The new plan from the EU commission, Albanian comments, the earthquake costs, economy, skiing in Albania, HARABEL, the Albanian ombudsman.

Dear reader,

Do the Western Balkan countries belong to Europe? Yes they do. Do Albania and North Macedonia live up to the conditions set by the EU for opening membership negotiations? Yes they do. Is the revised strategy by the Commission acceptable for both the present EU members and the applicants? Yes, certainly. Will the start of negotiations speed up the economic development in Albanian and North Macedonia? Yes, no doubt. Will economic growth in the Western Balkans stabilize the EU? No doubt. Would a new no from a few countries improve anything?

The EU Commission unveils revised enlargement strategy.

Read statement by Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi by clicking here.
Read the EU Press release here.

Rama: “There is no alternative!

Prime Minister Edi Rama, who during a visit to the United States, participated in a conversation held at the Atlantic Council. Despite continued delays in the opening of membership talks with the European Union (EU), Rama said that Albania remained committed to pursuing EU membership because “there is no alternative.” Rama said that Albania is continuing with its planned reforms as European leaders debate the proper time to begin the membership process for Albania and its neighbor North Macedonia. “We are not sitting and crying,” Rama said. Albania is “not waiting for some miracle to happen.” Rama also welcomed the new European Commission’s proposals and said that he believed that French President Emmanuel Macron has “some very good points” about the flaws of the enlargement process. Although Rama welcomed the Commission’s new enlargement proposal, he said he was unwilling to try to predict when a positive decision on opening accession negotiations would be reached. “It is not one person or one organization,” he explained. “It is twenty-seven heads of states that have twenty-seven types of elections and types of problems.” Despite the uncertainty of when negotiations will start, he promised that Albania will continue “to do our work same as we would do if accession talks are opening.”
Read the full conversation. Don´t miss it.

Albania earthquake economic damage nears €1 billion.

Two months after Albania was jolted by a 6.4 earthquake, details are emerging about the damage done to over 11 municipalities. The 26Th November earthquake claimed the lives of 51 people, some 17,000 were left homeless, and a total of 202,000 persons suffered damage.
The official results of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) unveiled on Wednesday show that the cost of returning damaged homes and buildings to normal is Euro 843 million while the cost of loss was Euro 141.2 million. The total damage was estimated at Euro 985 million.(IIA)

Bank of Albania on the consequences of the earthquake.
The Bank of Albania (BoA) said on February 5. its Supervisory Board decided to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at record low 1%. Speaking at a press conference after the Supervisory Board’s meeting, BoA Governor Gent Sejko said that the available information indicates that the economic activity in the country was hit by last year’s earthquake but the disaster has not damaged the medium and long-term development trend. “The effects of the earthquake are expected to have a resultant slow-down in growth and inflation, but this slowdown is expected to be temporary and concentrated during 2020,” Sejko added. According to Sejko, economic growth accelerated to 3.8% year-on-year in the third quarter compared to the first half of the year, above the BoA’s expectations, with the acceleration driven by the good tourist season and the reduction of the negative effect of the decline in electricity production.

Albania has both. Sun and heat in summer and snow and frost in winter.

The village of Dardha (skiing since about 1920) in the southeast of the country, this weekend covered with snow.

Everything you need to know from the Albanian contemporary artistic scene.

Read on by clicking here

The Ombudman in Albania

The Albanian Ombudsman institution started in year 2000. Read on..

That´s all for now,

Hans-Georg Nielsen
Albanian Honorary Consul

Comments and suggestions are welcome on hgn(at)
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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