Mediterranean coast, wild mountains: Lonely Planet placed Albania at number one in its list of top ten countries to visit in 2011, declaring that ‘Albania won’t be off the beaten track for much longer.’ The potential of a country that was hidden from the world for decades is beginning to be unlocked.
Even by Cold War standards, Albania was notoriously isolated from Western influences under its authoritarian leader Enver Hoxha, and it took a long time for it to connect with the international community.
The transition to democracy in the early 90s saw the end of Communist rule, but has not yet ushered in a new dawn of political stability or economic prosperity, with election results being disputed and poverty still prevalent. The average Albanian has only about a quarter of the wealth of the average EU citizen.
The European Commission has made Albania’s EU membership a priority since it officially applied to join in 2009. The quid pro quo will be greater efforts at reform, including tackling organised crime and protecting minority rights.
Albania has a relatively youthful population – the average age of its 3 million citizens is under 30. Like its population, a young country is making its way in the world.
Journalists from the Balkans did not have many opportunities to travel abroad or to participate in appropriate training. Hence, they [...]more
Have you ever wondered how individuals and organisations from the Western Balkan countries can get closer to the European Union? [...]more
Do you think that education contributes to the process of European integration? Would you like to participate in shaping the [...]more