Books on Albania
Update No: 114 - (28/11/06)
Coming in from the cold
There is no doubt that Albania has been doing well of late. The good times began
with the Kosovo War in 1999, as aid and aid workers poured in, from which the
incumbent Socialist Party benefited, securing re-election in 2001, although it
lost power in 2005 to the conservatives.
GDP growth has averaged seven per cent per annum in this decade. Truly a new
millennium has dawned for what as Europe's poorest country hitherto.
Albania is de facto part of NATO. It now has its sights on EU membership.
First EU Report welcomed
Albania's Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, said that the Albanian Government
welcomes the report of the European Commission on Albania and that all
ministries will examine with special interest every issue raised in this report.
"It was a great pleasure for me to receive from Ambassador Lohan the first
EU report on Albania following the signing of the Stability-Association
Agreement," Berisha said at a joint news conference with the Ambassador of
the European Commission in Tirana, Helmuth Lohan.
"Considering what Ambassador Lohan told me, as I have not read the report
yet, the European Union praises the achievements in the fight against
corruption, crime, macro-economic stability, asks for the continuation and
consolidation of these efforts and regards the upcoming elections as a real test
for the Albanian democracy," Berisha said. "I assured Lohan that the
Albanian Government is determined to make all efforts for free and fair
elections in Albania. In this relation I asked from the European Commission to
encourage the monitoring of elections on a broad scale and I express readiness
to cooperate with the opposition for the realisation of this aim," Berisha
"We remain totally determined in the fight against crime and corruption,
which can have no future in Albania," he said adding: "I also
familiarized Ambassador Lohan with the serious difficulties we are facing in
this fight which are mainly related to the system of justice."
Albania threatens regional stability over Kosovo's status delay
Postponing a resolution of Kosovo's future status could threaten regional
stability, the Albanian prime minister said on November 14th, while urging
Kosovo Albanians to support their negotiating team. Since the end of the war
between Serb military forces and separatists in the southern province in 1999,
the predominantly ethnic Albanian territory has been run by a U.N.
administration and patrolled by NATO peacekeepers.
The U.N.'s special envoy for Kosovo said on November 17th that he would delay
issuing a report on the province's future until after Serbia held elections in
January. Premier Berisha said that could cause trouble. "Further
postponement of Kosovo's final status at this delicate moment complicates the
situation, stability in Kosovo and the region," he said. Negotiators
initially had hoped to resolve the issue by the end of this year.
Albania has been the strongest supporter of independence for Kosovo, demanded by
the province's ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of its population.
Montenegro's independence in the summer reinforces the demand for secession, a
de facto reality already.
Serbia wants to keep at least some control over the province, and in October
approved adopting a new constitution declaring Kosovo an integral part of its
Albania has said Serbia's new constitutional claim over Kosovo was unacceptable,
and Berisha dismissed the Serbian referendum again, telling reporters that
"independent, free and democratic Kosovo is the condition for peace and
stability" in both the province and the region.
Berisha also appealed to the six-nation Contact Group participating in status
talks, as well as the European Union, to rule out any change to Kosovo's
borders, which he said "would encourage adventurers and demons of all
Balkan nationalisms to ... turn the Balkans back to its darkest times."
Kosovo Albanians should support their political leadership, which he said had
"decisively protected Kosovo citizens' European national interests."
Greeks in Albania: Prime Minister Approved Double Citizenship
Greece is a very important partner for Albania, being something of a role
model. Premier Berisha has given the green light for Athens's decision to grant
double citizenship to the Greek minority living in Albania, Makfax's
correspondent has reported.
"Greek Government's decision for granting double citizenship is acceptable
for Albania", Berisha said, whose Government came under fire from both
right- and left-wing opposition parties. The second largest opposition party
Alliance for Socialist Integration, led by the ex-Prime Minister, Ilir Meta,
described the move as an attempt at shifting borders in the Balkans.
On the other hand, the Greek minority's Party for Human Rights hailed the
decision. "The decision is fully compliant with the standards of the
European Union," party's leader Vangel Dule said.
Tirana's media quoted Greek experts as saying that approximately 20.000 Albanian
citizens, members of the Greek minority, will be issued Greek passports. Local
media commented that it is highly possible that large number of ethnic Albanians
would also make an attempt to acquire Greek citizenship.
EU, Balkan countries step up cooperation on organized crime fight
Organized crimes such as human smuggling, drugs and weapons trafficking are
endemic throughout the Western Balkan region.
Ministers and officials from the EU and the Western Balkan countries pledged on
November 17th to step up their cooperation on fighting organized crime and
terrorism. Interior and justice ministers from the EU and the Western Balkan
countries - Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia - took
part in a two-day meeting in Tirana.
Finish Interior Minister Kari Rajamaki told a press conference the Western
Balkan nations should increase their own regional cooperation in the first
place. But he admitted that organized crime in the EU and the Western Balkan
countries was closely connected. "The EU countries need to step up their
cooperation with the Western Balkan countries to achieve their goals," he
Rajamaki, whose country is at the helm of the rotating EU presidency, chaired
the annual meeting on justice and internal affairs between the EU and the
Western Balkan countries.
Albania plans to auction 103.6m Euro T-bill
Albania's central bank is to auction 103.6 million Euro of three Treasury bill
issues offered by the finance ministry, news website reporter.gr cited the bank
The ministry will offer a three-month T-bill issue with a par value of 2.5
billion leks maturing on January 25 next year, six-month T-bills worth 4.8
billion leks maturing on April 26 and 12-month T-bills worth 5.5 billion leks
maturing on October 25 next year. The Bank of Albania, which sells government
securities on behalf of the finance ministry, has auctioned off T-bills worth
357.98 billion leks in par value since the beginning of the year. Last year, it
auctioned off 465.2 billion leks worth of government securities.
IMF pleased with Albania's economic policy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced on November 6th that it is
pleased with Albania's economic policy and results achieved so far, an IMF press
release read, New Europe reported.
However, the IMF suggested that the country should speed up the privatisation of
strategic state companies next year. The IMF statement read: "As a whole,
the programme is fulfilled according to the schedule and the progress in the
fulfilment of the agreed structural reform is satisfactory. Despite the
encouraging progress in many areas, it is necessary to make greater efforts to
improve the management of the public debt and of the official statistics."
It was recalled that at the beginning of the year, the IMF and Albania signed a
three-year agreement for US$24.7 billion to assist the country's economy. The
agreement is renewed every six months to guarantee that the government fulfils
the agreed goals for growth, expenses and taxes.
Plans to invest 162.8m Euro in electricity for 2007
Albania's utility company KESH announced on November 8th that Albania is
investing 162.8 million Euro to buy 2.2 million megawatt hours of electricity to
last the country throughout the whole year of 2007, AENews reported.
It was reported that so far two Albanian firms, three Swiss, one German firm and
one Czech company have submitted their tenders for the contract to supply
electricity to Albania. However, KESH said that it would take a month to sort
the bids, as it will invite more firms to cooperate since no companies have
tendered to supply the entire amount for which Albania is asking. Before 1990,
Albania even exported hydropower to its Balkan neighbours, but it has suffered
chronic power problems since then due to soaring domestic consumption,
non-payment, an aging system and poor maintenance. Albania depends heavily on
hydropower, with 90 percent of its electricity produced in the north from
hydroelectric plants that suffer from low rainfall and outdated technology.
AMBO oil pipeline protocol
Macedonia and Albania signed a bilateral protocol that pinpoints the exit and
entry sites for the AMBO oil pipeline in the respective countries, news from
Skopje was cited by website reporter.gr as saying.
The protocol was signed by Nikola Cerepnalkovski, advisor to Macedonia's
ministry of economy, and Gjergj Bojxhi, Albania's deputy minister of economy and
energy, in the city of Ohrid. Under the protocol, the pipeline's exit point in
Macedonia will be near the village of Lakaica, while the entry point in Albania
will be near the village of Stebleve in Elbasan.
The final agreement on the AMBO project, which specifies the rights and the
obligations of the three signatory countries - Macedonia, Bulgaria and Albania -
as well as the New York-based AMBO Pipeline Corporation, will be signed at the
end of 2006.
Trade turnover with Serbia up to 18.7 m Euro
The bilateral trade between Serbia and Albania rose to 18.75 million Euro in
2005 from 13.3 million Euro in 2004, data of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS)
showed, website reporter.gr reported.
Serbia's exports to Albania went up to 17.07 million Euro in 2005 from 12.8
million Euro a year ago, while its imports from Albania grew to 1.67 million
Euro, compared to 504,000 Euro, news reports said. The trade between Serbia and
Albania totalled 11.74 million Euro in 2003, up from 5.1 million Euro in 2002
and 906,000 Euro in 2001. In 2003, Serbia's exports to Albania grew to 11.48
million Euro from 5.04 million Euro in 2002. Serbian exports to Albania consist
mainly of food and agricultural produce including cereals, sugar, honey, coffee
and tea, as well as paper products, cosmetics and medicines. Serbia imports from
Albania mostly crude oil and oil derivatives.