Corona affected tourism, the positive electoral reform, Western Balkan conference, gender and vetting of the judiciary, the OSCE and media pluralism

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Dear reader,

What a beautiful beach picture, but the number of international visitor arrivals to Albania reported in the first half of 2020, saw a 63.4 percent year-over-year drop, the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) confirmed.

Only in June, a total of 364,574 visitor arrivals, both Albanian and international, were reported by INSTAT. The number shows a drop of over 66 percent compared to June 2019. Read on…

But at least now the Kosovars are coming…

The constitutional reform.
The Albanian parliament approved on July 30. in its plenary sitting with 106 votes in favor and 10 against the constitutional amendments aimed at opening candidate lists.

In an address delivered at the plenary sitting, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that the law-making initiative being approved today would certainly help improve the Albanian democracy and pluralism, as it would give a real chance to the Albanian citizens to elect those who will represent them. According to Rama, this was the reason why this initiative was widely supported by the Albanian citizens, and whoever opposed it was on the wrong side of history”.

Speaking in the same plenary the Chair of Democratic Parliamentary Group Myslim Murrizi described the opening of candidate lists as the greatest achievement of the parliamentary opposition and its major contribution to Albanian democracy.
There were expected harsh reactions to this development by the President of the Republic and from the non-parliamentary opposition.(OSCE Media Review)

The Western Balkans: a part of Europe, a market and a challenge.

Leaders from the Western Balkan Six – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia – joined together at the Western Balkans Partnership Summit, which was convened virtually by the Atlantic Council, to adopt practical measures to deepen regional economic co-operation and recovery measures to counter the COVID-19 economic crisis.

The summit’s achievements include a renewed regional commitment to implementing free movement for goods, services, capital and people; removing barriers that hinder economic growth; and identifying shovel-ready infrastructure investment projects so that recovery funds and future investment can be deployed swiftly and effectively.

These projects would focus on infrastructure to support green energy efforts, the digital economy, and job creation. As reported by the media, the commitments made in yesterday’s virtual meeting will help produce a successful summit this fall as part of the Berlin Process.

The difficult birth of a new judiciary – but it is on its way:

OSCE in Albania:

Read about the work of the OSCE in Albania. You might be amazed….By the way, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama chairs the OSCE in 2020.

Read the detailed reports about Albania here and the report about Denmark here.

That´s all for now,
sincerely,

Hans-Georg Nielsen
Albanian Honorary Consul

Comments and suggestions are welcome on hgn(at)albanskkonsulat.dk
PS. This newsletter is mainly sent to relevant Danish and Albanian authorities, to Danes who have shown interest in Albania, to Albanians living in Denmark and to the friends and contacts of the consulate.

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