërfshirës/Mbështetës), i cili siguron qasje në rrjetin kryesor. Projektet
prioritare përgjatë seksioneve të këtyre korridoreve dhe pjesët më të
rëndësishme të “Core Network” legjitimohen për financim të mundshëm nga BE
gjatë gjashtë viteve të ardhshme.

Janë bërë disa takime
në mbështetje të “Procesit të Berlinit” në nivele kryeministrash, ministrash
dhe ekspertësh. Takimi i dytë në nivel kryeministrash ishte “Mbledhja e Vjenës
e Ballkanit Perëndimor 2015”. Në këtë mbledhje, 6 vendet e Ballkanit besoj që kishin
pritshmëri shumë më të madhe, por Komisioneri Hahn jua preu shkurt duke ju thënë
që “BE nuk është një bankomat”. Në fakt, çdo nismë e ka një faturë nga mbrapa.
Fatura reale për ta zbatuar 100% “Axhendën e Konektivitetit” për 6 vendet e
Ballkanit Perëndimor është mbi 30 miliardë euro. Sipas studimeve, në total
duhen mbi 100 miliardë euro investime në të 6 vendet e Ballkanit Perëndimor, që
këto vende të jenë konkurruese dhe me ekonomi të qëndrueshme.

Në Vjenë nuk u tha ndonjë
shifër investimesh, (përveç 1 miliard euro që Komisioneri Hahn e ka lançuar më
parë), por thjesht u paraqitën projekte ose më saktë projektide, që ishin
diskutuar që më parë në nivel teknik me BE-në dhe u mbajtën fjalime politike,
sidomos për energjinë. BE publikoi një listë me projektide në infrastrukturën e
transportit (Indicative Extension TEN-T Core Network to Western Balkans) dhe atë
elektrike (Electricity Infrastructure Projects of Energy Community Interest – PECI).

Sa për të thyer
akullin e financimeve, BE paraqiti një listë me dhjetë miniprojekte që ishin
gati për bashkëfinancim që më parë, në kuadrin e “Programit
të Paraanëtarësimit”. Katër në energjetikë dhe gjashtë në transport, me vlerë
616 milionë euro, të cilat përfituan një grant prej 205 milionë eurosh. Shqipëria
kishte vetëm 1 projekt energjetik, “Linjën e interkoneksionit me Maqedoninë”
dhe përfitoi 14 milionë euro grant dhe asnjë projekt në transport.

Nuk e di saktë se ç’projektide ka paraqitur Shqipëria
pranë BE-së, por di saktë që BE përzgjodhi 24 projekte transporti dhe Shqipëria
përfitoi vetëm 1 projekt.

Ja konkretisht si u shpërndanë 24 projektet:

Bosnja dhe Hercegovina, 5 projekte:

1 – Autostrada
kufiri Kroaci/Bosnjë – Sarajevë – Ploce;

2 – Hekurudhë
Bosanski Šamac/Šamac – Sarajevë;

3 – Aeroporti
i Sarajevës;

4 –
Autostrada kufiri Kroaci/Bosnjë–Gradiška–Banja Luka–Travnik;

5 –
Porti i Brčkos.

Kosova, 3 projekte:

1 –
Autostrada Nish-Prishtinë;

2 –
Autostrada Prishtinë – kufiri Kosovë/Maqedoni;

3 –
Hekurudha Kraljevo – Prishtinë – Gorce Petrov;

Mali i Zi, 3 projekte:

1 – Autostrada e Kaltër (Rijeka–Ploce–Tivar–Durrës–Igumenicë);

2 –
Hekurudha Beograd – (Vrbnica) – Tivar;

3 –
Autostrada Beograd – Tivar;

Maqedonia, 4 projekte:

1 – Autostrada Kërçovë –

2 –
Stacion i përbashkët hekurudhor në Tabanovce Serbi/Maqedoni;

3 –
Hekurudha Beljakovce – kufiri Maqedoni/Bullgari;

4 –
Autostrada Rankovce – Kriva Palanka – kufiri Maqedoni/Bullgari;

Serbia 13 projekte:

1 – Hekurudha Nish –
Dimitrovgrad – kufiri Serbi/Bullgari;

2 –
Hekurudha Beograd – Novi Sad – kufiri Serbi/Hungari;

3 –
Hekurudha Beograd – Nish;

4 – Autostrada/Unaza
e Beogradit (Strazevica-Bubanj Potok);

5 –
Autostrada Nish – Prishtinë;

6 –
Stacion i përbashkët hekurudhor në Tabanovce Serbi/Maqedoni;

7 –
Hekurudha Beograd – (Vrbnica) – Tivar;

8 –
Autostrada Beograd – Tivar;

9/10 –
dy projekte për lumin Sava;

11/12 –
dy projekte për lumin Danub;

13 –
Terminali intermodal i Beogradit.

Shqipëria 1 projekt:

1 – Autostrada e Kaltër (Rijeka–Tivar–Durrës–Igumenicë), që në Shqipëri përfshin
studimin paraprak, dizajnin e detajuar, EIA dhe punimet për pjesët Thumanë –
Kashar/Vorë, bajpasin e Lezhës, unazën e Tiranës dhe veprat e nevojshme në
bajpasin e Tepelenës.

Siç e shikoni Shqipëria
ka marrë shumë pak nga BE ose ka kërkuar shumë pak nga BE. Për këtë mund të pyesni
autoritetet shqiptare.

Për këtë, ju bëni me faj autoritetet
shqiptare apo BE-në?

GERI SELENICA: Besoj që përgjegjësia
kryesore për këtë i bie qeverisë shqiptare, pasi sipas BE-së, Komitetet e
Investimeve Kombëtare (National Investment Committees), që nuk e di nëse ekziston
një i tillë në Shqipëri, janë përgjegjëse për përcaktimin e menaxhimin e
prioriteteve të projekteve kombëtare (Single Project Pipelines) dhe duhet të shërbejnë
si bazë për programimin e të gjitha burimeve të mundshme të financimit të tyre
(duke përfshirë donatorë vendas dhe të tjerë).

Ne me ekspertët tanë,
vendas dhe të huaj, ua kemi bërë të qartë shumë herë dhe me shumë argumente
shkencore qeverisë shqiptare, që përveç “Autostradës së Kaltër” siç i themi ne,
ose “Mediterranean Corridor” (klasifikim i BE), duhej të paraqiteshin dhe këto projekte
shumë strategjike në BE, si “TEN-T Core Networks”:

1 – Autostrada
Elbasan-Qafë Thanë-Kapshticë;

2 – Hekurudha Kapshticë-Pogradec-Hani
i Hotit.

Mbase edhe këto projekte
shtesë, që t’i plotësojmë nevojat tona të transportit:

1 – Hekurudha

2 – Terminali
Multimodal i Spitallës i integruar me Portin e Durrësit ose më mirë me Porto

BE mund t’i klasifikojë
këto projekte ose në “Korridorin Mesdhetar” ose në “Korridorin Orient East
Med”. Për mendimin tim, BE nuk i ka kushtuar vëmendjen e duhur “Korridorit
Adriatik/Mesdhetar” dhe aq më pak Shqipërisë. Në fakt, unë e ngrita këtë çështje
në Vjenë në takimin me drejtorin e zgjerimit të Komisionit Europian, përgjegjës
për Shqipërinë, zotin Jean Eric Paquet, dhe ia dhashë me shkrim vërejtjet (përfshirë
Komisionerëve Hahn dhe Bulc), që konsistonin në:

– mospërfshirjen
totale në këto korridore të “Hekurudhës së Kaltër”, Kroaci-Mali i Zi-Shqipëri-Greqi

– përjashtimin total
të Shqipërisë nga korridoret hekurudhore TEN-T për Ballkanin Perëndimor, duke
na izoluar de-fakto nga lidhjet hekurudhore europiane.

Shumë zyrtarë
ballkanikë i quajtën me shumë vend këto vërejtje dhe kam informacion zyrtar nga
qeveria kroate dhe greke, që do t’i mbështesin fuqimisht në BE dy çështjet e mësipërme.
Nga qeveria shqiptare nuk kam përgjigje.

Nga pikëpamja
gjeopolitike, nëse nuk ka ndonjë pakujdesi teknike në BE dhe paaftësi nga ana
jonë, duke lexuar listën e projekteve dhe kategorizimet e tyre në “TEN-T Core Networks”
dhe “Comprehensive Networks” duket shumë qartë që BE mbështet fuqimisht
“Korridorin 10” kundrejt “Korridorit Adriatik”.

Meqë këto projekte janë
indikative dhe jopërfundimtare mbetet një punë shumë e madhe e qeverive
shqiptare, kroate, malazeze e greke, që ta ndryshojnë këtë realitet pranë BE-së.

Si i financon BE këto projekte?

GERI SELENICA: Komisioni Europian,
nëpërmjet Kornizës Investuese për Ballkanin Perëndimor (Western Balkans
Investment Framework – WBIF), bashkëfinancon vetëm projekte të pjekura në energjetikë
nga lista e PECI (Projektet e Interesit të Komunitetit të Energjisë) dhe
projekte të pjekur në transport nga lista e “TEN-T Core Network”, në bashkëpunim
me institucione financiare ndërkombëtare.

Duhet të kuptojmë që BE ka vetë problemet e saj financiare. Investimet në
BE kanë rënë nga 3 triliardë euro në 2007 në 2,6 triliardë euro në 2013. Për të
plotësuar këtë mangësi në investime, Presidenti Juncker ka paraqitur Planin
Europian të Investimeve Strategjike (EFSI) prej 315 miliardë eurosh. E reja e këtij
plani është që me anë të një mekanizmi inovativ financiar do të mundësohet
thithja e kapitaleve të të tretëve në investimet e BE-së, përfshi dhe
investimet në “Axhendën e Konektivitetit” për 6 vendet e Ballkanit Perëndimor.
Ky është një lajm i mirë, pasi BE do të lejojë kapitale nga të tretë dhe në fakt
kapitalet e të tretëve që, realisht mund të përthithen, janë kryesisht
kapitalet kineze. Presidenti Juncker ra dakord në parim më kryeministrin kinez
Li Keqiang në maj 2015 në Bruksel për krijimin e një Platforme Investimesh Kinë-BE, e cila do të materializohet gjatë vizitës së Presidentit
Juncker në fund të këtij muaji në Pekin. Pra bashkëfinancues me BE-në mund të jetë
edhe Kina. Sidomos Ballkani është pjesë e strategjisë kineze “Silk Road
Economic Belt” (Brezi Ekonomik i Rrugës së Mëndafshit), që ka si pika hyrje në Europë
Portin e Pireut dhe Stambollin. Në disa takime në Vjenë, këtë e pranuan edhe
drejtuesit më të lartë të institucioneve financiare të BE-së, por me kusht që financimet
kineze të kryhen konform rregullave të institucioneve bankare të BE-së.

Por, pothuajse të gjitha projektet e
transportit edhe nëse financohen ose bashkëfinancohen nga të tretë, nuk janë realisht
të vetëpagueshme dhe të përballueshme për shtetet e varfra të Ballkanit. Kështu
që duhet patjetër mbështetja financiare e BE-së në formë grantesh apo garancish
trafiku. Pra edhe klasifikimi i projekteve tona në “TEN-T Core Network” rrit
mundësinë teorike të përfitimit nga BE-ja.

Pra, pa angazhimin real të BE-së, financimi
i këtyre projekteve do të vihej në vështirësi?

GERI SELENICA: Në një masë të madhe
po. Në pikëpamjen time, Takimi i Vjenës ishte një takim politik pa shumë vlerë
reale e konkrete ekonomike në zbatimin e “Procesit të Berlinit”. Kam bindjen dhe këtë opinion kishin edhe
shumë kryeministra, ministra e drejtues të Ballkanit, që BE ende nuk e ka
Ballkanin Perëndimor në fokus dhe nuk e ka marrë seriozisht. Thjesht po e mban
më premtime. Nëse BE do t’i merrte seriozisht 6 vendet tona, aq sa mori
seriozisht Greqinë, me një fraksion të fondeve që po ndihmon Greqinë, do të kishte
mbaruar punë me kohë me të 6 vendet tona.

Si është çështja e “Korridorit të Kaltër”?
Çfarë është ky projekt?

GERI SELENICA: “Korridori i Kaltër” është arteria më strategjike, që lidh Shqipërinë me Europën
dhe është një sukses i madh që BE e klasifikoi para disa muajsh si pjesë të “Korridorit
Mesdhetar” të BE-së. Në pikëpamjen e autostradës, ajo duhet ndërtuar nga Plocë
e Kroacisë deri në Janinë (sipas BE-së). Një arritje shumë pozitive e qeverive
kroate, malazeze dhe shqiptare është që kanë përcaktuar pikat e përafërta të kalimit
të kësaj autostrade nga Debeli Brijeg dhe midis Muriqanit e Velipojës. Gjurmët
e sakta do të dalin nga studimi i detajuar i fizibilitetit dhe nga projekti përfundimtar,
që do ta financojë BE-ja menjëherë. Vështirësia më e madhe financiare dhe
inxhinierike e kësaj autostrade është në Malin e Zi, për arsye të terrenit
malor dhe kufizimeve financiare që ka, megjithëse 10 km të kësaj autostrade do
t’ia japë grant Socar i Azerbajxhanit.

Për mendimin tonë, që ia kemi thënë qeverive shqiptare, greke dhe BE-së,
lidhja me Greqinë nga Kakavija e “Autostradës së Kaltër” është jashtë logjikës
ekonomike. Ne e kemi sugjeruar me fakte lidhjen nga Kapshtica, pasi:

-Gjurma e autostradës
nga Kakavija do edhe 70 km autostradë të re deri tek autostrada Egnatia A2 në jug
të Janinës. Dhe më tutje duhen mbi 100 km autostradë e re (A5) për t’u lidhur me
Athinën. Ndërkohë që autostrada Egnatia A2 ka mbërritur 3 km në jug të Kapshticës
(Ieropigi). Pra nëse ndiqet gjurma nga Kapshtica, Greqia nuk ka nevojë të ndërtojë

-Distanca Tiranë-Athinë
nga Kapshtica është 100 km më pak se nga Kakavija.

-Sipas studimit socio-ekonomik,
gjurma nga Kapshtica i shërben më shpejt 90%
të ekonomisë dhe popullsisë greke që jeton në veri e jug të Greqisë.

nga Kapshtica është rreth 200
km më afër Stambollit se sa Kakavija.

-Gjurma nga Kapshtica e bën “Autostradën e Kaltër”
dhe “Autostradën Egnatia” më konkurruese kundrejt Korridoreve 4, 10 e 8.
Distanca Pire-Tiranë-Trieste bëhet 150 km më e shkurtër se Pire-Beograd-Trieste,
ndërsa Stamboll-Tiranë-Trieste vetëm 75 km më e gjatë se Stamboll-Beograd-Trieste.

– Gjurma nga Kapshtica integrohet me Korridorin
8 për 120 km nga Tirana në Qafë Thanë, duke rritur ndjeshëm dhe leverdishmërinë
e kësaj rruge.

Meqë BE dhe qeveria shqiptare e duan
lidhjen me Greqinë nga Kakavija, atëherë është detyrë urgjente e qeverisë shqiptare
ta klasifikojë segmentin Qafë Thanë – Kapshticë në “TEN-T Core Network”. S’është nevoja ta klasifikojë në “Med Corridor”,
pasi ky segment përfshihet shumë mirë në parametrat e “Orient/East Med
Corridor”. Por mungesa totale e tij në “TEN-T Core Network” do ta përjashtojë
automatikisht nga mbështetja financiare e BE-së. Dhe zyrtarët dhe ekspertët
grekë të transporteve preferojnë Kapshticën si lidhjen më të mirë midis dy

Ne besojmë që “Autostrada e Kaltër” duhet dizenjuar si një arterie e rëndësishme
europiane, që përveç ekonomive tona modeste dhe popullsive tona të pakta, duhet
t’ju shërbejë flukseve europiane të trafikut, si 25 milionë turistëve që shkojnë
çdo vit në Greqi e 30 milionë turistëve në Turqi, mallrave që vijnë nga Turqia,
Lindja e Mesme dhe nga Lindja e Largët e Kina dhe mallrave që BE eksporton në drejtim
të lindjes.

Po “Hekurudha e Kaltër” çfarë është?

GERI SELENICA: “Korridori i Kaltër”, përveç autostradës, duhet të parashikonte
edhe hekurudhën. Por kjo mungon në materialet e shpërndara në “Takimin e Vjenës”.
Fakt është që Kroacia nuk ka asnjë studim për këtë. Mali i Zi dhe Bosnja kanë bërë
një studim dhe paraprojekt të financuar nga BE, për të lidhur hekurudhën
malazeze nga Nikshiqi me atë boshnjake në Caplinja. Shqipëria tani po e bën një
studim për masterplanin hekurudhor të financuar nga BERZH. Nuk e di nëse ky
studim i Shqipërisë do të përfshijë edhe 52 km linjë e re hekurudhore nga
Pogradeci në Kapshticë (kufiri grek). Greqia, nga ana e saj, e ka përfshirë
hekurudhën e saj deri në Kapshticë si “TEN-T Core Network” dhe për çudi “TEN-T
Core Network” ndërpritet në Shqipëri!!!

Bazuar në vizionin
e shprehur më lart, ne jemi promotorët kryesorë të “Hekurudhës së Kaltër”
(Kalabaka/Follorine-Kapshticë-Pogradec-Hani i
Hotit-Nikshiq-Caplinja-Ploce-Split) dhe kemi protestuar pranë BE-së për mospërfshirjen
e saj në “TEN-T Core Network”. Zgjidhjet pjesore hekurudhore që kemi dëgjuar
për Shqipëri (në Tiranë-Hani i Hotit ose Vlorë-Hani i Hotit apo Lin-Durrës) nuk
janë të logjikshme, pasi nëse hekurudha nuk e përshkon Shqipërinë nga Veriu në Jug
dhe t’i shërbejë transportit ndërkombëtar, nuk do të ketë kurrë të ardhme. Shqipëria
nuk ka as mallra e as pasagjerë në sasi të mjaftueshme që ta bëjnë rentabël një
hekurudhë. Me një vizion të qartë ekonomik dhe me një vullnet politik solid
“Hekurudha e Kaltër” është më fizibël se “Korridori Hekurudhor 10”. Kjo do një lobim
të fortë në BE, por dhe studime e argumente serioze, të cilat qeveria shqiptare
fatmirësisht do t’i ketë së shpejti, nga studim i financuar nga BERZH-i (të
cilin mund ta financonte vetë me kohë).

Si pozicionohet Shqipëria dhe cilat janë
përfitimet që mund të ketë ajo në rrafshin ekonomik e strategjik?

GERI SELENICA: Nuk mund t’ju jap një përgjigje
të saktë për këtë, pasi duhen studime serioze, por hamendësimet tona paraprake
tregojnë që përshkimi i Shqipërisë nga Jugu në Veri, nga Lindja dhe Verilindja
në Perëndim e bën një nyje të rëndësishme tranziti. Kjo do të kishte një vlerë
shumë më të madhe nëse Porti i Durrësit ose Porto Romano do të zhvilloheshin në
një “hub” rajonal, siç po bëjnë kinezët Portin e Pireut. Por kjo varet shumë dhe
nga interesi i lojtarëve globalë të transportit me anije dhe kontejnerë.

Në çfarë faze është Shqipëria në krahasim
me vendet e rajonit? Çfarë vështirësish po hasen për të qenë koherentë me ta?

GERI SELENICA: Me sa kam parë, të gjitha
vendet e rajonit janë shumë më përpara me bërjen e projekteve. Ndërsa këtu nuk
kam parë ndonjë projekt serioz. Përkundrazi e vetmja rrugë me vlerë të madhe
financiare që po bën qeveria, në hapësirën e natyrshme të korridoreve europiane
është një investim krejt i kot prej 150 milionë eurosh, rruga Qukës-Qafë Plloçë.
Një rrugë malore që 20 km janë parashikuar të ndërtohen në lartësi nga 1,000m
deri 1300m në malet e Mokrës. Faktikisht e pakalueshme në dimër për kë e njeh
zonën, me temperatura që arrijnë nën -20’C. Për dijeni Korça është vetëm 800m
mbi nivelin e detit. Shkurtimi i distancës në raport me gjurmën nga Pogradeci është
vetëm 3km. Pra, një projekt pa parametra, që ekspertët e huaj tallen, që ‘de-facto’
është bërë nga një ish-zëvendësministër i qeverisë së shkuar, thjesht për të përfituar
financime arabe në mënyrë korruptive. Kjo është shumë e turpshme dhe shpërdorim
i papërgjegjshëm i fondeve publike. Këtë ia kemi vënë në dukje kryeministrit
dhe shumë ministrave.

Si duhet të lobojë Shqipëria, çfarë
duhet të ketë parasysh qeveria shqiptare?

GERI SELENICA: Në Tiranë mund të kënaqen
vetëm me “Autostradën e Kaltër”, por e përsëris, qeveria shqiptare duhet të paraqesë
menjëherë pranë BE-së projekte serioze shtesë. Minimalisht, duhet të kërkojë
urgjent përfshirjen e lidhjes së dytë me autostradën me Greqinë Elbasan-Kapshticë
dhe hekurudhën Kapshticë-Hani i Hotit në “TEN-T Core Network”. Nuk duhet të mjaftohet më “Autostradën e Kaltër”.
Shikoni shtetet përreth. Të gjitha kanë futur çdo projekt që ju duhet, madje
kanë arritur t’i klasifikojnë edhe në “TEN-T Core Network”. S’është nevoja t’ju
përmend shtetet e projektet. Më mirë shikoni hartat e aprovuara në Takimin e Vjenës
(këtu ne dokumentin e bashkëlidhur ne Word).

Licensing and upstream petroleum fiscal regimes: Assessing Lebanon’s choices, Policy Paper, Carole Nakhle, 14 September 2015

AEL Updates September 2015 Posted on Mon, September 14, 2015 20:50:03

have been raised and criticisms continue to be made about Lebanon’s choice of
upstream petroleum fiscal terms and strategies to award oil and gas licenses.
This is not surprising given the fact that it is a completely new experience
for Lebanon, a country often stuck in stalemates stemming from political

this, there are some internationally recognized guiding principles that
Lebanese policymakers can follow. In terms of the allocation strategy, Lebanon
selected competitive bidding, which is a positive step since this method is
increasingly popular and supported by the international community.

key concern in Lebanon, however, is the choice of biddable parameters, which
should be reviewed further. In terms of block delineation, Lebanon’s offshore
block sizes do not fall outside the reasonable range, especially when the
exploration risk and the relinquishment rule are taken into consideration.

respect to petroleum regulations, Lebanon seems to offer a middle ground
between Cyprus and Israel. Some question whether the choice of petroleum fiscal
regime Lebanon made is the correct one. In reality, the type of regime is less
relevant. Fiscal regimes can be made equivalent in terms of both control and
overall economic impact, for given oil and gas prices.

design of the regime, the interactions of different fiscal and quasi-fiscal
instruments, the details related to the imposition of different instruments,
among others, are by far more important. The government should not focus on a
specific instrument and instead take into account the net impact on the fiscal
regime and the investment climate.

more find the full report in the here document.

Research and Innovation policy in Western Balkans – some recent developments, In Focus – RTI POLICIES IN WBC

AEL Updates August 2015 Posted on Fri, September 04, 2015 16:37:44

In recent
years the Western Balkan countries have made some important efforts to overcome
the negative consequences of the economic and political transition and its
impact on the region’s research and innovation sectors: They adopted a variety
of strategies, laws and programs to improve the performance of the sector on
the national level and they improved the regional cooperation in R&D for
example by committing themselves to “Western Balkans Regional
R&D Strategy for Innovation
” and Smart Growth pillar of the “South East European 2020
Strategy” (SEE 2020).

countries are also associated to Horizon 2020; the preliminary results show
some first success stories however overall participation rate is quite low.

WBC also
agreed on the establishment of “Western Balkans Research and Innovation Centre”
(WISE) by the end of 2015 aiming at strengthening the regional research,
innovation and technology systems by providing support, advice, information and
recommendations to the states, public and private institutions,
non-governmental organizations and all other relevant stakeholders.

social and political problems are still more pressing in WBC than the low level
of R&D investment (Serbia and Montenegro spend on around 1% of GDP on
R&D, while other countries in the region spend up to 0,3% of GDP) or
support for technology transfer activities.

importance of the education, research and innovation for the overall success of
the EU-integration efforts of the Western Balkans was again confirmed during
the 1st Joint Science
held on July 15-17, 2015 in Halle and Berlin and during the second Summit Meeting on the
Western Balkans
held in Vienna on August 27, 2015 – both events in the
framework of the Western Balkans Process, also known as the ‘Berlin process’.

the participants of the Vienna Summit clearly recognized that improving the
perspective of young generations is of “paramount importance in ensuring
stability, sustainable development and progress of the region”. Having in mind
the weak economic structure, low level of industrial production, low
performance results of the educational systems, high unemployment levels, as
well as in some cases the lack of motivation, commitment and trust – to name
just few challenges in the region which all had negative impact on human
capital development in the WB countries while leading to severe brain drain
from the region – it can only be welcomed that political commitment and strong
emphasis is put on initiatives related to youth, such as the establishment of
the “Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans” or proposal of
the European Commission to organize an Enlargement Conference in the first half
of 2016 focusing on youth issues.

challenge related to young people from the region is the fact that they are
often formally well-educated but not necessarily equipped with the right skills
needed at the local labor market. Furthermore, the education system in this
region does not encourage creativity and
entrepreneurial culture
among pupils and students at satisfactory
level . Specific direct and indirect measures would help to foster
entrepreneurial culture in WBC, improve the perspective of young generations
and subsequently contribute to long-term knowledge-based economic growth, as
suggested by SEE2020 (South East European 2020 Strategy).

Balkan Opinion Barometer”,
a set of approximately 80 indicators showing the results of the public opinion
survey on crucial economic and development issues in SEE and commissioned by
Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) clearly shows that vast majority of
interviewees in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia,
Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia still prefer to work in the public sector (79%),
only 16% prefer the employment in the private sector. Interestingly, 40%
consider attending additional education / courses to help to find a job as not
necessary and for almost 50% their education is not an obstacle in the labour
market. Only 6% of interviewees are indeed self-employed (out of 45% of total
employed). Asked about two main obstacles to those in the household who do not
work to get a job, 63% indicated the lack of jobs while the second obstacle
identified was “do not know the right people”. When asked about best ways to
contribute to reconciliation in the region, 32% choose increased trade and
commerce between the countries, 25% the shared understanding of history while
only 6% see regional student exchange programmes as valuable to contribute to
reconciliation. It must however been mentioned that only 7% of the interviewees
(N=7000) are currently students or pupils, 56% have finished secondary
education, and only 30% have high school or university education thus the vast
majority is potentially not interested in R&D issues, student mobility and
related topics.

Different research studies and
(e.g. see also country papers andbackground papers related
to WBRIS) identified in the recent years quite detailed the major RTDI
obstacles and challenges in the region. The policy focus in the years to come
should be on implementation of different suggested and already started national
and regional initiatives.

It goes
without saying that initiatives towards youth mentioned in the conclusions of
the Vienna Summit 2015, thus supported by high level experts and policy
stakeholders from the region and EU (from strengthening reform efforts of the
education systems in order to provide youth with relevant basic and transversal
skills, to encouraging mobility of the youth within the region by promoting and
enhancing existing programs such as CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Program
for University Studies) to supporting the development of a vocational training
system in the region and other initiatives mentioned in the text above) are to
be seen in this context. Such initiatives are important, even essential
measures to support the integration of the region into European Research Area
(ERA) and in turn the European Union. Similar conclusions related to importance
of the youth and youth policies were drawn by the participants of the 1st Joint
Science Conference in Halle and Berlin.

When it
comes to the low level of R&D investment in the region (Serbia and
Montenegro spend on research and development around 1% of GDP, while other
countries in the region spend up to 0,3% of GDP) , the recommendation to
allocate 3% of national GDP (reaching the Lisbon agenda target) is desirable,
however currently not very realistic as concluded lately by the participants of
the Steering Platform
on Research for the Western Balkan countries in Budapest in June 2015
. As
mentioned before, social and political problems are still more pressing in WBC
than the low level of R&D investment. On the other hand, it is well known
that the availability of data and reliable statistics in the region is another
challenge to be met; some researchers even argue that the R&D spending in
the region is already higher than the official estimations.

WBRIS (Western Balkan Regional
R&D Strategy for Innovation)
therefore explicitly suggests
generating and systematically updating R&D statistics in line with standard
practices established by the Oslo manual and consistent with EURSTAT data,
including data related to the scientific diaspora, the Community Innovation
Surveys, and other EU indicators as well as to implement a monitoring and
evaluation system enabling the assessment of public expenditures in research
and innovation. The focus is again on implementation of suggested proposals at
local level.

evaluations are one of the most essential tools for evidence-based decision
making and especially true for regions characterized by an adoption and
adaptation of new RTDI policies, programs and (support) institutions as well as
transformation of funding towards competitive schemes . At the same time,
however, a lack of methodological and procedural know-how on the part of both
evaluators and awarding authorities concerning purpose, design and use of evaluations
is evident in WB countries. Based on the research conducted withinEVAL-INNO project (Fostering
Evaluation Competencies in Research, Technology and Innovation in the SEE
Region), the key challenges
for improved RTDI evaluations in the SEE region
– which applies also
for WBC – include: a) the lack of qualified evaluators for programme,
institutional and policy evaluations in the field of RTDI, as well as
methodological deficits and weaknesses; b) the lack of knowledge on
professional tendering procedures (incl. public procurement laws) to obtain the
best evaluation results; c) difficulties in accessing RTDI evaluation
information and good practices, and a general lack of the usage of
good-practices for RTDI programs, institutions and policy evaluations in the
region . Besides trainings organized, EVAL-INNO project also adopted and
published in several languages a model of RTDI Evaluation Standards.
These were also promoted and disseminated to all relevant stakeholders from
policy and academia in WB countries.

recent developments related to research and innovation policy – particularly on
regional level are positive signals and possible great opportunities for
researchers but also young scientists. Very often the scope, effectiveness and
impact of good national and even regional R&D initiatives are limited
because of a lack of solid political backing, and/or because the relevant
political or academic players are not directly involved and/or implementation
is hindered by change of government and related change of political priorities.
It is also a good sign that some new initiatives (such as Regional Youth
Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans) and some on-going initiatives (such
as Steering Platform on Research
for Western Balkan countries
) have political backing of the current heads
of government, foreign ministers and economics ministers of Albania, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Kosovo*, FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Croatia,
Slovenia, Germany, France, Italy, Austria,, representatives of the European
Commission and the European External Action Service and International Financial

steps were taken, the next few months and years will show if and how the
proposed measures and initiatives will be concretely supported and implemented
on the regional, national and local level.

Note: Article is available attached in pdf including fussnotes and sources.

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