Friday, July 24, 2009

Albania Freezes Investment Due to Crise

Sali Berisha
Sali Berisha

Albania's Council of Ministers decided on Wednesday to freeze all investments, from August 3, due to weakening revenue streams and higher expenditures in the run-up to the recent national elections. With the June 28 parliamentary polls behind them, experts say Albania’s politicians must initiate a candid debate on the local impact of the global downturn.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Sali Berisha, denied that government investment was frozen due to budget shortfalls, saying that this was caused by his refusal to wait until September, when investment plans are redrawn, to form a new government.

"We cannot play the imaginary patient when we speak of the Albanian economy," said Berisha, who went on to project high economic growth in the second financial quarter.

However, according to Albania’s Central Bank, economic growth this year is expected to be minimal, owing to the effects of the global economic recession.

Central Bank governor Ardian Fullani has repeatedly called on the government to exercise better oversight of public spending in order to boost investors’ confidence in the economy.

Until recently, economic problems had been overshadowed by the general election campaign.

Two weeks ago Berisha urged ministers to “save money in a time of global crisis”. This was the first implicit acknowledgement that the country is facing trouble, which economists have been warning about for months.

At the end of May, the government reported lower revenues from VAT, which is considered an important indicator of the level of domestic demand, and also from taxes on business profits.

Exports fell by 25 per cent during the same period while the foreign trade and overall budget deficits have widened.

The banking system has seen an explosion of bad loans and is facing financial losses for the first time since 1999.

While the government continues to base its spending on projections of 4.5 per cent GDP growth in 2009, international organisations, such as the IMF, predict that GDP growth will be a mere 0.4 per cent

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

EU ambassadors urge Albania to complete election process

Photo: John Withers, US Ambassador in Tirana

TIRANA, Albania.

US and EU ambassadors to Tirana called on the country's Election Council to complete the election process, media reported on Tuesday (July 21st).

Since the June 28th vote, the process has been dogged by claims of irregularities and issues with vote counting. The election is considered key to Albania's EU integration process.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Italian Eurofighter Typhoons and Greek aircraft F-16 to Protect Albanian Air Space

As the Eurofighter press office blog reports, the Eurofighter Typhoon is yet again proving its worth in action as the aircraft has recently been chosen by NATO to protect an area of international air space. In a recent news story it has been announced that the Italian Air Force has been assigned to protect the air space of Albania, the Atlantic Alliance's newest member.

The 'air policing' mission which begins on Friday will also see support coordination from Greece's air force F-16 of air military base of Larissa. A statement from the Italian air force explained that "air policing consists of employing interceptor jets, in peace time, to patrol and protect the integrity of a specific air space".
Italy has been engaged in air policing Slovenia's air space for NATO since 2007.The mission over Albania will see Italy employ its Eurofighter Typhoon jets from the 36th Wing operating from the Gioia del Colle air base. While from Greek air base of Larissa F-16 will cooperate over Albanian air space under NATO command.

Last month Tirana had authorized Turkey air forces to control Albanian Air space, with out NATO comande autorisation. According to the Albanian newspaper "Gazeta Shqiptare" this is the first incident between Tirana and NATO after Albania joint to NATO alliance in April, 2009.

Anyway according to military information from NATO quarter, Italy and Greece will be authorized also from NATO to control the Albanian national waters in total 300 miles coast. A possible raising of clandestine imigration from Albanian coast borders, is previsted to confront new NATO operations including Greek and Italian frigates and other naval cooperation inside Albanian waters.