After Albanians became aware through international media of the plans to build resorts in Sazan and Zvërnec by Trump’s son-in-law, Prime Minister Rama hastily responded with sarcasm to the critics. Speaking at the Socialist Party Assembly, Rama dismissed Sazan as an imaginary national park, a claim that is untrue given that the maritime area around the island is part of Albania’s only National Marine Park. However, beyond this debate, environmental experts express concern about the destruction of protected areas, such as Zvërnec Island in the Narta Lagoon.

Esmeralda Topi

After Albanians learned from international media about the plans for tourist resorts in Sazan and Zvërnec, Prime Minister Edi Rama swiftly addressed them in front of his audience, at the Socialist Party Assembly, receiving frequent applause.

‘They fantasize about the danger of destroying an imaginary national park, a protected area that has never been protected except by Enver Hoxha’s soldiers awaiting the landing of the American Seventh Fleet in Albania…’ – declared Prime Minister Edi Rama, while brushing off the critics’ voices as ‘nonsense,’ regarding the $1 Billion plan for building tourist resorts in Albania by the son-in-law of former American president Donald Trump.


Contrary to what the Prime Minister sarcastically refers to as an ‘imaginary national park,’ documents indicate that the maritime space surrounding Sazani Island is indeed part of Albania’s only National Marine Park.

The marine ecosystem of ‘Karaburun – Sazan’ has been declared a ‘national marine park’ (category II) by a decision of the Council of Ministers since 2010.

‘While Sazani Island itself does not possess the status of a protected area on land, the maritime area surrounding the island is part of the National Marine Park, which is the only one in Albania. Thus, any construction on the island threatens the integrity of the National Park, as infrastructure and waste in the sea will inevitably impact it. Therefore, it is inaccurate to dismiss it as an ‘imaginary National Park,’ as the National Park does exist; it is simply marine,’- argued to Faktoje Aleksandër Trajçe, Executive Director of the Center for the Preservation and Protection of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA).

Even on the official website of the National Agency of Protected Areas, the ‘Karaburun-Sazan’ National Marine Park is described as a marvel of Albanian nature.

‘The sole National Marine Park, Karaburun-Sazan, is a vibrant wonder of Albanian nature. This park is home to 36 marine species of international significance, including species listed as endangered,’- states the National Agency of Protected Areas. 

‘Sazani is a ‘chess piece ‘ to divert attention from Zvërnec.

While the discourse that Rama also chose to emphasize is focused on the Sazani Island and its status, another completely protected area is at risk of transformation – Zvërnec, located in the Narta Lagoon.

Aleksandër Trajçe argues that Rama deliberately prioritized the Sazani project, overlooking the severe impact it will have on the protected area of the Narta Lagoon.

 ‘The most alarming aspect is that the portion of Zvërnec, nestled between the Narta Lagoon and the sea, where Kushner’s villa project is slated, is a protected area. There’s no imagination there; it’s a protected area. But Rama deliberately omitted mentioning this, intentionally avoiding it because he knows it. And he got tangled up in the details about Sazan,’ – he concludes.


On Friday, March 15th, Bloomberg revealed that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former US President Donald Trump, announced an ambitious plan to invest in tourist resorts in Albania, particularly on Sazan Island and the Zvërnec area.

Kushner’s plan for Zvërnec aims to construct ten thousand tourist accommodation units, while the Sazan project includes villas and hotels.

The $1 billion investments by the American entrepreneur were made public shortly after the socialists approved changes to the law on Protected Areas in parliament, facilitating construction in these areas.


Based on the verifications and on the gathered information, we classify Prime Minister Edi Rama’s statement regarding Sazan as an ‘imaginary national park‘ as false.



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