The Vjosa is reputed to be the last big wild river in Europe, outside Russia. According to data published by ‘Save the Blue Heart of Europe’, a campaign launched by two international NGOs, the Albanian government plans to build over 400 hydropower plants across the country, including eight dams on the Albanian stretch of the Vjosa River and 23 hydropower plants on its tributaries . The wave of dam and small hydropower projects across the Balkan countries (which has been reported in many cases in the EJAtlas) has received much of its funding from large multilateral development banks like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) .The Ministry of Energy and Industry would not confirm these figures for Albania or the types of structures that are planned, saying that every project proposal is individually assessed and the technology to be used will only be determined at a later stage. To date, the ministry has granted licenses for the construction of two hydroelectric dams on the Vjosa at Kalivaç and Poçem, while a number of hydropower plants are already under construction on the river’s tributaries. Plans to dam the Vjosa are not new. In 1997, the Albanian government licensed the Italian Becchetti Group to build the country’s first concessionary hydroelectric dam at Kalivaç. The dam, designed with a height of 45 meters and a reservoir capacity of 350 million cubic meters, was scheduled for completion in 2002, but 14 years on the project remains only 30% completed following a series of missed deadlines. The delays are the result of ongoing disputes between the government and the Becchetti Group amidst allegations of political intrigue, fraud, money laundering and forgery.  The conservation organization EcoAlbania. Riverwatch and EuroNatur, together with 38 affected residents, filed a lawsuit against this project. In Feb 2017, for the first time the local Government of the Vjosa Valley in a public reaction made a statemend against the hydro-power plants. After the local community, national and international NGOs, scientists and the European Parliament this time also the mayors have unified their voice to protect the Vjosa. The mayors of Përmet, Tepelenë, Memaliaj, Mallakastër and Selenicë sent an open letter to the Prime Minister Edi Rama and the head of the Albanian Parliament Ilir Meta raising the concern of the local communities that they represent.  On 2nd May 2017, the judges of the Albanian Administrative Court in Tirana announced their decision against the construction of the projected hydropower plant “Poçem”: for the time being, the dam must not be constructed. According to the Court ruling, were an inadequate EIA as well as the absence of proper public consultation of affected residents. Both procedures are required by Albanian law for projects of this kind. However, their application was a farce. For the EIA commissioned by the project applicants and approved by the Ministry of Environment, no in situ examination was carried out, no data on occurrences of species or projected impacts on ground water was conducted, and 60 percent of the text was simply copy-pasted from other assessments and thus not even site-specific. Similarly, the public consultation procedure was utterly dubious: the required consultation did indeed take place, but without the affected community – they were simply not invited. Instead, 20 employees of the municipality of Fier – a town 80 kilometers away from Poçem and not even located at the Vjosa – listened to the project applicants’ announcements. Local communities along the Vjosa know the dams will submerge everything: their homes, their land – even their identity. Marson Murataj, 29, who lives in the village of Kuta between Kalivaç and Poçem, says that the dam at Poçem will flood most of Kuta and its agricultural land. It will also affect the neighboring villages of Anebreg, Corrush and Sevester and their agricultural land.