| Legislation Gaps in the Albanian Legal Regime
An analisys of the Albanian Legislation on Environment
January 2002, by Web Team
In the past decade Albania has undergone tremendous political, economic and social change. These developments have imposed a great strain on the natural and human resources in Albania as well as on the overall quality of the environment in the country.
Given the considerable degree of environmental damage perpetrated in Albania, its legislators have passed different laws and regulations with the aim of protecting the environment in the Republic of Albania, most of these laws having an ancillary character as far as the environmental protection is concerned.
This study will aim to take a comparative approach by assessing the actual Albanian legal regime in comparison to the more developed Western legal practices (namely, EU legislation on this area), and in this way pinpointing the main legal loopholes and well as any deficiencies in the application and enforcement of the environmental legal standards.
The Albanian legislation on environmental protection has been clearly inspired by the standards of European Union. Also the main principles of the EU environmental law are to be found also in Albanian legislation, albeit in an unclear and indirect form. The problem consists in the fact that these principles are not elaborated enough and most importantly are not customised in order to better suit the necessities of regulating this sensitive area to the cultural, legal and economical context of present day Albania.
A thorough examination of Law No.7664 dated 21.01.1993 "On the protection of the environment" (the "Environmental Protection Law") is fundamental to the obtaining of a sufficient understanding of the actual legal regime applying in Albania on environmental issues.
The main administrative body which operates in Albania on matters of environment is the National Agency for Environmental Protection ("NAEP"). Under the Environmental Protection Law, the NAEP has wide powers in carrying out environmental impact assessment studies and monitoring of environmental compatibility on specific activities, on awarding and revoking licences, setting environmental standards and parameters, etc.
Also due attention will be paid to the relevant provisions of the Civil Code and other legal statutes concerning environmental liability as an important tool for promoting regulatory compliance.
As any comparative lawyer will understand, differences and similarities in environmental law across countries cannot be understood simply by comparing their statutes, regulations and court decisions in a substantive area. For example differences of legislation covering one given subject area (i.e. air pollution) can be small, but its application in the institutional and legal structures as defined by the institutional law of different countries can give different results. Therefore an assessment of the institutional approach in covering the environment is of crucial importance.
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