EU assistance of €3.1 million restores normal living conditions in Gërdec and Marqinet (16/01/2012)

Tirana, 13 January 2012


The European Union has delivered on the commitment it made in March 2009 to assist the rehabilitation and revitalisation of Gërdec, devastated by the explosion of the arms dismantling plant in March 2008. Part of the €3.1 million fund dedicated to restoring normality in the devastated areas has enabled the reconstruction of the roads of the village, including sewerage, drainage and light systems, and the school of the village, now complete with an indoor gymnasium area, access for people with disabilities, adequate fire protection measures, and an outdoor football pitch.

The project for the revitalisation of Gërdec started in March 2009 and was based on on-site visits and a thorough analysis of the needs of Gërdec after the explosion of March 2008. The assistance of €3.1 million has fulfilled its aim of improving living conditions and revitalising the socio-economic development of Gërdec after the explosion. The village community now has a reconstructed and improved main road that improves access to the Tirana-Durrës highway, better internal roads complete with drainage, sewerage and light systems; better conditions for the education of children, a safer and cleaner environment, recreational areas for the entire municipality, and a higher value for their land and property.

During the inauguration ceremony, the Head of Delegation of the EU Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi, noted the tangible impact that these investments have on the quality of life of the inhabitants of Gërdec, and called upon the Municipality of Vora to ensure their sustainability. Ambassador Sequi went on to emphasise that redressing the physical devastation of Gërdec is not sufficient to redress the wounds of Gërdec. He highlighted the responsibility of the Albanian judiciary to address the justice and moral aspects of the Gërdec explosion, saying “just like all judiciaries in the EU, the Albanian judiciary has the duty to make that difficult balance between scrutiny and fairness, scrutiny and timeliness. The failure to strike that balance amounts to injustice, for justice delayed is justice denied”. “The citizens of Gërdec, the citizens of Albania”, he added, “have been waiting for almost four years”.

The total budget of €3.1 million included the design of the works, the actual works and environmental monitoring in the areas affected by the explosion to tackle issues and make recommendations on pollution control. This project is part of a larger commitment from the EU: over the last four years more than €50 million of EU tax-payers' money has been dedicated to improving Albania's rural roads and € 12 million has been provided to improve the country's education system.

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