November 28th 2011, marks the 99th anniversary of the proclamation of the independence of Albania. It is the important moment to put into balance and to conclude that the 2011 was a successful year. Albania is today a modern European country with democratic institutions and rule of law, a land of free speech, free elections, full respect of minority rights and excellent religious tolerance.
Today, Albania is a member of NATO and a contributor to peace and stability in the region and beyond, while working with determination towards European integration. Albanians enjoy free movement throughout Europe without visas, while fully respecting procedures leading to current positive reports.
Albania has demonstrated a macro-economic stability and a continued positive economic growth, despite the financial crisis. Foreign direct investment increased by 316 per cent, from 2006 to 2010, while Albanian exports increased by 300 per cent. Inflation this year remained at 3%.
Albania is the country with the smallest public sector and with the lowest fiscal burden in Europe, with the application of a flat tax at 10 percent, as well as “One Stop Shop” for business registration, permits and licenses. The tourism potential is exceptional. Public procurements are performed 100 per cent electronically.
For the year 2012, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Independence of Albania, the important goals are: integration in the European Union; turning the dream of the Albanian people, “Albania, developed country”, into a reality; Albania to become 100 per cent producer of renewable energy; the furthering of knowledge and continuing health care for citizens. Albania in the digital age is another major objective and the most ambitious of the Albanian Government.
The tourism potential of coastal and mountainous areas is exceptional. Albania, in addition to its geographical position, climate and natural beauties, is also distinguished for its rich cultural and historical heritage. Albania offers a friendly and attractive environment for businesses, investors as well as tourists. I take this opportunity to invite foreign investors to consider investing in Albania.
Albania has excellent relations with its immediate neighbours and the whole region. Albania currently occupies an important position for security, peace and prosperity of the Balkans, the Mediterranean and Europe, and is determined to increase its role and contribution to ensure regional economic and political stability. Albania not only has abolished visas to all countries of the region, but with part of them movement of citizens is possible with just ID cards, and is working to implement this procedure with all countries.
We note that Kosovo’s independence has contributed to the strengthening of security and stability in the region. Today, Kosovo is gaining its rightful place in the community of free nations. Kosovo’s independence is recognized by 85 countries and others are expected to recognize soon. Albania supports its further recognition due to the conviction that new recognitions are a valuable contribution to our region. Albania supports the Euro-Atlantic integration of Kosovo, as well as is also committed and will make every effort to support Kosovo’s inclusion in all initiatives, regional and beyond.
Relations between Albania and Romania are very good, with historical links of friendship between our two peoples and current cooperation that extends in all fields. Romania is an ally of Albania in the framework of NATO and an important partner in its path towards European Union integration. The brotherly relations begin in late 19th century, when Romania became the home of prominent figures of our Renaissance, giving an important contribution to the preparation and declaration of independence. These relations continued their tradition and path of consolidation, reaching its peak with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between our two countries in 1994.
We wish to to thank and to express our special gratitude for Romania’s support for Albania’s NATO membership and the visa liberalization process for Albanians in the Schengen area, as well as during the EU integration process of Albania.
All the documents governing bilateral cooperation have been signed between our two countries. Albania is committed to expanding these relations, especially in the economic realm, as well as keeping open a political dialogue that is already very good. In this regard, the Albanian community in Romania plays an important role, which has surely made them a bridge between our two countries.