Prospects

Little enthusiasm for Greater Albania

The concept of Greater Albania -- uniting ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania in one state -- has not featured largely in domestic politics, other than strong support for Kosovo’s Albanians. It appears that there is little enthusiasm for ethnic union among Albania's younger elites.

Euro-Atlantic Integration

Albania is eager to join Western Institutions like the EU and NATO.

Albania signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in 2006, and a Visa Facilitation Agreement in 2008. The European Commission informed Albania, however, that it needed to implement further reforms before it would be ready for EU candidate status. In 2009 the European Commission submitted the Questionnaire on accession preparation to the Albanian government. Albania submitted its answers to the EU in 2010, but was not accepted due to the slow implementation of reforms by squabbling political parties. In 2012, the European Commission determined that Albania still needed to comply with 8 of 12 key priorities before it would be able to receive candidate status and start accession negotiations.

Albania was invited to join NATO in March 2008. The country became a full member in 2009.

Impact of the global economic crisis

The United Nations Development Program has estimated that forty percent of Albania’s work force is working outside the country. Sixty percent of migrant workers are between the ages of 18 and 29 when they move away. Remittances, once estimated to be $1.5 billion a year or 15% of Albania's GDP, have steadily declined due to the ongoing global economic crisis and are now a little over $1 billion. The amount of money migrant workers remit, which has dropped drastically, is in turn affecting domestic consumption.

Albania is also directly affected by Greek and Italian economic problems, due to the fact that these two countries are Albania’s main trading partners. Despite these negative trends, it is expected that GDP growth in Albania will help the country weather the current economic crisis.