The Albanian health system, the impossible survival

By Professor MENTOR PETRELA Albania spends 70 Euro per capita on health With a mere 3 per cent of the GDP it is nigh on impossible for the health system to survive. In other words to enjoy sound health there

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EU Divided as Russia Rises

By Janusz Bugajski Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado has contrasted EU disunity on the question of Kosova with the stance of the U.S. and Russia. While Washington and Moscow have clear positions “an EU position simply does not exist” thus

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Eliminate cash, not transparency

By Blerta Hoxha Two years ago, the government decided to introduce a new and apparently emancipating practice regarding the relation between state institutions and employees of the public administration. A decision taken by the administration stated that from now onwards

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Kosova Albanians have decided to join Brussels, not Tirana, says Berisha

NEW YORK, Oct. 4 – Following is the speech of the Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha held at the United Nations’ General Assembly 62nd session Sep. 28. As a representative of a country that suffered one of the most totalitarian

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Power Struggle Keeps Albanian Socialists Divided

By Urim Bajrami After a hot summer, during which the Socialist leader, Edi Rama, refused to back his predecessor, Fatos Nano, in his failed bid for Albania’s presidency, the country’s main opposition party now appears to be heading for an

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Albania and BSEC

By Agim Pasholli Soon after the fall of the Berlin wall, Europe was facing a delicate situation, with drastic geopolitical changes, occurred mainly due to the collapse of the Soviet block and of the communism (in general) as a political

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History! History for all!

By Maklen Misha* It is often said that history is written by the victors, but what happens when there is no winner? This is the question Albania has been grappling with since the end of the Communist regime. It would

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European integration and journalism, the Spanish experience

By Alba ȥla Speaking to a group of Albanian journalists gathered at a training hall of the Albanian Media Institute, Xavier Vidal-Folch, Deputy Editor in Chief of “El Pais”, the leading daily in Spain was at ease. His knowledge and

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Invest in Albania 2007: opportunity or paradox?

By Alba ȥla The 2nd Albania Business and Investment Summit kicked off today at the luxurious ambiances of Hotel Sheraton in Tirana. Serious companies with representatives in smart suits and black suitcases filled air-conditioned halls where video projected presentations gave

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Moscow’s Anti-Western Offensive

By Janusz Bugajski In its determination to re-establish Russia’s great power status, the Kremlin oligarchy has launched a series of policy thrusts against Western interests. According to state propaganda, the West is intent on weakening Russia and capturing its neighbors

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                    [post_content] => By Professor MENTOR PETRELA

Albania spends 70 Euro per capita on health
With a mere 3 per cent of the GDP it is nigh on impossible for the health system to survive. In other words to enjoy sound health there is no price, but there is a cost. In the member countries of the OECD, the average cost of health is at 8.9 per cent, and differs in Germany, in France 11 per cent, in the UK and Spain 7.7 per cent. Albania spends 70 Euro per capita on health. The above countries spend more than 3,000 Euro  per capita on health, and they do permit themselves, occasionally, the luxury of appointing a Minister of Health who is not a Doctor, for the sake of a compromise, or when they don't have anyone who fits the bill with a political commitment.
This is the reason why, the parodies in the media based on this argument, to me have never seemed reasonable. Take the two neighbouring countries that I know well, Italy and France. In Italy, there is the experience with the Prodi Government, a Minister of Health, distinguished Professor of Oncology from Verona, who in the Prodi-2 Government prolonged the representation of his group in this post due to the fact that he had exceeded 10 years of age. In the Berlusconi Governments, 1 and 2, the health ministers were Doctors of repute, Professor Sirchia, hematologist. In France, in the Rafarin Government, the Minister of Health Professor Mattei, a leading expert in genetics, was replaced by Douste Blazy, a cardiologist, who in the Villepin Cabinet switched functions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Medicine need the transfer of technologies
The University hospitals, where top level technologies are used today, one fifth of the expenses of the Albanians today, a total of 570 million Euro (data of the Bank of Albania) go on medical treatment. Albanian medicine has always needed, what is known as, the transfer of technologies and competences. King Zog realized this historically by sending many persons abroad for long term specialization and by bringing Jewish Professors to Albania between1933-39; in a later period from 1965-1975, Soviet and Chinese assistance yielded its fruits. But then autarchy blacked out the country, with the consequences we are aware of. Here, politicians fail to grasp the fact that education is the essence of the principle of a society with a European and not communal orientation. Their contribution, in the opposite sense, is often witnessed, beginning with the monies they take from their compatriots as "a second hand people." In other words, they have distinguished themselves in the deepening of the exodus from the country. The heteroclite situation, which is illusive for the above mentioned reasons in terms of turning a politician, but which could be used with demagogy, for personal gain.

International assistance in a monitoring sense
The evolution of Albanian Medicine following the Nineties' has enjoyed international assistance, in a monitoring sense, which has brought in to the country prepared documents and strategies for reforms, which have progressed in fits and starts, because some Albanian partner would be picked up along the way who didn't know foreign languages adequately. This strikes the eye especially in the case of the politicians. Internationals, who have known their Leviticus predecessors in Health, are most sensitive, especially in direct contacts. To sum up, there will be fewer projects, less funds for health.

The kleptomaniac proselytism has not managed to entrench itself
Albania has a society which resembles the developments in the countries of the East, chiefly Russia, more than anything else. The frenzy to become rich, the absence of social cohesion, the conflict of interests, the lobbying, oligarchy, and plutocracy, all of the above erode democracy. The politicians are more likely to support or to become oligarchic Ayatollah, quenching their thirst for power with figures, and obviously receiving the Communion wafer as an Act in the Show. So far at least, this kind of oligarchy is not known amongst professional persons of Medicine and kleptomaniac proselytism has not managed to entrench itself.

The medical clasas has inspired the society
Fukuyama says that politicians will continue to be needed in advanced Western societies for as long as the professionals listen to them. Heidegger says the opposite, because he foresaw the collapse of totalitarianism, supported the development of society and the professionals. The medical class, with its roots sunk deep in humanism, has inspired society; it has the sense of rendering service; it is an eternal spring.

The author is Professor of the University and Hospitals Paris.
                    [post_title] =>  The Albanian health system, the impossible survival 
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                    [post_content] => By Janusz Bugajski
Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado has contrasted EU disunity on the question of Kosova with the stance of the U.S. and Russia. While Washington and Moscow have clear positions "an EU position simply does not exist" thus undermining "any credibility in our foreign policy."
Two sets of principles can be examined to understand the EU's inconsistent foreign policy and its weak stance toward Russia over Kosova, a problem of direct concern to European stability: "enduring values" and "instrumental priorities." 
Membership in the EU is based on certain core principles or enduring values, including a competitive democracy, rule of law, free markets, human rights, and minority protection. Each country may differ in its interpretation but the Union operates within certain parameters and any government is liable to sanction if it breaches accepted norms. 
However, in its foreign policy the EU operates more loosely and some values may be disregarded in order to pursue "common interests." Although the EU seeks to promote its enduring values it will not necessarily downgrade relations with governments that do not share them. Hence, in relation to Russia, the EU acts instrumentally by ignoring core values, such as democracy, in pursuit of instrumental priorities such as trade, investment, and securing energy supplies.
The Russian elite also has enduring values, which it does not share with the EU, such as centralism and great power status. Putin's success stems from his assertion that his predecessor Yeltsin disregarded core Russian values by adopting Western imports such as liberalism, political pluralism, and capitalist chaos. Hence, according to the Kremlin, the adoption of Western values weakened Russia.
For Moscow, instrumental principles are not ones that are simply pursued to achieve specific goals but are espoused to disguise Moscow's enduring values. Hence, Moscow instrumentalizes many of the EU's enduring values by claiming that Russia is not restoring an authoritarian system but adopting a "managed democracy." Similarly, Russia is not rebuilding dominance in its former empire but is protecting its "national interests."
There is no single or effective EU policy toward Russia even though formal mechanisms exist to regulate relations. Wide divergences in policy are evident within the EU and positions often shift with changes in government. For example, the new French President and the new German Chancellor have been more critical than their predecessors over a range of Russian misbehavior, from human rights and democracy to Chechnya and Georgia. 
However, statements from individual capitals do not make common policy. Several new members, especially Poland and the Baltic states, complain that Germany, France, and Italy remain susceptible to Russian inroads through energy contracts and lucrative business deals, and  they negotiate with the Kremlin without any input from smaller EU neighbors who directly face Russia's reimperialization. 
Instrumental priorities prevail over enduring values and thereby undermine them. Indeed, some EU officials believe that strong central control even at the cost of democracy and human rights solidifies Russia's political stability. They are more concerned with ensuring short-term stability rather than long-term security. 
The pursuit of allegedly shared interests with Russia can undermine the EU's enduring values, especially if those interests are not shared by all EU states and where Russia's interests corrupt the principles of democracy in neighboring European states. In the case of Kosova, Moscow would prefer to have a "frozen conflict" inside Europe that will prevent the incorporation of the entire Balkan peninsula within NATO and the EU.
Russia's enduring values are now more boldly asserted and aggressively pursued, as there is little concern about negative EU reactions. The open question is whether the EU's enduring values will also be more vigorously pursued in relation to Russia. Decisions on Kosova's final status will not only indicate whether the EU has a common foreign and security policy, they will also demonstrate whether the democratic Union is willing to assert its core values when faced with an autocratic Russia.
                    [post_title] =>  EU Divided as Russia Rises 
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                    [post_content] => By Blerta Hoxha
Two years ago, the government decided to introduce a new and apparently emancipating practice regarding the relation between state institutions and employees of the public administration. A decision taken by the administration stated that from now onwards state institutions would pay salaries to their dependents only via the banking sector, thus distributing the wages to their bank accounts. No more cash! In order to apply this rule, each institution chose a bank and reached agreements freely. Hence, institutions indicated to the employees in which bank their personal account (and their monthly salary too) was.  
Certainly, different advantages were introduced by the new procedure. Channelling a significant amount of cash to banking sector testifies for increasing credibility of the latter. Considering what the trauma of the '97 crisis had done to the reputation of any credit institution, the challenge was obvious. Bringing salaries to banks meant bringing people to them as well. The trust-inspiring move of the administration helped to increase the number of loans, doubling the profits for the banking sector which soon bloomed. 
Going back one step though, one wonder at how was this move accomplished and what were the procedures involved in choosing the most appropriate banks for the civil servants. After all, banks representatives admit that the services they offer are quite similar. If they all offer the same services, why not distributing each an equal number of clients (employees of the public administration) in order to respect the market's balance? Why not paying civil servants by a state institution which can work as a bank (e.g. Albanian Post)? 
The official reply to any curiosity on the way certain banks were selected is by organizing honest and transparent tenders.  Truth is, we know very little about any tenders organized. No information was released as to the timing of these procedures, the participating bids in the process and the evaluating committees that took the final decisions. Some claims can be made that serious banks with capacities to handle the process were preferred and the allegation can be quite true. In the case of Raiffesien Bank the matter was easy. The branch distribution that the bank took over when it privatized the Savings Bank, gave it a competitive advantage as far as territorial presence was concerned. Later on, this particular bank created a customer-friendly relationship with civil servants offering them options such as overdrafts and facilitated loans. Given the hardships Albanian civil servants and all those on budgetary payrolls face, with their minimal financial rewards, all these should be applauded. This factor though does not guarantee that initially the bank offered the most profitable commissions. 
But even in the case of a complete transparent procedure, a philosophical question pertains to a free market economy: May the state, in a free market system, decide the bank which citizens should become clients of?
The lives of thousands employees of central and local administration, education and health sector and others were tied to banks in a resolute way. Once employees of public administration find themselves with an account on which the state pays them their salary, it is unlikely for them to seek another bank in the market for other operations. The move hurts competitively and intrudes upon fair competition rules. 
In every western democratic country, employees of the public administration can freely choose in which bank they wish to have an account and indicate it to the institution they work for in order for their salary to be transferred each month. 
May this democratising procedure be based on the principle "One step forwards, Two steps backwards"? 
                    [post_title] =>  Eliminate cash, not transparency 
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                    [post_content] => NEW YORK, Oct. 4 - Following is the speech of the Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha held at the United Nations' General Assembly 62nd session Sep. 28.

As a representative of a country that suffered one of the most totalitarian post Second World War dictatorships, it is my deep conviction that freedom and its values, its defense and promotion, and support for oppressed people to free themselves from tyranic regimes that continue to generate human suffering, poverty, violence and terrorism, should be the main priority of this organization.
In this context, I would like to state that Central Asia, Middle East, the Balkans and the entire world are now more free and safer without the likes of Mullah Omar, Sadam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic.
Taking from this opportunity, I would like to greet the message of hope that President George w. Bush sent from this tribune to all the peoples of the world still living under tyranic regimes.
Albania is a small country, but with a clear vocation and determination to strengthen freedom and democracy for its citizens, and deeply committed to give its modest contribution for peace and security in the world.
We have established a close cooperation with friendly countries and international organizations in the fight against terrorism. In this regard, our peacekeeping units have served or are serving in Bosnia, Georgia, Afghanistan and Iraq. I am delighted to inform you that in this spirit my Government has decided to contribute another platoon to the UN peacekeeping operations.
Albania has also been a staunch supporter of the international efforts to limit the proliferation of arms of mass destruction and the unlawful use of small arms and light weapons which pose a serious threat to peace, security and stability. In this context, amongst other measures, we committed to the destruction of our stockpile of chemical weapons and on July 2007 Albania became the first country in the world free of any kind of chemical materials and armaments. I take this opportunity to thank the governments of the USA, Germany, Italy, Greece and Switzerland which provided valuable financial and technical assistance to achieve this important objective.
We are successfully implementing a number of important programs in cooperation with the UNDP, UNICEF and other UN agencies.
Albania has already become part of the enterprise for UN reform, by voluntarily joining the One UN Program, as one of the pilot countries. We are presently working with UN agencies in order to test the One UN concept, and to develop new approaches and ways of partnership in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and environment.
The first results of this project are very encouraging and we are fully committed to make every effort for this initiative to become a success story. 
European integration and NATO membership are two main objectives for Albania. We are committed to undertake any reform and make every step to achieve these goals. A year ago we signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU and are seriously working in every direction to fulfill its standards and obligations.
At the same, we have undertaken thorough reforms of our armed forces, assisted by many of the NATO member countries, alongside our efforts for strengthening the rule of law and democracy in the country. But we are hopeful that by the time of the next NATO Summit in Bucharest we would be ready to deserve the invitation to join the Alliance.
It was not long ago when the Balkans was the stage of human tragedies, brutal wars and ethnic cleansing, based on the concept of the greater country and fueled by the extreme nationalism and racism of a nation, which was absorbed by the idea of its own hegemony over the others. But in a few years, the Balkan countries managed to transit from the age of dictatorships, hatred and conflicts into the age of peace, cooperation, friendship and integration.
I take this opportunity to gratefully thank all the governments and taxpayers of the member countries of NATO, EU and UN, as well as these organizations, whose support and assistance was so important in bringing about this historical change.
However, I do believe that the final solution of the Kosova status in full respect of the expressed will of her citizens for independence, is a fundamental condition for a durable peace and stability, not only in Kosova, but in the entire region as well. Albania fully supports President's Ahtisaari project, and the efforts by Troika for the solution of the final status. 
Due to the lack of realism and the ghost of greater Serbia, Belgrade turned down President's Ahtisaari's project, which sets forth and guarantees the highest European standards for the Serb minorities in Kosova, which in truth are much more advanced than those enjoyed by the Albanians living in South Serbia.
Rejection of the Ahtisaari's package is unhelpful and proves that what matters first for Belgrade is not the freedoms and rights of Serbs in Kosova, but rather the idea of the Greater Serbia. Such a stance by Belgrade has been encouraged by the Russian position in the Security Council towards Ahtisaari's project, a position that, despite of its motivation, does not contribute to the peace and stability of the region.
Claims that Kosova's independence sets an international precedent, or lays conditions for the creation of the Greater Albania, as well as the fear from having two Albanian states, in the Balkans are unfounded. Those who are interested in the truth and reality can easily realize that Kosova is a unique case, both from the historical and current perspective.
For more than five centuries, from the end of 1300s until early 1900s, Kosova was a part of the Ottoman Empire, inhabited in majority by native Albanians with their roots and shelter there. Only at the beginning of the last century, in one of the greatest historic injustices, Kosova was separated from the Albanian territory and given tribute to Serbia, for the sole reason that it was part of an empire that lost the war.
Kosova is also a unique case in her sufferings. During the past century, the implementation of the Cubrilovic doctrine of extreme racism and extermination against Albanians turned Kosova into an arena of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.
It is also a unique case because the last Serbian genocide against Albanians in 19999, which caused thousands of atrocities among innocent population, massive graves and the destruction and burning of more than 130 thousand homes, schools and hospitals, obliged NATO to undertake its greatest offensive to protect human rights and freedom.
Kosova is also a unique case due to the fact that during Josip Broz Tito's regime, it was a constitutional entity of the Yugoslav Federation, enjoying its veto rights in the federal government. During this time Kosova chaired for several terms the Yugoslav Federation, based on the leadership rotation principle within Yugoslavia.
The claim that the independence of Kosova may lead to the creation of Greater Albania cannot be farther from the truth. In reality, Kosova's independence will only end the fluidity of Albanians in the Balkans, along with the idea of the creation of a single Albanian state in the territories where they are a dominant majority. The simple truth is that Kosova Albanians have decided in their project of the future to join Brussels, not Tirana. 
On the other hand, I would like to guarantee that Albania remains determined to fully respect the international borders of its neighbors, including those of Kosova. Albania is closely collaborating and will continue to cooperate bilaterally with all countries in the region, including Serbia, in the process of regional, European and Euro-Atlantic integration. 
I believe that the concern about two independent Albanian states in the Balkans is xenophobic. Two democratic states inhabited in majority by Albanians will be two more friendly countries to their neighbors. 
I would like to urge the political leadership of Kosova to refrain from taking unilateral actions. They should continue, as they have done so far, to cooperate with the Group of Contact and the international community for the solution of the final status of Kosova, in full respect of their will and the dignity they deserve. 
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the political leadership of Kosova for submitting treaty of reconciliation, friendship and cooperation with Serbia - a treaty inspired by the highest European values. I hope and wish that Serbia would take up this important opportunity, because I believe that peace and coexistence between Albanians and Serbs in the Balkans is in the best benefit of our nations and the entire region. 
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                    [post_content] => By Urim Bajrami
After a hot summer, during which the Socialist leader, Edi Rama, refused to back his predecessor, Fatos Nano, in his failed bid for Albania's presidency, the country's main opposition party now appears to be heading for an icy winter.
The chill winds were ushered in by ex-Prime Minister Nano, who announced last week that he was setting up a new Movement for Solidarity with the aim of rebuilding and reforming the Socialist Party, PS. Nano's new organization is widely seen as a platform to help him regain the party chairmanship which he gave up after the Socialists lost the parliamentary elections in July 2005.
The rift between Rama and Nano and the expected struggle for power within the PS pose a threat to the party that is as serious as any since it was formed in 1991 to become the successor to the communist Albanian Workers' Party of the late dictator, Enver Hoxha.
Even the departure of ex-Prime Minister Ilir Meta, one of the party's most active leaders, in order to form the Socialist Movement for Integration in 2004, was not worse in its impact than the current struggle for power within the Socialists' ranks.
If Rama wins the battle to consolidate his control over the PS, he would have to deal with a divided political organization. In the best of scenarios for the party, Nano and his supporters would depart to form a new political organization of their own. In the worst-case scenario, they would remain a strong force inside the party, pushing ahead with the struggle to take over its leadership.
In either case the party would be at loss to provide the kind of strong, well-functioning opposition that Albania so desperately needs. Even worse, it could deteriorate into a political organization whose principal goal would be nothing more than to pass the electoral barrier.
Albania is undergoing a prolonged transitional stage, during which the stabilization and strengthening of its institutions remain a critical requirement to progress toward European integration. 
The rivalry in the PS between Rama and Nano exacerbates a situation of political uncertainty at a time when a series of reforms vital for the country's future require broad cross-party cooperation between government and opposition. 
Though, politically weaker than before, Nano still has a strong base in the party and its leadership, a part of which was promoted through the ranks by his patronage. He managed a come-back against former Prime Minister Meta before, similarly he may be able to upstage Rama also. However, this time round his chances seem slimmer. 
Since he became PS Chairman, Rama has institutionalized his slogan, "A new kind of politics", as the political platform of his party. He has branded Nano, the party's previously long-serving leader, and his supporters as representatives of the "old politics," a sharp contrast that reflects the fact that there is very little chance of reconciliation between them.
For now neither of the rivals is showing signs of being prepared to come out of the trenches of political warfare. While rallying his supporters in Tirana when he set up his new movement last week, Nano, accused Rama of authoritarian traits of leadership and of disregard for party institutions.
The former leader has turned a personal row with his successor into a struggle to remove Rama and his supporters from the party. Although it was Nano who had helped catapult Rama into top jobs, first as minister of culture and then as his candidate for mayor of Tirana, the two politicians have not got on well for years, particularly since Rama became the PS leader. 
A pattern became established in which Nano was trying to make life difficult for his successor, who initially had little support within the party's organization, while Rama was determined to exclude his predecessor from a role in the PS leadership.
Relations between the two have gone from bad to worse this year. Nano met his arch-rival, Prime Minister Sali Berisha of the Democratic Party, PD, in January to secure his path to the presidential palace. Five years earlier a deal between the two - when Nano's Socialists were in government - resulted in the PD being allowed to nominate a candidate, Alfred Moisiu, who was then duly elected president by Albania's parliament.
This time, however, the refusal of Rama to make Nano the official candidate of the opposition, dealt a heavy blow to the presidential aspirations of the former Socialist leader. Rama's strategy was to try to block the election of a president - Berisha's PD-led coalition lacked the required majority in parliament to push through its own candidate - and to precipitate early elections for parliament.
To ensure that Nano's faction among the PS deputies would not join the governing majority in a deal to get the former Socialist leader elected as president, Rama organized an opposition boycott of parliament. In the first round of voting Nano was easily beaten by the coalition government's candidate, Bamir Topi, who, however, failed to get the 60 per cent of votes needed to be elected.
Nano was eventually thrown out of the presidential race after the head of the small Democratic Alliance Party, Neritan Ceka, joined the contest, and pushed the former prime minister into third place.
Disappointed by Rama's lack of support, six of Nano's supporters ignored their party's boycott of parliament and in the third, and final, round voted for Topi, ensuring his election.
Rama accused Nano's allies of a deal with Berisha, thereby disregarding party interests, which for him are also linked to the interests of the country. The six MPs who broke with party discipline were subsequently thrown out of the PS. That started a new phase in the feud between Rama and Nano, who has now responded with the formation of his new movement inside the party.
The fiasco over the presidential race has brought out into the open the rifts within the Socialists. On one side there are the MPs who have lined up behind their former leader, and who know that Rama will never ever back them for another term if they want to stand for parliament again. On the other side there are the PS leaders' supporters who have a clear idea that, given the chance of a return to power within the party, Nano would show no mercy towards them either.
Squeezed between Rama, Nano and their respective blocs, the Socialists risk losing their position as a viable alternative to the current government. That would be to the detriment not only of the PS, but also of Albanian politics which are badly in need of a strong and united opposition.

Urim Bajrami is Deputy Editor in chief of the daily newspaper Shqip. Balkan insight is the online publication of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. 
                    [post_title] =>  Power Struggle Keeps Albanian Socialists Divided 
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                    [post_date] => 2007-10-06 02:00:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2007-10-06 02:00:00
                    [post_content] => By Agim Pasholli
Soon after the fall of the Berlin wall, Europe was facing a delicate situation, with drastic geopolitical changes, occurred mainly   due to the collapse of the Soviet block and of the communism (in general) as a political system.The vacuum in democratic values, in political and economical reforms, in many countries was very evident and problematic. Many top officials and leaders from various governments of the newly sovereign states, in Eastern, Central and Northern Europe, started to discuss and exchange views among themelves. The battle horse of such consultations was the issue of an existing very weak regional cooperation. The main attention during such formal/informal meetings was mostly given to the idea of finding the ways to gather/invite the countries in transition   to the market economy into a regional structure/forum or initiative. On the other side, they  were of the opinion that   the  participation  also from countries  of Western Europe with uninterrupted experience and history in  market economy, should be  encouraged and considered  to be an advantageous one.
Albania is one of the founder countries of the regional initiative called Black Sea Economic Cooperation-BSEC. While, in principle, my country   was not a country "wet" (with the Black) by the sea, with its membership to BSEC, the Albanian intention was to show to the other countries in the region that it is very much interested to forge good neighborhood relations, to strengthen the economic ties with all the countries in this region, in brief to be a serious regional partner.
We are counting and appreciating the benefits of our membership to the regional initiatives in a satisfactory manner and we   attach particular importance to all   regional initiatives in the areas close to our country. So far we are member to the CEI, AII, SECI, SEECP, SP, MARRI and BSEC. During 2006 we had the chairmanship -in -office in the CEI (Central European Initiative) and AII (Adriatic and Ionian Initiative).We believe that one year period for each of the above mentioned chairmanship was a very good occasion for us to manage, moderate and guide   the activities and projects of these initiatives.
From  1992, the initial phase  of the BSEC history , begun an engagement of the Albanian institutions expressed  not only with the   participation  in various fora but also with  an active role and with their goodwill    to reach consensus in many debates that take place within BSEC. It has fulfilled the usual obligations deriving from such membership, starting from the mandatory financial contributions going to the fulfillment of chairmanship With a constructive spirit of cooperation, Albanian participants started to contribute to the issues of common concern/interest and to work closely with other colleagues from different BSEC Member States. As a Member State, our country has showed that (IT)has a real interest to work at regional context especially in some very important domains such as Energy, Transport and Security matters.
Albania considers that its own main strategic objective, the European Integration, is   coinciding with the main target of the majority of the BSEC Member States.
We think that the future  EU integration of our region, as a strategic action, is the only one to be chosen,  and this is the best way we should go further and progress.
Today the composition of the BSEC organization consists of 12 Member States in different stage of the democratic reforms and different phase of membership vis-ஶis European Union. The case of having inside the organization   also three E.U.  Members, we believe is special opportunity to share the positive experiences of applied reforms and constant actions on sustainable development.
Our country in 2006 signed SAA agreement with EU and we are very much engaged to go further more towards the process of European Integration.
We are happy to see that BSEC is also playing a positive role towards such a target
Everybody agree that an important progress of regional cooperation within the framework of BSEC is achieved. And we are glad for that the organization is now trying to define the skeleton for a continuous dialogue and cooperative action between the BSEC and the EU. This action/cooperation needs to be mutually beneficial and result -oriented one.
We are convinced that the cooperation we are doing and we are trying to strengthen in the form of sub-regional or regional cooperation is a stepping stone towards the integration in general and a sin e qua non condition for the integration into EU in particular. This process as a whole is a school and it serves, in addition, as a training ground.
While our goal is to speed up the process of our European integration, Europe is targeting to transform itself into a stronger global player. Better then before, the new century we entered some years before, seems to be the century of challenges towards integrations and globalization.
For the majority of BSEC Member States, one important way to be followed for European Integration should be through strengthening the role of the regional cooperation, making it more vital. Strengthening of this key role in our region means, that his tool, should better contribute for a lasting peace, reconciliation, improvement and development of civil society, for the improvement of the economic situation in our countries, to the creation of new job opportunities, adoption of strategies for a sustainable development, better use of the potentials of our region, protection of the environment,  etc.
Now let us take into consideration   now the fact that the EU target for this decade is to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. For reaching such goal, the European institutions   are formulating better policies; they are stepping up the process of structural reform and modernization of European social model.
The Member States of the BSEC region need have the same attitude and not invent the wheel. The formulation of   concrete, short term targets for this process of integration is a must for us. Our engagement at national level should be combined with that one at regional level and altogether should be targeting at European standards and European structures.
Among the objectives that we may put in our path to be paved towards European integration could be a proper combination between cooperation and competition at regional and European level, Another  objective could be the  possible involvement of BSEC Member States to participate to  the respective European Working Groups,With proper objectives, the cooperation in our region should be undoubtedly a key factor to contribute to a deeper and quicker regional integration of our countries, to the prosperity and well-being.
The actual trend in Europe is the expansion process of European Union. This process has entered a special phase with last two wages of enlargement:  the first during the year 2004, when ten new members joined the EU and the second by 1st January 2007, when   two BSEC Member States, Bulgaria and Romania followed them. That is why today many people perceive Europe mostly as a work in progress rather than a defined territory or/and an economic / political structure/grouping
But what is the specific role that BSEC is doing nowadays.(?) As you all know, BSEC is a full-fledged regional economic organization being at the same time the only one acting in our region. It is a well structured and institutionalized organization.
BSEC is a very good example among the similar regional   grouping   and initiatives, which possesses   proper (adequate) mechanisms and instruments of cooperation like it is the case of Project Development Fund .With the mandate given at the BSEC Summits BSEC has expanded its activities beyond the usually explored issue of regional economic cooperation.BSEC has approved an important document called The Platform for Cooperation between BSEC and EU. And now has arrived the time when BSEC is trying to update it entirely.
A constant ambition of the BSEC is the action to increase the credibility of BSEC in the Black Sea region and beyond and to facilitate the presence of EU in this region.
The BSEC's main compass for its prospects is the BSEC Economic Agenda-For the Future-Towards a More Consolidated, Effective and Viable BSEC Partnership. This basic document, seen as a strategy oriented to reach BSEC common goals need to be constantly revised and updated. This Agenda should equip BSEC Member States with a forward-looking approach and highlights the need for the adoption of a regional strategy for sustainable development, identifying regional, national and sectoral comparative advantages. One of the main pillars of the Agenda is to offer a better economic integration of its Member States as a precondition for inclusion of the BSEC region in a broader European economic space.
There is also a very important fact: admitting or not, today we are living in a world whose main distinguished tendency is the globalization.
The next  Turkish Chairmanship in  BSEC will be a very good opportunity  for Turkey to show its ability as a  capable regional  actor  to boost  regional cooperation   by moderating dialogue, managing the work  of the various  meetings, promoting projects of  common interest etc. We believe that Turkish chairmanship will be a splendid one, not only due to the fact that Turkey is hosting the headquarters of the organization, but also because this chairmanship   is coinciding with the 15.th anniversary of the organization.

The author is Director on the Department of Multilateral Initiatives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania
                    [post_title] =>  Albania and BSEC 
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            [6] => WP_Post Object
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                    [ID] => 102853
                    [post_author] => 68
                    [post_date] => 2007-09-28 02:00:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2007-09-28 02:00:00
                    [post_content] => By Maklen Misha*
It is often said that history is written by the victors, but what happens when there is no winner? This is the question Albania has been grappling with since the end of the Communist regime. It would be a difficult enough situation in any case but matters are made even worse when politicians join in the discussion. Then one can safely claim that the situation is impossible. Making them all agree on how Albania's history should read is no easy task. Making them understand that it is none of their business in the first place is even harder.  
Through some ironic accident of history the end of Communism, unlike other revolutions or changes of regimes, brought no real winners or losers in Albania. Former Communists, Socialists, Democrats, Republicans, supporters of the Monarchy and a whole host of others, to their chagrin, have to coexist in a pluralistic political system. They all have their own political agendas and given that most believe in the definition of history as a weapon they all have their interpretations of it too, which are almost always determined by their agendas. Thus historians have been pushed out of the scene and politicians have taken over. "We have come to discuss history as politicians, of course!" remarked a well known politician and close partner of the prime minister in a TV debate on the subject of history without even realizing how strange that statement sounds. It is though to some extent understandable that politicians - given the fact that being one requires high levels of self confidence - see nothing wrong in fashioning themselves historians overnight.  
Historians however do. The quality of research and historical studies will suffer for one. Politicians are by definition no great friends of truth; it comes with the craft. And when something as serious as history - from where their political legitimacy derives - is at stake one can hardly expect them to be objective and present balanced views. One has but to look at the discussions on the crisis of 1997 and the radically different views and explanations presented by the two sides of Albanian politics to realise that. Or again if one looks at the collapse of the Communist regime and the advent of democracy and the Democratic Party: not even 17 years have passed and no one seems capable of saying what exactly happened. Of course, historians, given the chance to conduct their research and studies unimpeded by political pressure would arrive at some more or less objective and balanced interpretation. Unfortunately they cannot. Politics won't let them. And when historians - or any other academic types for that matter - are as foolish as to go head to head with politicians in Albania, it is they who loose. How could it be otherwise?!
Of course history in Albania needs to be rewritten. The Communist version of it simply does not hold water anymore and it never did: it presented its own reading to the exclusion of all else and one challenged it at one's peril. But as in many other cases during Albania's transition, the rewriting of history has been perceived as a free for all. Everything is up for grabs. Every group can present its own view and so can all sorts of charlatans. If one does not like a certain aspect of the country's history because he/she or their families are not portrayed in a good light, or just for the heck of it, well, that can easily be remedied. Just write an article or two, portray yourself as a victim of the regime, a dissident or at the very least as a crypto-Communist, season it all with some choice anti-Communist slogans and you bought yourself a new past. Because as in Communist history writing the same concept seems to guide the new attempts at rewriting the country's history too: to have a new present or future one needs a new past.  
This principle can be seen in the choice of the parts of history that are subject to rewriting. The discussions have focused not so much on the decades of Communist rule as on the World War Two period and the regime that preceded the Communists, that of King Zog. The choice of subject is strategic indeed. The fight against Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany is where the Communists derived their legitimacy from; it also where the Monarchists and Nationalists lost much of theirs. Of course the Communists exploited this period too for their own political gains and portrayed their defeated adversaries purely in terms of traitors and quislings. But as in many other former Communist countries - most notably Croatia, Serbia - the new right-wing political elites often had their roots in those defeated adversaries. History therefore had to be rewritten in order for their legitimacy to be on a sound basis. On the other hand the Albanian left tries its best for history not to be changed so that their legitimacy does not suffer. The merits of the arguments of both sides go way beyond the scope of this paper, but one thing must be said: they are both extremely manicheist in their conception. After all it would have been simply impossible for the Communists to have been 100% bad and have enjoyed no popular support and win the war. Conversely it would have been impossible for the Nationalists and Monarchists to have been such good souls and enjoyed such support and loose. Then there is the argument about King Zog which is even stranger. While criticising one cruel dictator, Enver Hoxha, many nowadays try to glorify Zog who was after all just another petty dictator. Not just that but he had the audacity to proclaim himself king!  
But instead of looking at these periods of Albanian history and the figures that shaped them in their entirety, instead of looking at the complex circumstances that enabled them to achieve what they did, the debate has degenerated to the same level as that of opposing football fans: my team is better because!  You cheated! All the inconvenient facts are simply pushed aside. (For instance no self-respecting Albanian Monarchist dares ask or answer the most obvious question about King Zog: Who died and made him King?) 
In order to get around these thorny issues these self-made historians and politicians are using some age old tricks. One consists in the choice of subject. For instance any study concentrating exclusively on the crimes or wrongs, committed by a given regime runs the risk of becoming nothing more than a propaganda instrument. Then there is the other trick which consists in choosing a starting date for the study. After all even identical historical narratives can have very different connotations depending on what one takes as the starting date of the narrative. As Bernard Lewis once remarked the history of the war between the US and Japan would look very different if one took Hiroshima as the starting point rather than Pearl Harbour.  
To make a long and complex story short one can say that Albanian politicians, and groups of interest are doing all they can to rewrite history. Rewriting history is a necessity for Albania not just in light of the new evidence and facts, but also because of the newly found freedom to do so without risk of persecution. However what is not justified are the attempts at distortion and fabrication motivated by political aims which are then presented as the sacrosanct truth. Such endeavours have nothing in common with the craft of history writing. An historian has to look at the how-s and why-s of any given period but he/she has to do so as objectively as possible. After all it is not history that changes but what we make of it.   
-------------
The author is Director of Resarch at the Albanian Institute International Studies
                    [post_title] =>  History! History for all! 
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                    [ID] => 102812
                    [post_author] => 68
                    [post_date] => 2007-09-21 02:00:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2007-09-21 02:00:00
                    [post_content] => By Alba ȥla 

Speaking to a group of Albanian journalists gathered at a training hall of the Albanian Media Institute, Xavier Vidal-Folch, Deputy Editor in Chief of "El Pais", the leading daily in Spain was at ease. His knowledge and expertise originated from a hands-on 6 years long engagement in Brussels for European Union related coverage and constant devotion tom political and economic information in his 30 years long career in journalism. His informal yet thoughtful style was eloquent enough to let us know that the content did not aim any audience, but his colleagues, the people roaming newsrooms in the eternal journalistic quest for the simple truth. In a global world where physical boundaries shift and merge, the importance of media is ever growing. And in the face of the enormous power stands, according to Vidal, a greater responsibility: to be cautious and independent. 

El Pais

 The leading national newspaper in Spain, widely read and with different editions for the diverse ethnic cantons in the country can rightly boast about its success. It was founded n 1976, after the death of Dictator Franco. Back then it was the symbol of new independent press and that remains the key to this popularity, according to Mr. Vidal, its financial and political independence. The newspaper also has a very good record of collaboration with other leading media outlets in Europe as well as being part of a large multimedia group in Spain. The newspaper has covered Albania frequently, mostly relate to "the position of Albania in major crisis such as regional stability, Kosovo or even Iraq. 

Albania: visit number 2

 Mr. Viral first came to Albania for the Kosovo crisis in 1999. Then the things that would leave him a strong impression were the refugee camps and Albanians' solidarity with their ethnic kin, in welcoming them to their homes. What he can notice right now in Tirana is the "the feel, the smell and the colors" of a city that is changing and developing. Albania has caught some good speed in its progress and Mr. Viral has been happy to discover in his conversations with academics, decision makers and colleague journalist that there is a group of willing leadership in Albania to further reforms. "The thing that I most appreciate here, is the density of the pro European stance of this country. This will add a very good value to the future of the integration of this country," he says, adding that a lot of countries in the region and surprisingly even member countries have not had such positive levels of popular support to integration. 

Being a journalist in Brussels

 According to Mr. Vidal there is an obvious need for any serious media of a candidate or aspiring candidate country to have its own correspondents in Brussels. When this is not feasible the frequency of meetings between journalist and media structures in Brussels should be as high as possible. The press people in Brussels are very efficient despite being a little bit bureaucratic in his perception. All journalists should become familiar with the mechanism of communication and information in Brussels. 

 His work there has awarded Mr. Vidal with interesting observations about the work of his colleagues form different countries in Europe. While some journalists keep staying together "like sheep, as in the case of Italians," others take advantage of "the cooperation opportunities with colleagues from other nations," he observes. This is made easier by the absence of competition which is higher in the case of journalists coming from the same country. Hence Brussels is an interesting place to experience the dynamics of the European melting pot even in terms of its effects on the media 

EU expansion: walking 

a tight rope between skepticism and enthusiasm

 In a conversation with the Albanian Speaker of Parliament Mr. Vidal was cited as saying that in the beginning he was skeptical about EU enlargement and then when he saw the results s he changed his mind and thought the output was wonderful. I could not rest the temptation to ask his reasons for being skeptical. "More than being a skeptic, I was afraid," he rightfully explained. There is a perennial dilemma between the importance of growing larger and that of reaching deeper. The European Union can benefit from enlargement only if that process is accompanied by serious comprehensive reforms, internal institutional democracy and continuous efforts to create a common all-encompassing identity. Mr. Viral is a fierce opponent of what he calls the British approach to Europe, a dry economic concept of a free common market. He is joined in his opinion by the Spanish Ambassador who is quick to remind us that the United Europe is mankind's first experiment with unity without the prior use of force and conquest. Hence it's a purely voluntary club, with rules and regulations, the first social contract ever since Rousseau conceived it. It is the supporters of the British view who were first pro expansion since they believed it did not entail any obligations 

The growing fourth power

"I think that the media has to use cautiously, I wouldn't say its power, but its capacity of influence. I think they have to be cautious about themselves. Independence of journalism starts by being independent not towards other powers but towards journalism itself." Then he eloquently explains that this does not mean that a journalist should not have ideas, passions, inclinations and beliefs but that he should no try to impose those on the readers. As a journalist, a citizen and human being you are entitled to an opinion, but as he stresses, "you should not let your own opinion damage the golden rule of this profession which is: always verify, check the information. We are not the owners of information." This is the basis of the journalism duty: to report information while at the same time giving an opportunity to others who don't think like we do to have their own interpretation of it.

                    [post_title] =>  European integration and journalism, the Spanish experience 
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                    [post_content] => By Alba ȥla

The 2nd Albania Business and Investment Summit kicked off today at the luxurious ambiances of Hotel Sheraton in Tirana. Serious companies with representatives in smart suits and black suitcases filled air-conditioned halls where video projected presentations gave a picture of the opportunities to invest in the country. 

Discussing foreign investment in Albania comes at a good timing, given the priority of this administration to bring economic development. Albania does not lack the assets to lure foreign investors. Unexploited but rich mineral resources can serve to attract industrialists while tourism industry has an even higher margin of success with the wonderful Albanian nature, the rich cultural and historical heritage and the Mediterranean friendly climate and sunny days. On the other hand countries in the region seem to be doing far better in attracting foreign investors with aggressive marketing strategies and offering facilities for setting up new businesses. According to an OECD report the FDI stock in Albania is the lowest in the region. 

Such initiatives coupled with good will have not lacked on the Albanian side as well. Lowering the number of days required to set up a new activity with the National business Registration center as most importantly launching the "Albania 1 euro" project, the Albanian administration is trying to be creative. The problems that remain to be identified and solved for foreign investors to seriously consider Albania as a potential site for their money though need a less creative and more efficient approach. 

Among the reasons that the OECD report identifies on why foreign investment is still lacking in Albania the most important are: High level of taxes, Lack of sufficient transparency and consistency in tax and custom offices; Corruption in tax and custom offices; Unfair competition from the unofficial economy; Poor road infrastructure; Telecommunication problems; Energy; Policy instability. While taxes have been slashed by the government to a historical low of 10 percent luring even global financial magazines to declare Albania a heaven for tax haters, the other significant issues remain. Energy and road infrastructure seem to be the cancers that have grown deep roots and are paralyzing all chances of Albanian economic development. In an interview with Managing Director of Albanian Airlines, Christian Heinzmann, he confessed that every time he wanted to tell his German business men friends about chances to invest in Albania they brought up the same wall of excuses: bad roads, no electricity! With an ongoing crisis and power shortages as high as 8 hours in urban centers, can anyone blame them?

Policy inconsistency and corruption are also plagues related to bad governance and identified in subsequent reports form international organizations, reports which serve as reliable sources of information to any serious investors interested in Albania. Regarding informality, although the administration has waged a fierce war against it, the results are yet to come. 

Two other issues remain to be addressed: problems related to ownership in Albania are still not resolved and give grim expectations to any investor. The usual nightmare scenario of someone investing here is that one day the legal owner of the land will claim it, after the investor who has been deceived that he has done everything regularly will have to close down or pay a significant cost. The ALUZINI national agency has been trusted the responsibility to resolve al property claims and issues but the process is complex and will need serious efforts as well as time to be resolved in the long term. The second issue is labor costs. One of the main attractions that bring foreign investment in Albania is cheap labor. Even those are increasing with the administration forcing a higher minimum wage and stricter regulations of social security contributions. The contradiction here is that while fighting informality through formalizing labor the unintended consequence of driving wages up is the loss of competitive advantage. The situation draws close to a "Damn if you damn if you don't" paradox. 

While Albania still needs international exposure and media coverage, hence Summits like these are welcomed opportunities to present the country's economic potential, which is not lacking. On the other hand the calculations and expectations of foreign investors are made in much more coo-headed context, considering all the potential risks associated with their projects. Thus while the structural impediments persist one can not avoid considering the enthusiasm of such events with a grain of skepticism.
                    [post_title] =>  Invest in Albania 2007: opportunity or paradox?  
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                    [post_author] => 68
                    [post_date] => 2007-09-17 02:00:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2007-09-17 02:00:00
                    [post_content] => By Janusz Bugajski

In its determination to re-establish Russia's great power status, the Kremlin oligarchy has launched a series of policy thrusts against Western interests. According to state propaganda, the West is intent on weakening Russia and capturing its neighbors under the cover of democracy building. The West has thereby become Russia's principal adversary.

Moscow has launched several offensives to undercut Alliance unity and effectiveness. In the military sphere it has unilaterally placed a moratorium on compliance with the CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) treaty, asserting that there should be no ceilings on Russian deployments. At the same time, the Kremlin has condemned Washington's planned anti-missile defense system, claiming that it is intended to neutralize Russia's nuclear capabilities and dominate Europe.

Russian leaders allege that the defensive network to be built in Poland and the Czech Republic, together with U.S. military basing in Bulgaria and Romania, constitutes a direct threat to Russia. To counter such American "encirclement," Russia develops alliances with regional powers that can challenge U.S. interests, including China and Iran.

Other diplomatic moves are intended to undermine Western leadership and unity. In denying Kosova's statehood by vetoing the Western plan for independence in the UN Security Council, the Kremlin asserts that Russia is the primary defender of multilateralism and international legality. Kosova now forms part of a broader strategic agenda enabling Russia to elevate its international position by claiming to counterbalance alleged U.S. hegemony.

Russia has pumped its substantial oil and gas revenues into prestige military projects designed to demonstrate its muscular revival. These include deploying new RS-24 long-range ballistic missiles, threatening to target countries that host U.S. troops, planning to locate nuclear weapons in Belarus and Kaliningrad, restoring its long-range strategic air squadron to challenge NATO preponderance in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and raising the importance of the Collective Security Organization (CSO) as a counter-balance to NATO.

On the economic front, Russia continues to manipulate energy as a strategic weapon, whether by using subsidization to promote political dependence or purchasing energy infrastructure in neighboring countries to increase political influence. Even Germany has been targeted by the Kremlin. The recent cutback of scheduled oil deliveries from Russia is intended to extract higher prices from Berlin and enable Lukoil, the major supplier, to acquire stakes in German refineries

Russia monopolizes gas and oil supplies from Central Asia to European customers, thus keeping Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan in a colonial stranglehold by paying below market prices for their resources. It also pursues control over the Arctic shelf claiming the region's vast energy resources as Russian property. This policy will bring Moscow into collision with the U.S., Norway, Denmark, and Canada.

In the Balkan arena, Moscow wants a string of weak or neutral states through which it can exert influence and counter the American and NATO presence - including Moldova, Serbia, Kosova, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Montenegro. A major role in the Balkan economies will benefit Moscow in three ways: financial profit, political influence, and strategic advantage by either stifling each country's qualifications for NATO and the EU or weakening their position in both organizations.

Each of the "front-line" state in Russia's European strategy face serious challenges to their independence and national interests. If Moscow cannot use countries such as Bulgaria or Hungary as proxies within both NATO and the EU then it will seek to neutralize and marginalize them so they do not join Poland, Romania, and the Baltic states in an "anti-Russian bloc."

However, as members of both the Alliance and the Union, the Central European now possess stronger options than during the Cold War when they were susceptible to Russian control. In order to uphold their interests they must form strong alliances with governments who understand and resist Russia's strategy. They must closely monitor Russian investment in their economies and prevent political interference. And they must maintain a strong relationship with the U.S. in order to protect their security.
                    [post_title] =>  Moscow's Anti-Western Offensive 
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            [post_date] => 2007-10-12 02:00:00
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            [post_content] => By Professor MENTOR PETRELA

Albania spends 70 Euro per capita on health
With a mere 3 per cent of the GDP it is nigh on impossible for the health system to survive. In other words to enjoy sound health there is no price, but there is a cost. In the member countries of the OECD, the average cost of health is at 8.9 per cent, and differs in Germany, in France 11 per cent, in the UK and Spain 7.7 per cent. Albania spends 70 Euro per capita on health. The above countries spend more than 3,000 Euro  per capita on health, and they do permit themselves, occasionally, the luxury of appointing a Minister of Health who is not a Doctor, for the sake of a compromise, or when they don't have anyone who fits the bill with a political commitment.
This is the reason why, the parodies in the media based on this argument, to me have never seemed reasonable. Take the two neighbouring countries that I know well, Italy and France. In Italy, there is the experience with the Prodi Government, a Minister of Health, distinguished Professor of Oncology from Verona, who in the Prodi-2 Government prolonged the representation of his group in this post due to the fact that he had exceeded 10 years of age. In the Berlusconi Governments, 1 and 2, the health ministers were Doctors of repute, Professor Sirchia, hematologist. In France, in the Rafarin Government, the Minister of Health Professor Mattei, a leading expert in genetics, was replaced by Douste Blazy, a cardiologist, who in the Villepin Cabinet switched functions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Medicine need the transfer of technologies
The University hospitals, where top level technologies are used today, one fifth of the expenses of the Albanians today, a total of 570 million Euro (data of the Bank of Albania) go on medical treatment. Albanian medicine has always needed, what is known as, the transfer of technologies and competences. King Zog realized this historically by sending many persons abroad for long term specialization and by bringing Jewish Professors to Albania between1933-39; in a later period from 1965-1975, Soviet and Chinese assistance yielded its fruits. But then autarchy blacked out the country, with the consequences we are aware of. Here, politicians fail to grasp the fact that education is the essence of the principle of a society with a European and not communal orientation. Their contribution, in the opposite sense, is often witnessed, beginning with the monies they take from their compatriots as "a second hand people." In other words, they have distinguished themselves in the deepening of the exodus from the country. The heteroclite situation, which is illusive for the above mentioned reasons in terms of turning a politician, but which could be used with demagogy, for personal gain.

International assistance in a monitoring sense
The evolution of Albanian Medicine following the Nineties' has enjoyed international assistance, in a monitoring sense, which has brought in to the country prepared documents and strategies for reforms, which have progressed in fits and starts, because some Albanian partner would be picked up along the way who didn't know foreign languages adequately. This strikes the eye especially in the case of the politicians. Internationals, who have known their Leviticus predecessors in Health, are most sensitive, especially in direct contacts. To sum up, there will be fewer projects, less funds for health.

The kleptomaniac proselytism has not managed to entrench itself
Albania has a society which resembles the developments in the countries of the East, chiefly Russia, more than anything else. The frenzy to become rich, the absence of social cohesion, the conflict of interests, the lobbying, oligarchy, and plutocracy, all of the above erode democracy. The politicians are more likely to support or to become oligarchic Ayatollah, quenching their thirst for power with figures, and obviously receiving the Communion wafer as an Act in the Show. So far at least, this kind of oligarchy is not known amongst professional persons of Medicine and kleptomaniac proselytism has not managed to entrench itself.

The medical clasas has inspired the society
Fukuyama says that politicians will continue to be needed in advanced Western societies for as long as the professionals listen to them. Heidegger says the opposite, because he foresaw the collapse of totalitarianism, supported the development of society and the professionals. The medical class, with its roots sunk deep in humanism, has inspired society; it has the sense of rendering service; it is an eternal spring.

The author is Professor of the University and Hospitals Paris.
            [post_title] =>  The Albanian health system, the impossible survival 
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