Borders opening, politics, the 15 EU demands, IT and tourism.

Dear reader,

Good travel news!
Travelers from the six Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – will be the first third-country citizens eligible to travel to the Schengen Area, on July 1, after over three months of a total border closure of the block for non-EU/EEA travelers. More here..

Electoral reform:
On June 5. 2020 representatives from the government, the parliamentarian opposition and the non-parliamentarian opposition (DP and LSI) reached an agreement about the much debated electoral reform. This after pressure from the EU and the US ambassadors.

Prime Minister Edi Rama emphasized that he expects that this is the last time that negotiations between Albanian politicians are “taking place in an embassy”.

What´s next?
Now Albanian politicians face the 7 + 8  EU conditions which must be handled in connection with the start of EU membership negotiations.

1-Approval of electoral reform
2-Functioning of the Constitutional Court
3-Functioning of the High Court

4-Finalization of the establishment of structures against organized crime and anti-corruption / Functioning of SPAK
5-Strengthening the fight against corruption and crime organized, in cooperation with EU member states and through the Action Plan for addressing financial crime
6-Reducing the number of asylum seekers from Albania
7-Reviewing the Media Law in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission

8-Continuing the Justice Reform
9-Track Records- Initiation and completion of first instance trials of senior officials and politicians
10-Progress in Public Administration Reform
11-Implementation of electoral reform
12-Decision on the legitimacy of local elections 2019
13-Approval of bylaws of the Law on National Minorities
14-Approval of the (amended) Law of Census
15-Advancement of the property registration process

Commenting on the June 5. agreement, the Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs, Gent Cakaj, said that consensus is needed to move towards the intergovernmental conference.
“In March of this year, the EU decided to open negotiations in response to the course of reforms that have taken place in Albania. The latest report considers Albania an example in the region, starting with the justice reform. Opening talks is not only the culmination of the achievements but also the opening of the EU chapters. Addressing all these issues requires political will. Despite the differences it is important that we have a consensus and move forward to hold an intergovernmental conference and then handle all the issues that will arise,” Cakaj said.

Information and communication services
The number of companies providing information and communication services in 2019 in Albania was 3,089 the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) confirmed on its recent report on enterprises. Based on the data, 1,884 enterprises are registered by physical individuals while the remaining 1,205 are legal individuals.
Moreover, the report provides insights even on the number of information and communication enterprises by the number of employees. In 2019 there were 2,554 companies with one to four employees. Further on, 267 companies from his sector had between five and nine employees while 213 had between 10 and 49 employees. 55 companies had more than 50 employees. Read on…

Looking for a nice place to go in Albania?

In newsletter 139 we promised to continue the account on Albanian – Danish contacts in the 20. century. Sorry, but history must wait until No. 141.

That´s all for now,

Hans-Georg Nielsen
Albanian Honorary Consul

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