50-million theater - Allegations of collusion in the MKRS competition

The Ministry of Culture was quick to reopen the competition for the Opera and Ballet Theater project, after the failure of the one last month. Even faster, he aims to find the project for the largest capital investment, which has a history of failures of almost two decades. He gave the architects a 40-day deadline, while for the first time he also "revealed" the price he calculated for the construction of the building - 50 million euros.

Less than a month since the public call for the Opera and Ballet Theater failed due to the violations of the Ministry of Culture, this institution has reopened the call for the design of this building. To the call for an idea and detailed project for the largest capital investment in culture that the state aims for, MKRS has this time added an important detail: the amount of 50 million euros. The building is expected to take place behind the Palace of Youth and Sports. In the call, it is clarified that the designers must calculate to prepare a project for which the state intends to invest this amount. While the reopening of the tender is good news for the institutions, one of the participants in the previous competition criticized the approach of MKRS.

Architect Bekim Ramku has criticized MKRS. He, together with international collaborators, had applied in the previous competition. He had taken third place. He said that after a protracted and discredited process, it is surprising how MKRS decides to re-announce this tender.

According to him, as in the preliminary procedure, there is a corrupting tendency in this procedure as well. According to him, the deadline for submitting the projects, which in this case is 40 days, clearly shows the frivolity of the competition.

"They give indications that either there were concessions for corruption or readiness for something like that. I can't believe that the procurement office and all the staff who work there are so ignorant to manage a process so badly".

The director of the Kosovo Philharmonic, Baki Jashari, has said that it is a promising step. According to Jashari, the mention of the amount that is planned to be invested shows that the goal is a very comfortable building.

The Ministry of Culture has planned for this competition to be completed at a cost of 2.5 million euros. That much was foreseen in the Budget Law of 2023. This year, 2.7 million were foreseen. Regarding the next competition, the Ministry of Culture did not respond even on Tuesday.

In 2019, the Ministry of Culture developed a similar process, with an international competition, but without an epilogue. On December 2, 2009, the foundation stone was laid for this building near the Technical Faculty, where it was planned to build the opera and ballet theater "Dr. Ibrahim Rugova". From that time until today, no explanation has been given as to how over 1 million euros went for the design of the project and the start of the first phase of the works.