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Key facts:

Official Name:

Republic of Albania

Date of independence:

28 November 1912

The current Constitution was adopted on 21 October 1998

Population:

2,831,741 (2011 Census, State Institute of Statistics;

95% Albanian, 3% Greek, 2% Other

Capital city:

Tirana (607,000 inhabitants, source: Tirana.gov.al)

Other important cities:

Durres, Vlora, Elbasan, Shkoder

Area:

28,748 sq km

Bordering States:

Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro.

Main religions:

Islam (Sunni, Bektashi), Christian (Catholics and Orthodox)

Languages:

Albanian

 

 

Currency:

Albanian Lek [1 EUR = 138 Lek, 20 June 2012]

GDP (2010):

EUR 9,275.6 million = Lek 1,281,342 million

GDP per capita (2008):

EUR 2,784,7 million (source: Bank of Albania)

Unemployment:

13.8% (end of 2009)

Average monthly net wage:

EUR 324 = Lek 40,874 (2009)

Link:

 

Albanian Statistical Office (Albania in figures 2010)

 

Short chronology of EU accession:

 

31 January 2003

Launch of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Albania

12 June 2006

Signing of both the SAA and the Interim Agreement

12 December 2006

The Interim Agreement enters into force

1 January 2007

Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is established for the period 2007-2013. An envelope of EUR 212,9 million is allocated to Albania for 2007-2009

1 January 2008

Visa facilitation agreement enters into force

2 June 2008

Albania is granted a Roadmap for visa liberalisation

1 April 2009

Entry into force of the SAA

28 April 2009

Albania submits its application for EU membership

16 December 2009

Albania receives the European Commission's Questionnaire

15 April 2010

Albania submits the answers to the Commission's Questionnaire

27 May 2010

The Commission proposes visa liberalisation for Albania (and Bosnia and Herzegovina)

8 November 2010

EU Council of Ministers approves visa liberalisation

9 November 2010

Opinion on Albania's application for EU membership: the Commission assesses that Albania is not yet ready to start accession negotiations and refrains from proposing candidate status

15 December 2010

Visa liberalisation for Albania enters into force

 

 

Prime ministers since 1991

 

22 Feb 1991 – 5 June 1991

Fatos Nano (Party of Labour of Albania – PPSh)

5 June 1991 – 10 Dec 1991

Ylli Bufi (Socialist Party – PS, the renamed PPSh)

10 Dec 1991 – 13 April 1992

Vilson Ahmeti (Non Party affiliated)

13 April 1992 – 11 March 1997

Aleksander Meksi (Democratic Party – PD)

11 March 1997 – 24 July 1997

Bashkim Fino (Socialist Party – PS)

24 July 1997 – 2 Oct 1998

Fatos Nano (Socialist Party – PS)

2 Oct 1998 – 22 Oct 1999

Pandeli Majko (Socialist Party – PS)

22 Oct 1999 – 22 Feb 2002

Ilir Meta (Socialist Party – PS)

22 Feb 2002 – 30 July 2002

Pandeli Majko (Socialist Party – PS)

30 July 2002 – 11 Sept 2005

Fatos Nano (Socialist Party – PS)

11 Sept 2005 – Present

Sali Berisha (Democratic Party – PD)

 

 

Membership in international organisations

 

UN

14 December 1955

OSCE

19 June 1991

Council of Europe

13 July 1995

WTO

8 September 2000

NATO

1 April 2009 – same day the SAA entered into force

 

 

Politics

 

 

President:

Bamir Topi (Democratic Party, since 24 July 2007)

Prime minister:

Sali Berisha (Democratic Party, since September 2005)

Political Parties:

Albania has a single chamber parliament with 140 seats. Jozefina Coba Topalli has served as the country's first ever female parliament speaker since September 2005. The last parliamentary elections, held on 28 June 2009, produced the following results:

The "Alliance for Changes" coalition, led by the Democratic Party (PD) of incumbent prime minister Sali Berisha, won 70 seats. Out of the 18 parties composing the prime minister's coalition, only three are represented in the Assembly. The PD holds 68 seats, the Republican Party (PR) of Fatmir Mediu holds 1, and Tahir Muhedini's Party for Justice and Integration (PDI) holds 1.

The "Unification for Changes" coalition secured 66 seats, of which 65 went to the leading opposition Socialist Party (PS) of Edi Rama, the mayor of Tirana. The remaining seat went to the Unity for Human Rights Party of Vangjel Dule, the party of Albania's Greek minority.

The "Socialist Alliance" coalition obtained 4 seats, all of them going to the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI), a splinter group of the Socialist Party headed by former Prime Minister Ilir Meta (1999-2002).

An up-to-date list of all political groups represented in the National Assembly is available here.

The tight election results plunged the country into a deep political crisis. The Socialist Party and many civic groups accused Berisha of major fraud. However, a new "government of European Integration" was formed on 2 September 2009 by the coalitions led by Sali Berisha and Ilir Meta. The opposition parties decided to boycott parliament, culminating in a hunger strike by opposition representatives in May 2010. Tensions flared up again in January 2011 when four demonstrators were shot dead and over a hundred injured during a series of protests. Berisha's government, accusing the opposition of trying to stage a coup d'état, has refused to step-down.

 

August 2010

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