Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Albania are good and varied. Albania is a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. A shared interest of both countries lies in the development and stabilisation of the Western Balkans region.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Diplomatic relations focus on development cooperation, the strengthening of economic cooperation, and collaboration on migration and consular issues.
Since April 2011, the regional consular centre in Pristina, Kosovo, has been providing consular services for Swiss nationals living in Albania.
Trade is modest in volume. It has, however, steadily increased over the last two decades. Some large Swiss companies are present in Albania, and an increasing number of SMEs are discovering the Albanian market. Currently approximately 30 Swiss companies are active in Albania.
The Swiss-based company TAP is constructing the “Trans Adriatic Pipeline” through Albania to bring natural gas from Azerbaijan to the southern gas corridor that passes through Greece, Albania and Italy.
The Swiss embassy organises regular exchanges with the Swiss business community in Albania.
Cooperation in education and research
Researchers, scholars and artists can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship. In addition, research cooperation programmes funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) support scientific research and research cooperation activities within the Western Balkans region.
Swiss development cooperation activities are guided by the development priorities of the Albanian government and aim to support Albania in its reform agenda and its path towards European integration. Switzerland has supported Albania’s democratic transition since 1992 with over CHF 260 million. The Swiss Cooperation strategy for Albania 2014–2017, which is funded by the (SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), foresees an annual budget of approximately CHF 22 million.
The current Swiss cooperation strategy focuses on four areas:
- democratisation, decentralisation and local governance
- economic development
- urban infrastructure and energy
Switzerland fosters cultural exchanges and the creation of links between artists and other cultural actors in both countries. The Swiss embassy regularly supports cultural events in music, theatre, literature and film. Several Swiss musicians have performed in concerts around Albania.
Swiss nationals in Albania
At the end of 2015, 81 Swiss nationalswere living in Albania.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland and Albania established diplomatic relations in 1970. Switzerland opened an embassy in Tirana in 1992. Since then relations and exchanges have steadily increased.