This European perspective is necessary, "for the sound and successful development of the entire region, and for Albania," said Angela Merkel after the meeting with Edi Rama at the Federal Chancellery.
The Albanian Prime Minister had informed the Chancellor about the reform process in his country, she reported. She pointed to the fight against crime and corruption and the establishment of a legal system and an independent judiciary.
In June, the next progress report of the European Commission on Albania will be presented, said Angela Merkel. This will be followed closely in Germany. "We see progress," she praised Albania.
Moving closer to the EU
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement signed with the EU in 2006 offers Albania reliable prospects of moving closer to Europe, with the support of the EU. Within this framework, the EU is helping foster political stability in Albania, assisting the country to make as swift a transition as possible to an operational market economy, and encouraging regional cooperation.
In the progress report dated October 2013, the European Commission recommended according Albania candidate status. In this context, the Commission also called for further action to stamp out corruption and organised crime.
Positive developments in the region
The two leaders had also discussed the situation in the region as a whole, Angela Merkel continued. Prime Minister Edi Rama had made it clear that much has been done over the last few years and that there have been many positive developments.
Finally, Angela Merkel pointed out that 2014 commemorates the outbreak of the First World War. One hundred years later, she said, we have learned from history: we must talk to one another and move closer to one another.
Albania’s foreign trade is focused on the EU, which accounts for 63.3 per cent of the country’s imports and 76.6 per cent of exports. In 2013 Germany was the sixth most important destination for Albanian exports, which were worth 67.43 million euros, while Albania imported German goods worth 214.75 million euros, putting it in fifth place. Germany is also the sixth largest investor in Albania.
Annual direct investments are worth a double-digit million sum. German investments can be found in the credit sector, in transport and logistics, the retail trade, mobile telephones, textiles, the automobile trade and maintenance sector, and in the production and sale of chemical and pharmaceutical products. The largest German direct investment since 2004 is Tirana Airport.