European People’s Party leadership condemns the demolition of National Theatre in Tirana

European People's Party logo; Photo: Flickr / EPP

BRUSSELS – President of the European People’s Party (EPP) Donald Tusk condemned the demolition of National Theatre in Tirana, which took place yesterday, as well as use of violence against protesters.

“I condemn the demolition of the National Theatre in Tirana on Sunday, which goes against European values such as conservation of cultural heritage, rule of law and transparent dialogue”, Tusk tweeted.

He further emphasised that intimidation and use of violence against protesters, civil society, artists as well as opposition politicians are unacceptable.

“Rule of law, independent and free media and fight against corruption must prevail for Albania´s European perspective”, wrote Tusk, adding that he expresses his support for EPP associate member, opposition Democratic Party of Albania.

The demolition was strongly opposed by activists, opposition politicians and artists who wanted the buildings originally constructed during World War II during the Italian occupation to be renovated

Several hundred protesters battled the police, and a number were arrested after hitting police with bottles of water.

Earlier, Members of European Parliament Michael Gahler (EPP) and David Lega (EPP) condemned the demolition of the National Theatre of Albania, which took place on Sunday, as well as police violence in an official joint statement, Tirana Times reports.

Lega and Gahler recalled that the National Theatre has been listed as an endangered European heritage site and reminded the Albanian government that the 15 conditions must still be fulfilled in order for accession negotiations to begin.

The EU Delegation in Tirana also criticised the demolition of the theatre, saying it had come at a time when “we called for dialogue between authorities and civil society before an irreversible decision is taken”.