Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 13
3 April 2000

Albanian news C E N T R A L   E U R O P E A N   N E W S:
News Review for Albania
All the important news from Albania
since 27 March 2000

Artur Nura

Parliament celebrated its 80th anniversary in a symbolic parliamentary session held by students. Over 100 university students from different faculties discussed problems affecting them for two hours. The students praised the results obtained in the last ten years but also demanded that more be done to help their diplomas be recognised and accepted throughout Europe. Various Albanian and foreign diplomatic personalities were present at the debate as observers.

On 26 March, a delegation of Albanian politicians from Montenegro went on an official visit to Tirana. Fuat Ninani, President of the Democratic Union and Montenegrin Prime Minister Ferhat Dimosha headed the group. The delegation was met by the President Nexhep Mejdani, Prime Minister Ilir Meta and also various leaders of the political parties. Mejdani and Meta requested that the Albanian Montenegrin delegation play an active role, as Albanians, in the resolution of political differences and in contributing to the democratic process and the stability of Montenegro and the entire region. The Socialist Party leader, Fatos Nano, used the visit to call for the founding of a pan-Albanian political forum in the Balkans. All meetings which took place underlined the necessity of more economic and cultural exchanges between Albania and Albanians in Montenegro.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, was in Tirana on 29 March for an official visit. The UN Commissioner met President Mejdani and Prime Minister Meta and raised the issue of the 2000 Kosovar refugees who still remain in Albania. In a press conference afterwards, Ogata acknowledged the rising tensions within Montenegro, but said there was little chance of a refugee crisis on the scale of that of last year with displaced Kosovars. Concluding, the UN Commissioner added, "we are already well prepared if such a thing happens."

Albania has profited by euro 112 million from projects put forward at the Brussels conference of the Southeast European Stability Pact, held on 29 and 30 March. The Foreign Minister, Paskal Milo, in a telephone interview from Brussels later published by all the newspapers, declared that seven of the proposed projects have been accepted and their execution would lead to rapid investment in Albania and should be concluded within 12 months.

The Ministry of Public Economy and the National Energy Agency in Tirana have presented the national energy strategy in a two-day international conference. The strategy underlines the necessity for more effective cooperation between Albania and other Balkan countries and also for the integration of these energy networks with European ones generally. Also on the conference agenda was some discussion of reducing adverse effects on the environment.

The World Bank's Executive Board of Directors has approved a strategy for Albania. This new strategy details financial relations between the Bank and Albania, and the most important points concern public administration, building democratic institutions, instigating and developing the private sector and support for social issues, such as health, education and social security.

In a Council of Europe scheme, the city of Berat has been chosen to be represented in a CD-ROM showing 2400 years of history and tradition. This project is a joint initiative between Athens University and the Albanian Institute of Monuments (AIM). Gjerak Karaikaskai, one of the specialists from AIM, said to the daily Shekulli (Century) "with the representation of Berati's cathedrals, castles, bridges and its characteristic... quarters there will be a chance to raise awareness amongst parties interested in investing in tourism and culture in future."

The editors of two Albanian publishing houses, Toena and Onufri, participated in the International Book Show (Salon du Livre) in Paris. The Albanian books, shown at stand B119, attracted a great deal of interest from visitors. Also participating in the show were two well known Albanian writers Ismail Kadare, whose works are published by the French publishing house Fayard, and Mehmet Myftiu, published by Noir sur Blanche.

The Adriano Celentano Association held a concert of Celentano's songs in the Congress Palace this week. The famous songs of the well known Italian singer were for a long time banned by the Communists, and Albanians who wished to enjoy these songs had to sing them illegally. Twelve Celentano songs were interpreted by different well-known Albanian singers and Luan Zhegu a locally famous singer-songwriter performed a song written in honour of Celentano.

Artur Nura, 31 March 2000

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