The government has tasked the Albanian Development Fund with the implementation of an installation with a wooden structure in the Prime Minister’s building called “Eden Park”, which also provides for the production of energy through solar panels. The value of the project is 431 million ALL, but the Prime Minister says that the government has not spent a single penny on any type of installation. Contrary to what the head of the executive claims, a verification by Faktoje shows that this year the Albanian Development Fund received 103.5 million ALL from the budget, while it is expected to receive another 407 million ALL next year.

Esmeralda Topi

“For the first time, the government has not spent a single penny on any type of installation in the premises of the Council of Ministers,” Prime Minister Edi Rama declared on September 27, a month after the Albanian Development Fund had opened the tender for the construction of a wooden structure installation in the Prime Minister’s yard, called Eden Park .

“The government has undertaken a renewable solar energy program that will be extended to all institutions, starting from the Prime Minister’s Office and from all ministries, and it is not about a work of art, it is about a renewable energy project combined with the creation of a microclimate and new work environments that are needed there,” Prime Minister Edi Rama further explained to journalists.

Based on the public debate that the development of this project provoked at the height of the price and energy crisis, Faktoje decided to verify whether the government has spent money on this installation.

The draft budget of 2023 that has been approved by the government shows that it has spent money, refuting Prime Minister Rama’s statement that the government has not spent a single penny on any type of installation in the premises of the Council of Ministers.

The truth is that according to the program of projects classified as public investments, the Albanian Development Fund receives from the state budget 407 million ALL for the construction of the wood installation for the next year, as well as another 7 million ALL in 2024. Also, contrary to what the head of the government claims, the draft budget tables show that 103.5 million ALL were already paid this year. In other words, 20% of the project total amount has been made available to the Albanian Development Fund based on the legal obligation dictated by the law “On the management of the budget system in the Republic of Albania.”

“For multi-year budget commitments related to new public investment projects, during the first year of their implementation, it is not allowed to distribute less than 20 percent of the full value of the relevant project in the budget of the relevant general government unit .” – specifies the law.

The Albanian Development Fund has temporarily suspended the open procedure for the construction of the installation, but has not canceled it.

“Eden Park” was designed by the “Precht” studio, which specializes in the use of natural materials with minor impact on the environment under the direction of Austrian architect Chris Precht.

In a response to Faktoje, the Albanian Development Fund informs us that the project includes the construction of a structure of four floors serving the Prime Minister’s Office and other central state institutions for ceremonial functions, receptions and meetings of delegations.

“The project of the courtyard of the Prime Minister’s Office is a unique project, combining multifunctional use, new construction models with ecological materials and environmental sustainability.” – says ADF in their response to Faktoje.

According to ADF, “Eden Park” plans to turn the Prime Minister’s Office into an energy producer through the installation of solar panels on its terrace.

“The construction and covering of the terrace of the Prime Minister’s Office with 1,700 m2 of photovoltaic panels, which will produce energy which, in today’s market value, is equal to about 250 thousand Euros of income every year for the next 20 years. So, in addition to turning the institution of the Prime Minister’s Office ” green ” from the environmental point of view, only the production of energy in 20 years of its life cycle, would bring more than 5 million Euros of income, without counting the upward trend that the price of energy will have in the future .”

Even the Albanian Development Fund specifies for Faktoje that in addition to production, the project will also reduce the institution’s needs for energy and water.

“The application of a sustainable development and construction model, with completely ecological materials, with a water supply system that collects and filters rainwater for reuse, with high energy efficiency lighting, and year-round greenery at all levels of the structure that affects the reduction of energy expenditure in the building for cooling in the hot months.” – writes ADF in their official response.

This is not the only change that Rama is making to the government building. “Eden Park” comes after the removal of the railings, the addition of the installation “Giant Mushroom with Three Parts” and the light installation placed at the entrance of the government building. But apart from their location, what such projects have in common is the controversies and public debates that have accompanied these changes.