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Albania Doubles Down on Energy and EU Acquis: A Buzz Interview with Sabina Lalaj of Deloitte Legal

Albania Doubles Down on Energy and EU Acquis: A Buzz Interview with Sabina Lalaj of Deloitte Legal

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As the Albanian government seeks to utilize the energy crisis as a catalyst for encouraging energy investments and production, significant changes are expected in the country's overall legislation – in light of the negotiation process – to comply with EU standards, according to Deloitte Legal Local Legal Partner Sabina Lalaj.

"Albania's notable features nowadays include the energy crisis and the government's efforts to try and turn that into momentum to foster investments in energy production," Lalaj begins. "The government’s aim is to make Albania self-sufficient throughout the year and an energy exporting country." According to her, it is evident that Albania is experiencing a boom in energy production investments, "particularly in wind and solar energy, as the government is favorable to facilitate the development of energy projects. To this end, the government is organizing another round of renewable energy auctions to further promote energy production."

As part of this new initiative, Lalaj highlights recent changes in energy legislation: "The government has sent the amendments to the Law On the Promotion of the Use of Energy From Renewable Sources before the relevant parliamentary commissions. They are currently under review and discussion by those bodies. The law aims to provide better regulation and clarity to the sector and its actors."

Considering the recent heightened attention on renewable energy, Lalaj says that work in the legal sector has shifted: "lawyers have been particularly busy figuring out how to help smaller companies operating in the energy sector to engage with investors and enhance their capabilities; or directly assisting the investors to identify potential investments in energy projects and carry out the due diligence on such projects. These discussions are taking place in most of the law firms, and many of us are involved."

In addition to all that, Lalaj notes "there are developments in the capital markets industry. After the approval of the new package of laws on capital markets in 2020, the supervisory authority is now leveling up the approval of a series of secondary legislation that will enable the implementation of said laws and facilitate the operations in the market."

Another important topic being discussed, according to Lalaj, is that changes are expected in Albania's overall legislation, to align with EU acquis: "currently, we are in the screening procedures, and a large part of our institutions are preparing to work towards fully aligning our legislation with the EU acquis." Several legislative proposals are currently in the works, she notes, and will be unveiled in the near future.

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