Luxury construction projects threaten Albania's coastline

Luxury construction projects spearheaded by Jared Kushner and US diplomat Richard Grenell pose an imminent threat to Albania's pristine coastline, raising concerns among environmental advocates worldwide.

Aerial of the Narta Lagoon in Albania

The Narta lagoon with a view of the island of Sazan. Will luxury flats soon be built here?

© Xhemal Xherri / PPNEA
The construction site of Vlora Airport on the Narta Lagoon.

Construction work at Vlora Airport is paving the way for future tourist crowds.


According to a recent report by The New York Times, Jared Kushner, his wife, Ivanka Trump, and former US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell confirmed plans for expansive property developments in Albania and Serbia. Among their targets is the untouched Albanian island of Sazan, nestled within the Karaburun-Sazan Marine National Park, designated for its ecological significance in 2010. 

These plans come on the heels of alarming developments on February 22, 2024, when the government in Tirana introduced a new law that will make it easier to change the boundaries of existing protected areas and override protection regulations for the construction of large infrastructure projects such as hydropower and tourism projects. This move, coupled with Kushner's unveiled projects, signals a direct threat to Albania's natural reserves, prompting urgent action from EuroNatur and its Albanian and international partners.

Kushner and his associates further intend to invest in opulent villas and high-end resorts near the idyllic coastal village of Zvërnec, a haven between the unspoiled Narta Lagoon and the Bay of Vlora. This region, cherished for its biodiversity, falls under national and international nature protection, including the Vjosa Delta, which is imperilled by the controversial and, from our point of view, illegal construction of an airport. Our Albanian partners have filed a lawsuit against the airport project.

"Prime Minister Edi Rama’s plans are obvious: the most important natural areas on the Albanian coast are to be sacrificed to luxury tourism," says Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive Director of EuroNatur. "If the plans are realised, it will be a disaster for Albania's nature, which the government has actually committed to protecting through several agreements. In view of these dramatic developments, the question of Albania's path to the European Union must be asked," says Schwaderer.

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