Albanian – Danish contacts and relations
From year 1081 to 2023
Hellerup Denmark 8. March 2023
Hans-Georg Nielsen LL.M, H.C.
This paper is an attempt to give the reader an idea of the many different political, social and cultural contacts and relations between Albania and Denmark. Please note that the author is fully aware that the paper does not contain the full story and that no doubt many other persons and events can, must and will need to be added. But here we go….
A. Contacts since year 1081: section 1 to 13
B. Albanian consulates: section 14 to 16
C. Legal and economic support: section 17
D. Embassies, ambassadors and consulates: section 18
E. Trade and investments: section 19 – 20
F. Albanian MFA visit in 2018: section 21
G. Albanian MEFA visit in 2020: section 22
H. Recent contacts: section 23
a. From Norway and Denmark to Normandy to Sicily and southern Italy.
In 860, according to an account by the Norman monk Dudo of Saint-Quentin, a Viking fleet, probably under Björn Ironside and Hastein, landed in Sicily, conquering it.
Many Norsemen fought as mercenaries in Southern Italy, including the Varangian Guard led by Harald Hardrada, later king of Norway, who conquered Sicily between 1038 and 1040, with the help of Norman mercenaries, under William de Hauteville, who won his nickname “Iron Arm” by defeating the emir of Syracuse in single combat, and a Lombard contingent, led by Arduin. The Varangians (Vikings) were first used as mercenaries in Italy against the Arabs in 936.
Runestones were raised in Sweden in memory of warriors who died in Langbarðaland (Land of the Lombards), the Old Norse name for southern Italy.
Later, several Anglo-Danish and Norwegian nobles participated in the Norman conquest of southern Italy, like Edgar the Ætheling, who left England in 1086 and Jarl Erling Skakke, who won his nickname (“Skakke”, meaning bent head) after a battle against the Arabs in Sicily. On the other hand, many Anglo-Danish rebels fleeing William the Conqueror, joined the Byzantines in their struggle against Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia, in Southern Italy.
b. From Southern Italy to Albania – Valona /Kanina – Orikum – Butrint – Durres
Having obtained pope Gregory VII’s consent and acting as his vassal, Robert Guiscard continued his campaign in conquering the Balkan peninsula as a foothold for western feudal lords and the Catholic Church.
After allying himself with Croatia and the Catholic cities of Dalmatia, in the year 1081 an army of 30,000 men in 300 ships landed in the southern shores of Albania, capturing Valona, Kanina, Jericho (Orikum), reaching Butrint after numerous pillages. They joined the fleet that had previously conquered Corfu.
The Normans attacked Dyrrachium from land and sea, devastating everything along the way. Under these harsh circumstances, the locals accepted emperor Alexius I Comnenus’ call to join forces with the Byzantines against the Normans who besieged Dyrrachium. The Albanian forces could not take part in the ensuing battle, because it had started too early, before their arrival. According to contemporary sources, this was one of the main causes the Byzantines were defeated in October 18, 1081 in the southern hills of Dyrrachium. Earlier, the Byzantine fleet, aided by the Venetians, had secured a victory in the coast north of the city.
Forced to retreat, Alexius ceded the command to a high Albanian official named Comiscortes in the service of Byzantium. The city’s garrison resisted until February 1082, when Dyrrachium was betrayed to the Normans by the Venetian and Amalfitan merchants who had settled in the city.
The Normans were now free to penetrate in the hinterland; they took Ioannina, some minor cities in Southwestern Macedonia, Thessaly and appeared before the gates of Thessalonica. Dissension among the high ranks caused the Normans to retreat in Italy; they lost Dyrrachium, Valona and Butrint in 1085 after the death of Robert.
A few years after the First Crusade, in 1107, the Normans under the command of Bohemond, Robert’s son, landed in Valona and besieged Dyrrachium using the most sophisticated military equipment of the time, but to no avail. Meanwhile, they occupied Petrela, the citadel of Mili at the banks of the river Deabolis, Gllavinica (Ballsh), Kanina and Jericho.
This time, the Albanians sided with the Normans, dissatisfied by the heavy taxes the Byzantines had imposed upon them. With their help, the Normans secured the Arbanon passes and opened their way to Dibra. The lack of supplies, disease and Byzantine resistance forced Bohemond to retreat from his campaign and sign a peace treaty with the Byzantines in the city of Deabolis (Devoll).
The further decline of Byzantine state-of-affairs paved the road to a third attack in 1185, when a large Norman army invaded Dyrrachium, owing to the betrayal of high Byzantine officials. Sometime later, Dyrrachium – one of the most important naval bases of the Adriatic – fell again into Byzantine hands. (Anna Komnena: Alexiad).
Georg Christian (31. December 1653 – 19. August 1691) was a Danish /German officer. 1689-1690 he was second in command of a Habsburg army invading Kosovo in the Habsburg war against the Ottomans.
Ludvig Holberg published his “Compared Stories” in 1739. The full title was somewhat longer – see photo above: “Several Great Heroes and Famous Men, Especially Oriental and Indian Compared Stories and Achievements in Plutarchii Way”. Holberg describes Gjerg Skanderbeg as one of the worlds´s most able warriors and fighter for Christianity.
An account of the life and work of Skanderbeg was published 1509 by Marin Barleti (Latin: Marinus Barletius), a monk and scholar who descended from an Albanian family.
Barleti’s biography has formed the basis for several biographical accounts, including: Ludvig Holberg’s from 1739, but probably also for a German account that was translated into Danish in 1709. This edition can be found at the Royal Danish Library. Barleti’s account is analysed by the Danish classical philologist Minna Skafte Jensen.
In the issue of the journal “Sphinx” published in March 2003 there is an exciting article about Gjerg Skanderbeg, written by Dr Peter Pentz – archaeologist and curator at the Danish National Museum.
The starting point for the article is that there is a seal at the National Museum that may have been the seal of Skanderbeg.
It is understood from old records that the seal was in the Royal Chamber of Fine Arts in 1634. When it is acquired – and why – is not known, but probably because Skanderbeg had the status of one of Civilization’s great champions. At one point the seal was sold to private persons, and in 1839 the National Museum bought it at an auction.
The seal is – as far as can be seen – made of brass, it is 6 cm on the longest joint – and weighs about 280 grams. The inscription in Greek – and by its very nature flipped – indicates that Alexander (= Skender) is both emperor and king. Emperor of the ‘Romans’ and king of the Turks, Albanians, Serbs and Bulgarians.
Skanderbeg, however, has never been in a position where he could invoke either. He was the leader of the Albanians, for he managed to rally the Albanian princes in a rebellion against the Ottoman Sultan – but in fact royal status he had not, and his leadership status was hardly unfazed.
That Skanderbeg invoked imperialism is mysterious but may indicate that the seal is from the time after the East Roman Empire was overthrown in 1453. It is in this context that the Byzantine double eagle has been included as the central motif. King of the Serbs and Bulgarians, Skanderbeg has never been – and nothing that just “looked like.”
It is a possibility that the seal is ‘designed’ in connection with Skanderbeg seeking support to launch a veritable crusade against the Ottomans, and so it is not inconceivable that both could and should be boasted. It is also possible that it was manufactured while fulfilling his vassal obligations to the King of Naples by assisting him with Albanian troops on the Italian side of the Adriatic. And finally, it is conceivable (and perhaps the most likely) that it is Skanderbeg’s family who have been branded after his death – probably sometime in the 1500s, i.e. in the 19th century. at the same time as there was a stir in Skanderbeg – among other things, in connection with the publication of Marinus Barletius’s work on Skanderbeg .
In the autumn of 1812, the Danish philologist, archaeologist and later Professor Peter Oluf Brøndsted (1780 – 1842) visits Ali Pasha Tepelene. Ali Pasha, as a state ruler of the Ottoman Empire, oversized large parts of present-day South Albania and northern Greece.
Brøndsted writes home about long conversations with Ali Pasha and there are, after Brønsted’s instructions, conducted archaeological excavations. Brøndsted writes in connection with a joint outing to Nicopolis, now in Northern Greece, that the “Lion of Janina” encouraged him to excavate, though not for any scholarly reasons:
“My son wrote to me of the marbles found in the Morea; I myself also have old stones in this country. I have moreover, a good many (he laughed much in uttering this) and if you have a mind to excavate some part in Albania, I will furnish you with as many people as you wish for nothing; – but it is to be understood that I will have my share of the marbles and precious things.”
Brøndsted is impressed by Ali’s court, but he is also skeptical of Ali Pasha’s brutality as a ruler. The English poet Lord Byron visited a few years earlier, namely in 1809/1810, for a long time Ali Pasha’s court.
Among those who have researched the Albanian language are the Danish linguists:
I.Professor Holger Pedersen (1867-1953)
After graduating in 1885, he studied Danish, Latin and Greek at the University of Copenhagen. From an early age he devoted himself to extensive language studies with a special focus on comparative linguistics. On a trip abroad from March 1892 to the summer of 1896, partly at German universities, partly in Eastern Europe and in Ireland, he acquired several languages, e.g. Albanian and Russian. After returning home, he wrote his doctoral dissertation in 1897.
He was employed at the University of Copenhagen in 1900 as an associate professor of comparative linguistics with the obligation to continue teaching Slavic languages. From 1914 he was ordinary professor of comparative linguistics.
Among his many works, published in Danish and foreign journals, he wrote about Indo-European language history in general and about Slavic, Celtic, Armenian, Albanian and Lycian. He published several Albanian folk tales (also in German translation), which he himself recorded in Albania.
II. Professor Kristian Sandfeld (1873-1942)
In 1930 he published “Linguistique Balkanique”, which summarized existing research in Balkan linguistics and contributed significantly to semantic parallels between the Balkan languages, an angle which in the early 1990s had a renaissance in Balkan studies.
Modern Balkan linguistics is usually considered to have begun with Linguistique Balkanique, which really was a paraphrase of Danish-language Balkan philology. “An Overview of its Results and Problems” is from 1926. Based on his pioneering Balkan language studies, Kristian Sandfeld is considered the real founder of modern area typology.
III. Professor Gunnar Olaf Svane (1927 – 2012). Aarhus University
Born in Copenhagen, Svane grew up in the vicinity of Ribe, Southern Jutland, where at high school one of his teachers was Aage Sandfeld, son of Kristian Sandfeld, the founder of Balkan linguistics, a field that would later attract his scholarly attention. His special interest in the languages of the Balkans inspired Svane to take up Albanian.
He was absorbed by the lexicon: Slavic loanwords and Slavic-Albanian isoglosses, but also here mainly of the older layers. This appears in his article “How to Read Budi’s Speculum Confessionis” (Studia Albanica17/1, 1980), based on his work with the Royal Library’s copy of Pjetër Budi’s tome from 1621, and the monograph Slavische Lehnwörter im Albanischen (1992).
(Pjetër Budi (1566 – December 1622), writer of early Albanian literature, known in Italian as Pietro Budi, was an Albanian bishop of Sapë and the author of four religious works in Albanian).
The Danish journalist Fritz Magnussen (1878 – 1920) (left) as correspondent from the Danish newspaper RiGET reports in October – November 2012 in 10 articles from the brutal war in Kosovo and Macedonia. He first supports the Serbian side but changes his position due to Serbian atrocities. The editor of RIGET was Franz von Jessen (1870 – 1949) who travelled the Balkans / Albania extensively in 1903 and 1908.
Anders Fenger, in The Worker: “VDA was founded in 1970, then under the name Danish – Albanian Federation (DAF). The foundation of DAF (VDA) must be seen against the background of a growing awareness in Denmark of a society which, not least through its attitude and active participation in the great controversy of the 1960s, emerged as a clear example of real socialism in Europe.
The driving forces were the desire to spread awareness and support for socialist Albania, as such an example, through diverse and broad orientation on the political, economic and cultural aspects of Albanian society and the struggle for socialist construction, – as well as supporting the defense of national independence. Focus of this work was the strengthening of the friendship between the Danish and Albanian peoples.
An important part of the VDA’s work was the friendship trips, which took place every year during the summer months. It was both a study and holiday trip aimed at strengthening the friendship and knowledge of socialist Albania – including in the VDA – and strengthening the work of the association.
With the internal showdown of the Communist Workers’ Party (KAP), which in 1978 ended with the party’s division and the formation of the Communist Party of Denmark – Marxists Leninists (DKP/ML), the VDA became closely linked to DKP/ML. The collapse of the Workers’ Party of Albania in 1990-91, following the general collapse of Eastern Europe, was also the death knell for the VDA and revealed that the VDA was closely linked to the existence of the Albanian Workers” Party”.
Image : Part of Danish group visiting Albania in 1976. (Jan P.)
This is how Albania was presented as a new destination in Spies’ catalog in 1971. Now Albania was relaunched for the summer of 2019 with an even more attractive presentation on the tour operator’s website.
There are not many destinations in Europe to which you can put the predicate “almost undetected”. One of them is Albania – a country that Simon Spies already tried in 1971 to put on the Danes’ travel map with direct charter flights to Tirana. It became one of the king’s very few failures.
Erik Storm was Simon Spies’ sales manager when the King of Travel in the early 1970s decided to send a Sterling Caravelle to Tirana. – “It was a completely different and almost closed country to which we flew the first Danish charter guests. Enver Hoxha was the country’s hardline communist leader, who with closed borders, weapons in hand and a myriad of bunkers would defend himself against Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and Western countries. Simon wanted to show the Danes a rule that they should not want to have – even though there were political forces at the time who fought for the basic political idea.
Already on arrival, the Danish charter guests got a taste of the country’s iron-hard system: – The men, who were slightly long-haired and long-bearded, had to have a sharp haircut and shave at the airports hairdresser. If the women wore short dresses, they had to dive into their suitcase and find something more suitable. On the beaches were placed masts with speakers, from which sounded Mao tributes and the capital Tirana could only be visited together with a local guide very close by”, says Erik Storm.
“The Danes interest in Albania journeys in 1971 was modest – i.a. because a visa at that time was to be issued in Stockholm – so only seven or eight tours were flown”. In 2019 Spies is back again.
In spring and summer 1997 60 Danish soldiers (out of 7.000) take part in the Italian led and by the EU, US and OSCE supported military and humanitarian Operation Alba (Dawn) in Albania. The Danish troops operated in the Tirana – Durres area. The necessity and effect of the ALBA operation has been disputed.
AFOR, Albania Force, NATO force in Albania 1999 in connection with the conflict in Kosovo. In April-August 1999, a Danish unit of approx. 150 people was in the force. It was originally intended that the force should be stationed in Kosovo, and the original name was KFOR.
In 1999, Denmark also participated in the NATO bombing of Serbia to protect the Albanian population in Kosovo. The bombings were controversial in Denmark because they took place without a mandate from the UN Security Council. Thus, for the first time since the establishment of the UN in 1945, Denmark had been involved in attacking a foreign country without a mandate from the world organization. The obligation to protect the civilian population in Kosovo weighed heavier, and there was broad support in the Danish Parliament for the Social Democratic-Radical government’s proposal that Denmark should participate.
Miqësia – Danish-Albanian Association was founded in Copenhagen on 22. January 2003. Miqësia is Albanian for friendship. Several members have participated in development projects in Albania.
The first chairman was Albanian HC. former High Court judge Hans Henrik Brydensholt and later Chairman Tue Magnussen.
The association collected experience from Danish-Albanian cooperation during the transitional assistance (which ended late 2003). The transitional assistance was carried out in several phases under the auspices of Danida.
The association partially stopped in 2010 and was closed in 2018.
Danish vs Albania national teams:
There many are other sports in which Albania and Denmark have met on a national level but reporting on that would be beyond the scope of this paper.
a. Consulate 1.8.1925: Consul (1928 Consul General) Martin Kirstein Ewald Petersen-Bach (Kirstein Bach from 1934) Stormgade 8, Copenhagen. Central 655.
Royal wine Purveyor, R of D. Co-owner of Schalburg Wine Company, Stormgade 8, Copenhagen.
Private residence: Strandvejen 118, Hellerup (1938). From the Albanian MEFA’s website.
From the Albanian MEFA’s website. History:
1925: Albanian consul in Copenhagen (Denmark, Danish citizen) sends a thank you letter to Ahmet Zogu, promising to provide comprehensive assistance as well as contribute to the development of good relations between the two countries. (90 73 Konsulli i Shqipërisë në Konpenhagën (Danimarkë, shtetas Danez), i drejton një letër falederimit Ahmet Zogut dhe i premton që do ti japë ndihmë të gjithëanshme si dhe kontibojë për zhvillimin e marrëdhënieve të mira midis dy shtetëve. s.d. 0 0)
b. Consulate: 1935: Consul General, high court barrister Poul Tvermoes
B. 27. Sept. 1889 on Søllerødgaard – d. 26. Dec. 1976; S. of Jægermester, Godsejer Carl Fritz Cornelius T. and wife Maren Pouline Marie Hansen; m. 12. Aug. 1919 w. Ingrid Nordentoft, b. 21. okt. 1894; d. of Overingeniør i Hærens tekniske Korps Otto Nordentoft and wife Emma Mygdal. — 1907 Student from Birkerød. 1914 cand.jur. 15. May 1914 trainee at O.sagf. A. L. Hilliger, from 23. Okt. 1916 at O. sagf. H. Frisenette. 3. July 1917 High court barrister. — 1935-39 Konsul General for Albania. — Foreign decorations.: Alb. S. 2. Residence: Christiansgade 18.2.
a.2000 – 2001 The Albanian Ombudsman institution (https://www.avokatipopullit.gov.al/en/):
The social trauma that occurred in Albania during the first 10 years of transition (1991-2000) due to the change of political system, could not be managed responsibly by the traditional institutions of the state. Police, military, courts and other structures that define the existence of the state, in 1997, for a short time, in no small part of the territory of the state fell into total collapse. Since that moment it was proved that the international community, present and influential in Albania since the beginning of the democratic process, after 1997 implemented a different strategy, so as the development programs for the establishment and strengthening of new democratic institutions of the Albanian state.
Albania’s new constitution was approved by referendum in 1998 as a contribution of local experts, as well as the international ones. In this new constitution was envisaged intention to create a new institution of Ombudsman. In February 1999 the Albanian Parliament approved the relevant law with 40 articles ‘On the People’s Advocate’, which is a combination of the Danish and the Swedish Ombudsman laws.
The first process of selecting the People’s Advocate (Ombudsman) was conducted by the Albanian Parliament on 16 February 2000. The Constitution requires that the Ombudsman is elected by no less than 3/5 of all deputies. Albanian Parliament entrusted the task for the first time to Mr. Ermir Dobjani who was re-elected in February 2005 for a second term up to 16 February 2010.
b. Financial projects:
1994 to 2003, Denmark provides transitional assistance to Albania (page 19 and 20).
2009 – 2013 Project: Value Chains for Sustainable Livelihoods in Mountainous Albania ¤,8 Mill. Euro
2011 – 2016 Support to human rights and good governance (Ombudsman) 1,4 Mill. Euro.
2013 – 2018 Project: Albania: Agricultural Sector Programme. 6 Mill. Euro. (page 23).
2019 Project: Danish Red Cross/IFRC efforts in relation to the earthquake in Albania.
1970 Prime minister Nehmet Shehu meets with Ambassador Tyge Dahlgaard (Beograd 1968 – 1972) and diplomatic relations are opened 29.05.1970. (The Hilmar Baunsgaard BVC – government).
Tyge Dahlsgaard was a professional Danish diplomat who was appointed Minister of Labour and international relations in the social-democratic in 1966 but was forced to stop in 1967 when he in a speech to students argued that
cooperation between countries should be based on economic interests only. 23. June 1971 a one-year trade agreement between Denmark and Albania was signed.
1.Albanian representation in Denmark 2002 –
a.2002 Qemal Minxhozi, Chargé d´affaires (Born 1. April 1953 in Burrel) Albanian diplomat and politician.
Education: Faculty of History and Philology, Department of Foreign Languages. 1972 – 1976. Work experience: Qemal Minxhozi from 1991 to 2002 has developed a wide cooperation activity between state bodies and civil society of Albania and the Kingdom of Denmark. He is the author of several cooperation projects between the two countries in the period in question. From 2002 to 2005 he was as Chargé d´affaires in charge of the permanent work of the Embassy of the Republic of Albania in Denmark. Mr. Minxhozi has been a member of the Albanian Parliament in two legislatures, from 2005-2009 and 2009-2013. Since March 13, 2014, Mr. Minxhozi holds the position of Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to Kosovo.
b.2005 Bardhyl Agasi, Ambassador
c.2005 Dr. Harilla Goga, Chargé d´affaires
2019 Minister Plenipotentiary at Albanian General Consulate to Ioannina.
d. 2007 Aferdita Dalla, Ambassador
e. 2010 Arben Cici, Ambassador
In November 2011 all Albanian Honorary Consuls were invited to a 3-days meeting (27. – 30.11.) in Tirana.
f.2015 Kastriot Robo, Ambassador
g.2019 Elida Petoshati, Ambassador
Excerpt from the Albanian MEFA´s archives:
“To build a foreign professional service, with a special decision of the Council of Ministers, in October 1920, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. Konica, was asked to find a consul from the old Austrian consuls to be hired for a 2-year period for organizing Albanian consulates and serving as teacher for those who wanted to enter the consular service of Albania. Then, in August 1921, the National Council (parliament), upon the proposal of the Foreign Policy Committee, decided to open the Albanian consulates in Brindisi, Trieste and Florence”.
“….One of the first acts that the Presidency of the Republic of Albania undertook was the call to all higher state institutions for the preparation of draft laws regarding the organization of these institutions and the administrative segregation of duties. At the same time, based on the models of counterpart institutions abroad, the MFA proposed to the Council of Ministers to start applying the system of diplomatic degrees during the diplomatic career of each official. The proposal was approved.
While the first honorary consulate was opened in Copenhagen on August 1, 1925, the year 1926 also recognized the main wave of the opening of honorary consulates of the Republic of Albania in the world (at no cost), the purpose of which H. Vrioni stated was ” … to make our country known through trade and economy, to find and protect Albanians who are there and those who travel for commercial, cultural and educational purposes, etc. “
In 1926 the Council of Ministers also approved the “Regulation on the official uniform of the diplomatic and consular body” according to European models”.
The accession of Albania to the League of Nations in December 1920, without the status of an independent state being confirmed, forced the Albanian state to open in January 1921 a representative office in Geneva, where the headquarters of the League were located. Eugen Pittardi, a Swiss national, a friend of Albania, with the approval of the Nation’s Council, is appointed First Honorary Consul General of the Albanian state in Geneva. The Albanian state paid for the house expenses.
- Contacts and Danish representation in Albania since 1994
During the 70s and 80s the relations between the two countries have been very limited. Danish interest towards Albania increased with the political pluralism in Albania. On 5 February 1993, an Albanian delegation headed by the deputy FM visited Denmark.
From 27 to 28 March 1994, a delegation from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen visited Albania for the first time In April 1994 the Albanian Minister of Transport visited Denmark. During the visit was signed the Agreement on the International Transport of goods and passengers.From June 29 to July 1, 1994 the Minister of Labour of Denmark Jytte Andersen visited Tirana. She was received by the highest levels and among others, there was signed a cooperation agreement between the two Ministries of Labour.7- 8 July 1994, visited Albania the Danish Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Helle Degn. During the visit the counterparts discussed the Danish assistance to Albania.
The same year, the Danish Parliament approved an aid to Albania of 45 million DKK (7.5 million USD) for a period of three years. This assistance mainly included the creation of the NGOs in the areas of civil society, journalism, health, education, justice, local government, trade unions, etc. (section 15).
On 28. December 1994 the Danish Honorary Consulate in Tirana was opened and Mr. Tanush Frashëri, historian, was appointed Danish Honorary Consul.
On September 4 to 6 1995, Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfred Serreqi paid an official visit to Denmark. During the visit was signed the Agreement on Mutual Promotion and Protection of Investments between the two countries.
b. Danish Amabassadors:
On April 29, 1997 the Danish Ambassador, Henrik Ree Iversen, resident in Rome, presented the credentials to the President of the Republic of Albania, as non-resident Ambassador.
From November 30 to December 1, 1998, The Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo, paid an official visit to Denmark. During this visit the counterparts agreed to continue the high-level political dialogue and a new Danish aid of 100 million DKK (about 16 million USD) was offered to Albania for the period 1999-2001, aiming to increase it with 50% for the next two years (page 15).
From June 13 to 15, 1999, The Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko paid an official visit to Denmark.
1999 Jørgen Reimers. Opening of Danish embassy in Tirana. (The Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, SV government)
From June 26 to September 27, 2000, was organized in Tirana the annual consultation round between delegations from the Foreign Ministries of Albania and Denmark.
On February 1, 2001 the Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta paid an official visit to Denmark.
On June 6, 2001, The Danish Foreign Minister, Mogens Lykketoft paid an official visit in Tirana.
On September 26, 2001, in Copenhagen were held political consultations between the Foreign Ministries of both countries
2002 – 2006 Ministerråd Finn Theilgaard, Chargé d´affaires
In June 2004, was organized in Copenhagen a meeting between the delegations of high level from the Defense Ministries of both countries.
In June 2004, the Deputy Minister of Health, Eduard Hashorva met in Copenhagen with relevant Danish authorities regarding cooperation on several projects between the two countries.
In August 2004, the Albanian Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Blendi Klosi visited Copenhagen, to discuss bilateral cooperation and exchange experiences with the Nordic Council of Ministers.
In August 2004, paid a visit in Copenhagen, the Minister of Local Government and Decentralization, Ben Blushi to exchange experiences regarding the structural reform on local government.
Finn Theilgaard, left and MFA Besnik Mustafaj
2006 – 2008 Niels Severin Munk (1941 – 2009) Ambassador
Albanian advocate for human rights, Elsa Ballauri, receives the MDG3 Champion Torch from the Ambassador of Denmark to Albania, Niels Severin Munk.
From 6. to 7. June 2006 the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Moeller paid an official visit to Albania
In April 2007, the Speaker of the Albanian Parliament, Jozefina Topalli visited Denmark.
In October 2007, the Albanian Foreign Minister, Lulzim Basha visited Denmark.
2008 – 2012 Karsten Ankjær Jensen, Ambassador
From 30 to 31 March 2009 the President of the Republic of Albania, Mr. Bamir Topi paid a visit in Denmark, accompanied by a group of businessmen and met the Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rassmussen.
In April 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark in Tirana, organized a working session on Economic Diplomacy, with the theme “Economic diplomacy Danish Model”. Participated: The Danish Under Secretary for Investments and Trade, Albanian Deputy Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy diplomats from the Albanian FM, representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister, the ALBINVEST, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc.
On May 28, 2010, the Albanian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ilir Meta paid an official visit to Denmark.
After the 2010 Albania floods, Denmark contributed with fodder and Danish ambassador for Albania, Karsten Ankjær Jensen said “It is vital that all good forces unite to help alleviate the disaster and suffering endured by everyone in the flooded areas. Hopefully our efforts will provide relief and ensure the livelihood of the affected farmers.”
2012 – 2016 Mads Sandau-Jensen, Ambassador
On May 8, 2012, the Albanian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Edmond Haxhinasto paid an official visit to Denmark met and with Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal and Minister of European Affairs Nicolai Wammen to discuss the situation in Kosovo.
In September 2012, Minister for development Christian Friis Bach visited Albania and Kosovo on a fact – finding tour.
In December 2013, the Albanian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Edmond Panariti, visited Copenhagen and signed an aid agreement of 80 million DKK for developing the Albanian agriculture in some remote regions. (section 15).
On March 31 to April 2, 2014, the Albanian Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ilir Meta paid an official visit to Denmark. During his stay in Copenhagen he made a speech in the Danish Foreign Policy Society.
On May 25 to 26, 2014, the Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ditmir Bushati paid a visit to Denmark.
September 2014, the Albanian Minister of Health Ilir Beqja participated to the 64th Session of the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen.
On 30 March 2015, the Danish Ombudsman, Mr. Jørgen Steen Sørensen, paid a working visit to Albania during which he confirmed the on-going support to the Albanian Ombudsman.
2017 Anders Bjørn Hansen, Ambassador – Danish embassy closure (2017)
“The closure of the Albanian Embassy is, according to the Ministry, because Danish aid to the country is being phased out.
The embassy was opened after the conflict in Kosovo back in 1999 to facilitate, among other things, the development assistance that Denmark has given to Albania and Kosovo over the years.
With the phasing out of aid, the government has decided to close the embassy. Diplomatic relations between Denmark, Albania and Kosovo will henceforth be covered from the Embassy in Vienna”.
Danish commercial activities in Albania are handled by the Trade Council at the Danish Embassy in Croatia.
Danish Consulate in Tirana:
2017 – Danish Honorary Consul in Tirana, Lawyer Përparim Kalo.
Përparim Kalo´s lawfirm was the law firm of the Danish embassy in Tirana and when the Danish embassy was closed in 2017 Mr. Kalo was appointed Danish honorary consul in Tirana.
“The Danish businesses have shown interest to invest in areas like the renewable energy, tourism, trade, etc. Our countries are trying to further strengthen the trade and economic cooperation through forums, economic conferences, political exchanges, ease for Danish investments, and the increase of the Albanian Exports toward the Danish and Scandinavian markets.
The Danish investments in Albania are in low level, but there is an interest in areas like tourism (In June 2018 for first time ever started the direct flights Copenhagen-Tirana) and the number of Danish tourists visiting Albania has increased considerably. Some of Danes have started to invest in the Albanian Real Estate.
Albanian exports toward Danish market: in 2013- 363 million ALL (Albanian Lek), in 2014-138 million, in 2015- 436 million, in 2016- 857 million and in 2017- 401 million.
Danish imports in Albania have been in 2013- 509 million, in 2014- 1078 million, in 2015- 1293 million, in 2016- 1004 million, and in 2017- 2812 million. The trade balance is clearly in favour of Denmark”. According to the Danish MFA (2020) 10 Danish companies are represented in Albania.
The Danish architect Bjarke Ingels first came to Tirana in 2011. His company BIG was invited to participate in a competition to design a mosque and a museum of tolerance. BIG wins, but the project is stopped as the Democratic Party wins the local elections by an extremely narrow margin. In 2013, Bjarke Ingels is invited by Prime Minister Edi Rama to a symposium on Albania’s future development. In 2016, BIG is invited by the city council in Tirana to prepare a sketch proposal for a new theatre complex and in 2018, BIG’s project is chosen. The demolition of the old Italian theatre from 1939 gives rise to extensive debate and demonstrations in 2020.
…where he met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark, Anders Samuelsen.
Ministers Bushati and Samuelsen discussed the process of Albania’s European integration, the dynamics of bilateral relations, regional cooperation and European security issues.
Minister Bushati expressed gratitude to his colleague Samuelsen for Denmark’s support for the democratic transformation processes in our country and the European integration process.
Focusing on the European integration, both Ministers shared their view on the transformational impact of the enlargement policy in the Balkan countries. Minister Bushati informed his colleague about the progress of the reform process in Albania, dwelling on the justice reform and the progress made in meeting the five required priorities.
Minister Samuelsen, confirming Denmark’s support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans and assessing the work done, said that the European Commission is the best institution to evaluate the progress made and that Denmark will support the European Commission’s recommendation in its report for Albania in April. Minister Samuelson voiced appreciation for the full alignment of Albania to EU decisions on foreign and security policy.
The ministers also discussed the situation in the region. Minister Samuelsen praised the constructive role of Albania in the Western Balkans region as a constant factor of stability and regional cooperation. In this context, both Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening the European perspective of the Balkan region through a clear and inclusive vision of the Enlargement Strategy, which is expected to be adopted soon.
In the framework of his official visit to Denmark, the Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Gent Cakaj, held a meeting with his counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Jeppe Kofod.
“Positively assessing the bilateral cooperation, we stressed the importance of deepening relations between our countries, especially in the economic field,” – said Cakaj in a Facebook post regarding the meeting.
Also, Cakaj stressed that Denmark has played a very important role in opening of negotiations for Albania. Therefore, according to acting Minister Cakaj, it is crucial to provide correct information about the work that Albania is doing to implement the obligations for the First Intergovernmental Conference.
“We will continue our political and diplomatic work with all member states to enable Albania’s progress towards EU membership,” Cakaj said. The two counterparts also praised the mutual support for committing as non-permanent members of the Security Council.
6 march 2023: Danish PM Mette Frederiksen visits Tirana.
Danish PMs office: PRESS RELEASE 03.03.23
The Prime Minister travels to Albania and Croatia
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will travel on 6-7 March to Albania and Croatia. Here the Prime Minister visits the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
The focus of the trip will, among other things, be be migration challenges and the significant increase in the number of migrants and refugees trying to reach the EU.
The number of asylum seekers last year was the highest in the EU since the migration crisis in 2015 and 2016. The Western Balkan route was the most used migration route with approx. 150,000 registered irregular border crossings, corresponding to an increase of 136 per cent. compared to 2021.
In addition to migration, the Prime Minister and her colleagues will also discuss the war in Ukraine and the importance of security and stability in the Western Balkans.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen states:
“The Western Balkans is the EU’s immediate area, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlines the region’s geopolitical importance. The EU must be actively present as a constructive cooperation partner. I look forward to discussing this with my Albanian and Croatian colleague,” says Mette Frederiksen and continues:
“When I travel to the Western Balkans, it is largely also to discuss migration. The EU is experiencing the highest influx of migrants since the migration crisis. Far too many come to Europe without need of protection, and far too few rejected ones are sent back. The route by the Western Balkans in particular is under pressure. This underlines the need for action, and that is why we in Denmark are pushing for a reform of the European asylum system. Just as strengthened borders and cooperation with the Western Balkans are essential if we are to have slowed the migration flows towards the EU.”
It is the first time ever that a Danish Prime Minister visits Albania. The most recent Danish Prime Minister’s visit to Croatia was in 2008.
For further information: The Prime Minister’s press phone +45 29 10 88 25.
Albanian media: Prime Minister Edi Rama received on Monday his Danish counterpart, Mette Frederiksen, where they discussed the relationship between the two countries. In a joint press conference held after the bilateral meeting, they unveiled plans to improve co-operation between the countries. The Danish PM stated that Albania is a very valued partner for Denmark and a highly trusted NATO ally, while she felt honoured as the first Danish Prime Minister to visit Albania. Frederiksen said that Denmark would support Albania towards the path of European Union (EU) accession. She described PM Rama as one of the strongest voices in Europe when it comes to the importance of a full integration between the Western Balkans and the rest of Europe. She highlighted Albania’s role in supporting Ukraine following the Russian aggression and commitment to EU accession.
Regarding EU accession, Rama said that the goal is not quick membership but fulfilling the conditions for a dignified entry. He also stated that with Denmark, Albania has a history of very good diplomatic relations that need deepening in terms of economic co-operation in general and in the tourist industry in particular. “Denmark has been actively involved in Albania’s transformation, either through its aid agency, but above all politically and diplomatically as a determined supporter of Albania and the Western Balkans in the process of European integration,” Rama said. “We see a significant increase in the number of Danish tourists in Albania and direct flights from Copenhagen to Tirana have increased year after year. We are also noticing an interest of the Danish enterprises for direct investments into Albania, especially in the sectors of energy or trade,” Rama said. Rama, describing PM Frederiksen’s visit to Tirana as historic, thanking her for the support given to Albania in the wake of the November 2019 earthquake.
Copenhagen / Gentofte March 8. 2023