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The latest news from and about Albania!

The Letter From The Consulate

No. 179.
Gentofte/Copenhagen, Thursday 31. March 2022
Dear reader,

The Russian war in Ukraine of course affects all political activity.

"Brothers in arms...."
We start this edition of the Newsletter with a photo of a cordial meeting at the Nato meeting in  Bruxelles on March 21. Prime Minister Edi Rama with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Danish MFA Jeppe Kofod and Danish Minister of Defence Morten Bødskov.

Nato airbase in Albania
An old communist-era airbase in Albania is set to become a tactical station of operations for NATO when it reopens in 2023. Military spending is now on the rise in much of Europe — most notably in Germany — but also in the Balkans.
Tensions are also rising in Albania's vicinity. Croatia, which is a NATO member, and Serbia, which opposes the alliance, appear to be in a mini arms race. Serbia has acquired upgraded MiG-29 aeroplanes, tanks, and missile systems from Russia, whilst Croatia has bought 12 Rafale fighter jets from France.
Work started in January to upgrade the Kuçovë airbase as a modern hub of operations, improving its ability to host an array of modern era fighter jets.

Fuel and food prices up
a number of Albanian citizens resumed protests in front of the Prime Minister’s Office to demand relief for the rise in living costs, print and electronic media report. Earlier this month, Albanian citizens launched a wave of protests against the unaffordable spike in fuel and food prices. As reported by the media, the crowd of protestors has thinned out from its mid-March heights. As usual, protestors held signs demanding that prices be lowered and sought help from the government.


The national statistics institution, INSTAT, found that the cost of 30 essential food items increased by 40 per cent from January 2022, including meat, dairy products, cooking oils, and fruit and vegetables, while the fuel cost has increased by 40 per cent.
The government of Prime Minister Edi Rama unveiled earlier this month a seven-point ‘social resistance’ package to help Albanians withstand the soaring fuel and consumer good prices, but citizens argue these measures are not enough. PM Rama also established a transparency board to respond to the rising fuel price


Diesel, gasoline and gas.
In a meeting held on March 29, the so-called Transparency Board on the fuel prices decided to cut by ALL8 the price of diesel per litre, setting it at ALL237/l, (1,94 Euro) print and electronic media report. In addition, the Board set the gasoline’s price at ALL211/l, (1,7 3 Euro)whereas the gas price was set at ALL116. The price would be valid until 31 March 2022

Bulgarian PM Optimistic About Resolving North Macedonia Dispute
Expressing optimism about a possible breakthrough in the dispute between Sofia and Skopje which has stalled North Macedonia’s progress towards the EU, Bulgaria’s premier said the next few weeks might prove crucial. Read on...

BERLIN, March 28 (Reuters) - Talks on Albania's and North Macedonia's accession to the European Union need to start as soon as possible because any delay will make Western Balkans vulnerable to outside influence, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday.
"It is clear for both Germany and Sweden that the EU must push ahead with institutional reforms to make itself capable of enlargement," Scholz said in a news conference after meeting Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

Tirana / Bruxelles March 28 - "Time has come for EU - Albania wedding".
Head of the Delegation the EU to Albania, Ambassador Luigi Soreca said on Monday in the  meeting of the National European Integration Council.
“ Albania has made important progress on its EU accession path. It’s now more than ever time to start accession talks, when EU’s stability and security is under threat due to Russia’s aggression of Ukraine,” he said before the Council.
Referring to the statements of Prime Minister Edi Rama who compared the accession process to a marriage between Albania and the EU, Ambassador Soreca said that the time for the wedding had already come, the wedding rings were ready and shinning, and the EU member states were well aware about what they wanted: the accession negotiations to start. “It is essential not to wait for the First Intergovernmental Conference to strengthen the administrative set-up to back the incoming talks". Ambassador Soreca said


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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