DURRËS, 29 September 2020 – The new EU4Culture programme was signed today between the EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca and UNOPS Director of Vienna Multi-Country Office Freya Von Groote, in the presence of Prime Minister Edi Rama, Minister of Culture Elva Margariti and Minister of reconstruction Arben Ahmetaj, to revitalise the earthquake-affected cultural heritage sites and monuments in Albania.
The EUR 40 million EU4Culture programme seeks to remediate the effect of the earthquake through the reconstruction, rehabilitation and valorisation of the Albanian cultural heritage damaged by the earthquake. It aims to achieve their revitalisation, contributing to Albania’s socio-economic recovery by improving Albania’s potential for tourism.
The list of monuments and sites that EU4Culture will focus on will be the result of consultations and a thorough assessment with the authorities and Albania’s cultural heritage community. It will include museums, such as the Archaeological Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Tirana. It will also include important sites such as the Durrës Amphitheatre, as well as castles and religious monuments.
The communities of three municipalities, among Albania’s key tourist destinations, will benefit from the EU funding – Tirana, Durrës and Kruja – based on the needs identified by the Post Disaster Needs Assessment. The programme will target socio-economic development through rehabilitation of cultural artefacts, will involve and support local communities with grants, will adopt international and EU standards, provide technical support to Albanian institutions, and use the “Build Back Better” approach.
On the occasion of the signing ceremony, EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca said: “EU4Culture is one of the largest ever cultural heritage programmes designed by the European Union in terms of number of monuments and of funds involved. Helping preserve Albania’s heritage is an economic chance, a common responsibility, but also a moral and historical duty towards previous and future generations of Europeans.”
EU4Culture will be implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services.
Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director Grete Faremo said: "The EU4Culture initiative offers a major opportunity to revitalise the cultural heritage sector in Albania, for the benefit of present and future generations. UNOPS is proud to support it, working closely with the Albanian government and local stakeholders. This marks another step forward in the strong partnership between UNOPS and the European Union across the region. Together, we can build a better future for all."
In February this year, less than three months after the earthquake that struck Albania on 26 November 2019, the European Union hosted in Brussels the donors’ conference Together4Albania with a record pledge of EUR 1.15 billion. The European Commission is donating EUR 115 million euros in direct grants divided between EU4Culture and its twin programme, EU4Schools, which provides EUR 75 million for the repair and reconstruction of schools.
Over the next four years, the EU4Culture programme will be implemented in close coordination and collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and other stakeholders at the national and local level, promoting ownership and sustainability of the investment.