Both sides underlined the intention to further strengthen bilateral relations, which have continually deepened in recent years. Among the other subjects discussed was Switzerland’s ongoing commitment to Albania.
Switzerland’s aim is to support Albania – a priority country for Swiss development cooperation – in reform projects on the road to European integration. As far as Albania is concerned, Switzerland is currently one of the most important bilateral donor countries. At the meeting on Friday, two agreements were signed covering projects in the fields of vocational education and decentralisation totalling CHF 10 million.
Other subjects covered during the discussions included judicial reform, which should also improve the conditions for investment in Albania, cooperation on migration issues, police cooperation and the situation in the Western Balkans. The Swiss delegation expressed its concern at the rising tensions and crises in the region. In this context, Ms Leuthard acknowledged the constructive role played by Albania and stressed the importance, from Switzerland’s perspective, of Tirana continuing to act as a bridge builder.
Positive trend in economic relations
Diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Albania were established in 1970. Twenty-five years ago, in 1992, Switzerland opened an embassy in Tirana. Despite excellent political relations and the positive trend in economic relations, exchanges between Switzerland and Albania remain relatively modest. There are now some 30 Swiss companies present in Albania. An international consortium based in Switzerland is also involved in the construction of the Trans Adria Pipeline (TAP) for natural gas.
Given that there are around 250,000 people in Switzerland, including many Swiss nationals, with ties to the Albanian language area, the potential for closer relations with the Republic of Albania is substantial, also in economic terms.
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