Danish MFA Kofod visits Albania, the Open Balkan Initiative, Merkel to visit Western Balkan and more...

The Letter From The Consulate

No. 166.
Gentofte/Copenhagen, Thursday 2. September 2021
Dear reader,

Danish MFA Kofod on a 2 day visit to Albania 

Foreign Minister Olta Xhaçka has made a press statement with her Danish counterpart, Jeppe Kofod, who is in Tirana on an official visit. 

"Albania has done a fantastic job with the reforms," ​​Kofod said during his speech.

Xhaçka expressed her gratitude to Denmark for its support to our country.
"Appreciation for Denmark's support for the First Intergovernmental Conference. Danish support, proof of Albania's tangible and convincing progress. Our high expectations from the next meeting of the EU Council. "Thanks to the Danish government for its contribution to the earthquake and the fight against the pandemic", said Xhaçka.

The open Balkan Initiative
Witnessing the leaders of Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia share a moment of collective jubilation is not something that happens every day, especially in a region known for its past rifts and differences.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev were all smiles as they took a stroll through the Macedonian capital of Skopje in late July after signing a trilateral economic agreement at a regional business forum.

Called the Open Balkan initiative, the idea of forming a common market for countries waiting for EU membership was previously known as Mini-Schengen Area.
The initiative is trade-heavy, and it promises free movement of goods and citizens and equal access to labour markets. Participating countries would save up to $3.2 billion (€2.71 bn) each year, according to World Bank estimates.

A previous attempt was made during the Berlin Process, a German-led cooperation initiative designed for the Western Balkan countries, which never culminated in a binding agreement.
The Berlin Process started in 2014 was meant to assuage increased Euroscepticism in the region after then-EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced a five-year moratorium on the union's admission of new members.

Seven years later, the region's countries are trying to prove they can do things on their own, with or without the EU's help. Read on...

Angela Merkel expected to visit the Western Balkans 14. September.
 TIRANA- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to visit Tirana on September 14. Sources for Report Tv confirm that Merkel is expected to visit Albania to meet the leaders of the Western Balkans in the framework of the Berlin process.

Recall that the last Berlin summit was held online on July 5. During this summit, Prime Minister Edi Rama was harsh and directly criticized the EU leaders, saying that the nationalisms of their countries are making the path of integration of the Western Balkan countries very difficult.
On  June 22, 2021,  Albania was blocked in the opening of negotiations precisely because of the  veto that Bulgaria
  has made to Northern Macedonia, as the integration of the two countries in the EU will be done together. Rama also mentioned the differences that EU countries have with those in the Balkans in terms of the funds they benefit from.

The European Union should review the process of EU membership of the Western Balkan countries, said the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli.....

The European Union should review the process of EU membership of the Western Balkan countries, said the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli in his speech at the opening of the Strategic Forum in Bled, Slovenia.
 "The countries of the Western Balkans are part of our history and we share a common identity with them. That is why we must be ready to commit to the membership process because we have to review this process we can not keep states and public opinion waiting for decades. "They want to join our European family," said Sassoli.

Billund - Tirana
Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air will station the sixth aircraft at its Tirana base and thus enabling the launch of four new routes from and to Albania. The new aircraft that will join the fleet at Tirana International Airport (TIA) in December 2021 will also increase the flight frequency of eight existing routes.

The new destinations that will be added to Wizz Air’s network are Liverpool in the UK, Madrid in Spain, Billund in Denmark, and Oslo Sandefjord Torp in Norway. All four new routes will start operations between December 10th and December 12th. 

The Rama 3 government:
Prime Minister - Edi Rama
Deputy Prime Minister - Arben Ahmetaj
Minister of Foreign Affairs - Olta Xhacka
Minister of Defense - Niko Peleshi
Minister of Justice - Ulsi Manja
Minister of Interior - Bledi Çuçi
Minister of Economy and Finance - Delina Ibrahimi
Minister of Infrastructure - Belinda Balluku
Minister of Health - Ogerta Manastirliu
Minister of Education and Sports - Evis Kushi
Minister of Agriculture - Frida Krifca
Minister of Culture Elva Margariti
Minister of Environment and Tourism, - Mirela Kumbaro
4 state ministers:
Elisa Spiropali on relations with parliament
Edona Bilalli Minister of State for Entrepreneurship
Bora Muzhaqi Minister of State for Youth and Children
Milva Ekonomi, Minister of State for Standards and Quality

That´s all for now, but more to come.....

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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