Renew Europe MEPs: Demolition of National Theatre in Tirana an attack on culture and democracy

European Parliament; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – In a letter sent to the High Representative of the Union Josep Borrell and three European Commissioners, including Olivér Várhelyi, 20 Members of the European Parliament of the Renew Europe group described the demolition of the National Theatre of Albania on 17 May as an “attack on culture, democracy and the rule of law”.

The MEPs reminded that the theatre, built 80 years ago, was recognised as one of the “Most Endangered Sites in Europe by the heritage” NGO Europa Nostra.

“The Albanian authorities argued that it would be rebuilt as an urban project, without taking into consideration its historical and architectural value and above all without any dialogue with the population”, the MEPs wrote in the letter shared by MEP Laurence Farring on her Twitter account.

They urged the High Representative and the Commissioners to take a clear position on the issue, by condemning the act and promoting the policy that respects the heritage.

“European values must be defended and shared throughout the continent. We therefore call for your vigilance regarding the treatment of the cultural heritage sector in Albania”, MEPs wrote.

In addition to Borrell and Várhelyi, the letter was addressed to the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel and the Commissioner responsible for “Promoting our European way of life” Margaritis Schinas.