Governmental gender balance, Bundestag on Albania, plastic ban, Danish cannabis, religion in Albania, an Albanian royal birthday.

Den albanske regering
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Dear reader,

Who says that Albania is lagging behind. Take a look at the above picture of the Albanian government. 7 men and 8 women!

The decision of the German government and the Bundestag on September 26. to recommend that EU membership negotiations with Albania should be decided on the EU Council meeting on October 17. – 18. 2019 is no less than a political masterpiece.

Talks, Germany says, can start now, but progress on all important topics must and will be closely monitored. This detailed plan will leave little room for reluctant EU member countries to vote no. It seems that France has accepted the detailed German plan which leaves only The Netherlands, and maybe Denmark, to be convinced.

1. Almost BREAKING: things are moving……
Europe is planning to announce accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia at an EU affairs ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on 15 October, according to draft conclusions seen by the Bloomberg news agency. “In light of the progress achieved on reforms,” the EU ministers will agree “to open accession negotiations”, the draft communique, which was circulated on September 27., said. France and the Netherlands have previously opposed this necessary  move.

2. Germany: Opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania can start. 
In a major boost to the EU membership hopes of both Balkan countries, the German Bundestag on September 26. voted to support the start of EU accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania.
The vote means the German government should be “in favor” of a start date for the two countries at the European Council meeting on October 17-18.
MPs set no conditions for the start of EU accession talks with North Macedonia. Legislators from the ruling center-right Christian Democratic Party expressed support for the country’s reform efforts, mentioning the historic 2018 “name” agreement with Greece as an exemplary achievement for the entire region that closed a decades-long dispute.
Regarding Albania, the Bundestag recommended setting a date for the start of talks, but conditioned their technical beginning on Albania first creating the conditions for its Constitutional Court to function and reforming its electoral laws.
However, they still have to deal with the reservations of France, The Netherlands and maybe a few other EU countries.
Initially, the European Council was to decide on a date for North Macedonia and Albania in June, after the European Commission in May recommended the EU to open membership talks with both countries. Read about and watch the Bundestag decision (in German) here.

3. The opening of EU accession negotiations of Albania and Northern Macedonia is a pressing need in the Western Balkans.

Albanian Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Gent Cakaj (left)

This has been one of the points agreed by heads of delegations of the Western Balkan countries at a working dinner on Sept. 22. in New York hosted by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini.
Invited to this meeting was also the Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Gent Cakaj, who was in New York to participate in the proceedings of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. At the meeting with the leaders of the Western Balkans in New York, one of the topics of discussion was the open issues in the Western Balkans.“The essence of the discussions at this meeting was the overall review of the political situation in the region. Overall, we agreed that the closure of open issues in the Western Balkans is essential to guarantee not only stability but also its overall socio-political development. Also, of all the participants emphasized the need for the opening of negotiations for EU membership of Albania and Northern Macedonia in October. “ – Cakaj writes in a posting on social networks, accompanied by a picture of the meeting.
The head of Albanian diplomacy underlines that the continuation of the EU enlargement process in the Western Balkans is of particular importance for deepening reforms, to help further the democratization process and to consolidate the European orientation of the region in general.
“The EU accession process has no alternative to any of the other Western Balkan countries!” – Acting Minister Cakaj concludes his post.

A nice photo.

Prime Minister Edi Rama and wife Linda on the occasion of the UN general  Assembly a.o. had his photo taken with Donald Trump and wife Melania.

Great, no more plastic bags in Albania!
Minister of Tourism and Environment Blendi Klosi announced the government’s initiative aimed at fully banning of the disposable plastic bags by 1 June 2020. He made this announcement at an event held that the Aleksandër Moisiu University in Durrës on September 21. According to Klosi, Albania would be the first European country to achieve this goal, following on the footsteps of other European countries who have greatly reduced the use of plastic bags, which he said was a major source of pollution for the country’s land and sea environments.

Religion in Albania

The above figures are based on an estimate from 2009. Other estimates may differ up to 10 %.. But anyway, religion is not an important issue for most of the 2,9 mio. Albanians. Even maybe less than e.g. in Denmark. The Albanian constitution guarantees freedom of  religion and Albanians are proud of their countries religious tolerance. During Christmas time a Christmas tree is a must.

Project Mediterranean – plastic.
Levels of microplastics are rising across the Mediterranean Sea, according to marine biologists who have spent six years studying the scale of the problem.
Alarming results from plankton samples were revealed at a conference about the sea on the island of Ponza, near Naples, Italy.
The data comes from Project Mediterranean — a floating laboratory that has been touring the waters to build a picture of the extent of pollution.
It found large amounts of garbage on the seabed, mainly in areas where the currents form vortices.
A lot of plastic waste that ends up in the sea is eroded down into microplastics and eaten by smaller fish, which in turn enter the human food chain.
“The production of plastic in the world increases of nine percent every year,” said Professor Adriano Madonna, a leading marine biologist at the University of Naples.
“When it is possible, let’s go back to glass, let’s go back to glass, which can be recycled.”

Danish medical cannabis is really good business – and quite legal!
A Danish landowner, producing cannabis at his estate has also, together with 2 partners, invested in cannabis in other ways, which, according to the stock exchange, has thrown a huge profit. In a spectacular trade he has scored over a quarter of a billion Danish kroner on shares of Canadian Canopy Growth. CCG is the world’s largest producer of medical cannabis, and the stock exploded during 2018. His company, Danish Cannabis, bought shares in the listed Canadian company for about DKK 33 million. in August 2017 at close to price 9 and sold at price 68. This resulted in a gain of DKK 252 million = 34 Mio. Euro.

 

Today a royal birthday can be celebrated.

Zog I
King of the  Albanians (Albanian: Naltmadhnija e tij Zogu I, Mbreti i Shqiptarëve. ( 8 October 1895 – 9 April 1961), born Ahmet Muhtar Zogolli, taking the surname Zogu in 1922, was the leader Albania from 1922 to 1939. He first served as Prime Minister (1922–1924), then as President (1925–1928), and finally as king (1928–1939).

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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