Mountain landscape near Valbona, Northern Albania

Albania Moving closer to European Union membership

In 1988, Albania became the first cooperation partner for Germany’s bilateral development cooperation in South-Eastern Europe. Since 1990, Albania has made a transition from a Stalinist dictatorship to a parliamentary democracy.

Straight to
The Skanderbegplatz with a sculpture of the national hero Skanderbeg and the Palace of Culture in the Albanian capital Tirana

Among policymakers and within society in Albania, there is a basic consensus in support of democracy and the rule of law, a market-based economy, NATO membership (since 2009) and a regional policy that is geared towards mutual understanding. Albania’s most important foreign policy goal is to become a member of the European Union. In 2014, the country was awarded candidate status by the EU; in 2020, the European Council recommended that accession negotiations be started. However, the EU has not taken any further steps since then.

The most urgent tasks in terms of domestic policy are the improvement of people’s living conditions and the creation of jobs, especially in rural regions. Poor infrastructure, inadequate public services and a lack of economic opportunities are causing people, especially young people from rural areas, to leave for the cities or for other countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit Albania’s economy hard. Germany has been supporting the country under its Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme since June 2020, including by topping up Albania’s credit guarantee fund in order to enhance the liquidity of small companies. In addition, a cash-for-work initiative was launched which guarantees several hundred people an income for an interim period.

German development cooperation with Albania

The key principle of German-Albanian cooperation is support for the EU accession process and for the implementation of a social and ecological transformation of the country in line with the Green Deal which envisages a climate neutral European Union by 2050.

For Albanian-German development cooperation in 2020 and 2021, the German government provided Financial Cooperation totalling 53 million euros and Technical Cooperation resources totalling 5.2 million euros. An additional 36.6 million euros were committed for 2020 and 2021 to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and for the Returning to New Opportunities programme.

Albanian-German development cooperation focuses on the following core areas:

  • Training and sustainable growth for decent jobs
  • Climate and energy, just transition

The next government negotiations are scheduled to take place in autumn 2022.

Albania also benefits from numerous multi-country regional projects run by the BMZ. Examples include the Open Regional Funds for foreign trade, energy efficiency, municipal services, EU integration and biodiversity.

Training of chefs in a vocational school in Kamza, Albania

Core area “Training and sustainable growth for decent jobs” Creating opportunities for young people Internal link

The purpose of German development cooperation activities with Albania is to help create more jobs, with a focus on the long-term viability of the jobs, and ensure people earn higher incomes. Together with the Albanian government, Germany has drafted an employment promotion strategy that is now being implemented.

Construction of high-voltage transmission line near Shkoder, Albania

Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Ensuring an environmentally friendly supply of power Internal link

Germany’s activities in Albania are intended to help ensure that the country, and the entire region of South-Eastern Europe, has a power supply that is stable, sustainable and secure, and covers its costs. They also aim to make a contribution to global climate protection. In addition, Germany is also involved in sustainable urban development and in efforts to improve water supply and waste and wastewater disposal in Albania.

Current situation

The Skanderbegplatz with a sculpture of the national hero Skanderbeg and the Palace of Culture in the Albanian capital Tirana
Street traders in Tirana, Albania
Architecture in Tirana

As at: 22/06/2022