Albania’s top election body decides local vote will go ahead

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 24, 2019

Electoral College weighs in on constitutional crisis after Albania's President Ilir Meta cancelled the local election, while Prime Minister Edi Rama insists it will go ahead.

BALKAN BLOG: Accession delays put EU’s credibility in the Western Balkans on the line

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow June 19, 2019

A failure by the EU to reward reforms in Albania and North Macedonia risks undermining the bloc’s ability to influence policy in the Western Balkans.

European Council delays decision on EU accession talks with Albania, North Macedonia until October

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 18, 2019

Council praised North Macedonia for its historic Prespa Agreement that resolved the long-standing name issue with Greece, but mentioned nothing about Albania.

EU enlargement debate: Waiting for a differentiated “North Macedonia breakthrough”

Gunter Deuber of Raiffeisen Research in Vienna June 18, 2019

A move away from the “package solution” of a simultaneous start to accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia is needed. North Macedonia is the less politically controversial candidate and is in a better position economically.

Albanian prosecutors file criminal charges against opposition leader Basha

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 16, 2019

Opposition says case concerning $675,000 of funding for the Democratic Party ahead of the 2017 general election is intended to distract from the political crisis in Albania.

Western Balkans buck downward global trend in FDI

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow June 12, 2019

EU accession candidates Serbia and North Macedonia see largest increase in FDI inflows in Western Balkans — but investments in the region are vulnerable to political instability, says new report from wiiw.

Albania, North Macedonia see hoped for EU accession talks slipping away

bne IntelliNews June 12, 2019

The prime ministers of Albania and North Macedonia are engaged in last ditch attempts to secure the go ahead for the start of accession negotiations at the European Council meeting later this month.

Albania’s ruling Socialists to start proceedings to dismiss president

bne IntelliNews June 10, 2019

President Ilir Meta announced he is cancelling June 30 local elections, triggering a constitutional crisis.

Albania’s PPI down 0.2% y/y in 1Q19

bne IntelliNews June 9, 2019

The PPI in the key manufacturing sector was down by 0.7% y/y during the quarter, with the steepest drops in prices for manufacture of food products, manufacture of non-metallic mineral products (0.5%) and metallurgy.

Albanian president cancels local elections as protests rage in Tirana

bne IntelliNews June 9, 2019

After months of increasingly violent protests, Ilir Meta warns of “unpredictable escalation of conflict” and says conditions don’t exist for “true, democratic, representative” elections — but Prime Minister Edi Rama says the vote will go ahead.

Deadly air pollution cuts life expectancy in Western Balkans

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow June 5, 2019

Average citizen loses 1.3 years as a result of air pollution, finds UN Environment study, but governments are still pressing ahead with plans to build new coal-fired power stations.

Netherlands asks EU to suspend visa free travel for Albanian citizens over organised crime concerns

bne IntelliNews June 1, 2019

Albanian citizens have been able to travel free to EU countries since December 2010, but Dutch MPs voted to suspend this citing the growing number of crimes committed by the Albanian mafia.

Southeast Europe’s banking sector gets new investor geography

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow May 30, 2019

Hungary’s OTP in, Greek banks out, and a new crop of privatisations coming up in Serbia and Slovenia.

EC recommends unconditional launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje May 29, 2019

European Commission says the two Western Balkan countries have delivered on reforms and urges EU governments to allow talks to begin.

Albania hikes electricity imports as hydropower production plunges

bne IntelliNews May 27, 2019

Albania relies mostly on hydropower production and favourable weather conditions are essential. When electricity imports outweigh exports, this has serious negative consequences for the economy as a whole.

Shell expects substantial oil reserves at Shpiragu-4 well in Albania

bne IntelliNews May 26, 2019

Potential flow of several thousand barrels of oil per day, says Shell Upstream Albania, after carrying out drilling tests near Berat.