Albania withdraws from 5G technology project following U.S. Embassy criticism

Albania withdraws from 5G technology project following U.S. Embassy criticism

TIRANA, Dec. 11 – After continuous public criticism by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana over the introduction of the 5G technology, the Albanian government has decided to withdraw from the project. A Memorandum of Understanding with the US government on

Read Full Article
Kosovo expected to gain millions from joint power grid and interconnection highway with Albania

Kosovo expected to gain millions from joint power grid and interconnection highway with Albania

TIRANA, Dec. 11 – Kosovo anticipates several million euros in annual profits after eventually opting out from Serbia’s power grid and joining Albania’s power grid, according to outgoing Kosovo government officials and those of Kosovo’s transmission system operator (KOSTT). A

Read Full Article
Exports slump during 11-month period amid political climate

Exports slump during 11-month period amid political climate

TIRANA, Dec. 13 – November was marked by a 9.1 percent decline in exports, as the value of Albanian goods sold abroad during this month was 25 billion lek. INSTAT reported that the annual decline deepened further, with the total

Read Full Article
BoA concern over affected residents’ ability to pay back house loans

BoA concern over affected residents’ ability to pay back house loans

TIRANA, Dec. 5 – The Governor of the Bank of Albania, Gent Sejko, urged banks to assess the impact of the earthquake on the ability of the affected people to pay back loans as soon as possible. He urged banks

Read Full Article
Area granted for buildings in Tirana increased by 60 percent since 2018, reaching record high

Area granted for buildings in Tirana increased by 60 percent since 2018, reaching record high

TIRANA, Dec. 2 – Recent data published by INSTAT on building permits showed that the area granted for construction in Tirana reached 1.3 million square meters during the nine-month period in 2019, increasing by almost 60 percent compared to the

Read Full Article
Albania and Kosovo sign agreement towards joint power system block

Albania and Kosovo sign agreement towards joint power system block

TIRANA, Dec. 2 – On Monday, the Transmission System and Market Operator Company in Kosovo and Transmission System Operator of Albania (TSO), signed an agreement establishing a Kosovo-Albania Power System Regulatory Block (CA Block). According to a KOSST statement, the

Read Full Article
Kosovo tax on Serbia proves unfavorable for Albania as exports drop

Kosovo tax on Serbia proves unfavorable for Albania as exports drop

TIRANA, Nov. 24 – Exports from Albania to Kosovo amounted to 204 million euros during the first 10 months of 2019. In comparison to the same period a year earlier, exports grew by almost 13 percent, but despite the positive

Read Full Article
Asylum applications increased by 21 percent since 2018 according to EASO report

Asylum applications increased by 21 percent since 2018 according to EASO report

TIRANA, Nov. 22 – Applications lodged by Albanian citizens for asylum in one of the European Union member states increased by 21 percent since last year, according to the latest report by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). During the

Read Full Article
Good governance is necessary for a good economy, EBRD states

Good governance is necessary for a good economy, EBRD states

TIRANA, Nov. 19 – The latest report by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) highlighted the importance of good governance to ensure better economies. The ” 2019-2020 Report” report released on Tuesday is also titled “Better Governance –

Read Full Article
Albania ranked among countries with lowest per capita income, IMF reports

Albania ranked among countries with lowest per capita income, IMF reports

TIRANA, Nov. 11 – The latest data presented by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its “October 2019 Global Economic Outlook”, showed that Albania’s expected per capita income was 5,732 dollars during 2019, ranking Albania the 102nd in the world

Read Full Article
WP_Query Object
(
    [query] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 5
            [paged] => 5
        )

    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 5
            [paged] => 5
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => economy
            [tag] => 
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [comments_popup] => 
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 10
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 5
                                )

                            [include_children] => 1
                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => IN
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [queried_object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [term_id] => 5
            [name] => Economy
            [slug] => economy
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 5
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 7950
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 5
            [category_count] => 7950
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => Economy
            [category_nicename] => economy
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 5
    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  INNER JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (5) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 40, 10
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143692
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-12-13 17:56:26
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-13 16:56:26
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 11 - After continuous public criticism by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana over the introduction of the 5G technology, the Albanian government has decided to withdraw from the project. A Memorandum of Understanding with the US government on 4G and 5G security was adopted during a meeting held on Wednesday with the Council of Ministers, which is effective immediately. This comes after many stated concerns by the United States about the use of technological equipment manufactured in China. 

In November, the U.S. Embassy in Tirana made several public announcements about the technology threats to Albania. “The 5G network will be rolling out pretty quickly but do you trust the companies that are building the 5G networks? How can you know that they will not misuse your data?” one announcement stated.

"When it comes to 5G and critical cyber infrastructure in the United States and in NATO Allies such as Albania, we cannot be clearer: security cannot be compromised or sold. It is vital to consider whether suppliers are subject to control by a foreign government without independent judicial review, whether intellectual property rights are respected, and what the track record of vendors regarding respect for the rule of law. Through this lens, the United States, Albania, and NATO Allies must transition away from untrusted information and communications technology providers and supply chains to trusted ones…Freedom is not free, and freedom is not for sale," the Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Leyla Moses-Ones said earlier in November. Furthermore, the U.S. embassy announced earlier on Wednesday that Huawei hopes to manufacture and sell its 5G network equipment worldwide. However, there are clear reasons for countries and consumers to act cautiously. 

According to the U.S., Huawei is headquartered in China, a country without an independent judiciary or an applicable law. China also has a law requiring companies to assist the government in espionage. That means there is no way to challenge the Chinese government if it orders a company to spy on or steal data. Moreover, Huawei also has a history of ethical violations, including stealing data from its competitors. "Huawei has a long history of stealing intellectual property and violating corruption laws around the world," says one U.S. official.

When it comes to 5G, the US and its allies "need to ensure that we only have trusted suppliers in 5G networks."

In May, President Donald Trump essentially barred the Chinese Huawei company from accessing US telecommunications networks after Washington revealed that the company had violated US sanctions on Iran and had attempted to block a subsequent investigation into the affairs.

 

 
                    [post_title] => Albania withdraws from 5G technology project following U.S. Embassy criticism
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albania-withdraws-from-5g-technology-project-following-u-s-embassy-criticism
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-12-13 16:37:27
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-13 15:37:27
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143692
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143687
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-12-13 16:27:57
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-13 15:27:57
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 11 - Kosovo anticipates several million euros in annual profits after eventually opting out from Serbia's power grid and joining Albania's power grid, according to outgoing Kosovo government officials and those of Kosovo’s transmission system operator (KOSTT). A little over a week ago, KOSTT and the Transmission System Operator of Albania (OST) signed in Tirana the agreement on the establishment of the Kosovo- Albania power grid, the implementation of which will begin in April 2020.

The Chief Executive Officer of KOSTT, Ilir Shala, said that the signing of the agreement with Albania will enable Kosovo to break away from the umbrella of the Serbian regulatory zone (EMS) and become part of the OST (Transmission System Operator of Albania). He added that Serbia has illegally used Kosovo's transmission network and collected revenues of about 65 million euros, from 2008 until now. Therefore, he sees the agreement with Albania as a good opportunity for Kosovo to bring in over 2 million euros a year.

“The dimensions of energy capacities within the Kosovo-Albania block are defined in financial or commercial terms, where according to the calculations, the savings will amount to around 4 million euros per year. For OST, profit is expected to reach 1.4 million euros, while for KOSTT it will amount to 2.6 million euros, ” Shala said. Moreover, the outgoing Minister of Economic Development, Valdrin Lluka, pointed out that Kosovo suffers annual losses of up to 12 million euros from Serbia's System Operator (EMS), which continues to collect the capacity allocation revenue for Kosovo's border lines with neighboring states. Lluka added that these financial losses have to do with the electricity bills amounting to 10 million euros a year by customers of the Serb majority in northern Kosovo municipalities where no electricity is actually paid for. “The northern part of Kosovo, in accordance with the 2013 Brussels Energy Agreement, is foreseen to be supplied through an energy provider. This supplier will be licensed in accordance with the Kosovo regulatory framework, but must previously have a business registration certificate issued by the Business Registration Agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It is currently expected that this company will apply for a license in accordance with the Kosovo legal regulatory framework.” the Chief Executive Officer of KOSTT said.

Kosovo - Albania interconnection line

In addition to the Kosovo - Albania agreement on the joint power grid, the two countries also concluded a common project which, however, has not been implemented yet; this constitutes a Kosovo - Albania interconnection line that was officially completed in 2016, but was not implemented as a result of Serbia not going through with the agreement signed in Brussels in 2013 between representatives of Pristina and Belgrade, with the facilitation of the European Union.

However, Shala recently announced that the interconnection agreement between Kosovo and Albania, otherwise known as the energy highway, will be fully functional by early next year.

“The contract for the interconnection construction project or as we call it, the energy highway, was signed in 2013. The construction took place in December 2015 in the territory of Kosovo, while in the territory of Albania, the construction finished in June 2016,” he announced in and interview for Klan Kosova.

"It exists already as an asset, a physical infrastructure and will be launched in April 2020 when we begin operating independently within the Kosovo-Albania regulatory block. We signed the agreement with Albania on November 26 - on the day the earthquake hit the country and for this reason it has not been very present in the media - which I can easily call historical, because KOSTT has never functioned independently as an electricity transmission system and has never been within a regulatory block with the OST,” he added.

Shala also spoke about the benefits on the table for Kosovo and Albania after the interconnection agreement is fully implemented. “This agreement can be treated in two aspects - the technical and commercial aspect or the beneficial aspect. Regarding the technical aspect, real-time monitoring and control of the power system should be carried out in accordance with the obligations of KOST. As for the commercial aspect, through the exchange of tertiary reserves, the profits amount to about 4 million euros in total for OST and KOSTT,” Shala said.

 
                    [post_title] => Kosovo expected to gain millions from joint power grid and interconnection highway with Albania
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => kosovo-expected-to-gain-millions-from-joint-power-grid-and-interconnection-highway-with-albania
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-12-13 16:27:57
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-13 15:27:57
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143687
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [2] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143787
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-12-13 10:18:08
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-13 09:18:08
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 13 - November was marked by a 9.1 percent decline in exports, as the value of Albanian goods sold abroad during this month was 25 billion lek. INSTAT reported that the annual decline deepened further, with the total value of exports during the 11-month period being 97 million euros less than that during the January - November period in 2018. 

During this period in 2019, exports of goods reached a value of 277 billion lek, down by 4.1 percent since a year earlier, while imports of goods reached a value of 593 billion lek, up by 2.1 percent compared to the previous year. The trade deficit reached 317 billion lek, up by 8.2 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

According to INSTAT, the 4.1 percent annual decline in exports during the 11-month period was influenced by the ‘Textile and footwear’ industry group, the largest in the country, reaching 110.2 billion euros in export value, therefore indicating a 3.9 percent annual decline. This group accounts for 40 percent of total exports in Albania. ‘Minerals, fuels and energy’ was the second largest industry group, with a 14.45 percent decline, reaching 45.5 billion lek in export value during the 11-month period 2019, from 53.2 billion lek in 2018. The group accounts for 16 percent of the total exports in the country, but due to the drought in Albania the amount of energy exports was low in 2019. The ‘Building materials and metals’ group also contributed to the downward trend, down by 15 percent during the 11-month period. As a result, the group accounted for only 15 percent of the total exports in Albania from 17 percent in 2018.

Some masonry industry representatives claimed that several factors combined together have led to the shrinkage of the industry and the decline of exports. The first factor has to do with the depreciation of the euro, making entrepreneurs reluctant to purchase goods due to unfavorable prices. Issues with the workforce persisted as well, considering the massive immigration of Albanian citizens to Europe. Finally, the political climate also played a major part by creating an unfavorable business environment. As a result of political instability, many entrepreneurs have turned their backs to the possibility of investing in Albania, according to the masonry industry representatives.

On the other hand, the group with the highest increase in exports was that of ‘Machinery, equipment and exchange of parts’ (by 19 percent) during the 11-month period, accounting for nearly 7 percent of the total exports in Albania, followed by the ‘Food, drinks and tobacco’ group which witnessed an increase of exports by 9.2 percent.

The number of Albanian exports to several countries also increased in November compared to the same period in 2018. Precisely, exports to Spain increased by 37.8 percent, exports to Germany increased by 0.1 percent and those to Greece increased by 1.5 percent. Countries such as Italy, Kosovo and China imported less Albanian goods, declining by 12.8 percent, 9.6 percent and 10 percent, respectively. However, during the eleven-month period, Albania experienced the highest increase of exports to Kosovo (10.6 percent), Germany (5. percent), and China (11.1 percent). 

 
                    [post_title] => Exports slump during 11-month period amid political climate
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => exports-slump-during-11-month-period-amid-political-climate
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-12-26 21:20:34
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-26 20:20:34
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143787
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [3] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143636
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-12-06 12:08:46
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-06 11:08:46
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 5 - The Governor of the Bank of Albania, Gent Sejko, urged banks to assess the impact of the earthquake on the ability of the affected people to pay back loans as soon as possible. He urged banks to look at all the possible options so that the consequences do not slow down the loan rate in the economy.

The loan stock that the Durrës residents received for housing purchases at the end of the third quarter of this year amounted to 72 million euros, according to statistics published by the Bank of Albania. This is the amount that individuals should repay to banks, based on the maturity of the loan. Compared to a year ago, loans stock for houses in Durrës increased by 15 percent by the end of the third quarter, reflecting the resurgence of the construction sector in the country, as well as the increased demand in beach houses, as the coast of Durrës during the last two years has become very appealing due to the increase in of foreign tourists. However there is still no accurate data on the number of residents of the damaged buildings who have purchased their apartment through bank loans, as many of the buildings were relatively new.

On the other hand, the housing loan stock is much higher in Tirana. Residents who bought an apartment through loans must pay back about 640 million euros to the banks. Compared to the previous year, the housing loan stock increased by 6.5 percent, according to the Bank of Albania.  In total, the stock of loans granted to individuals towards housing, amounts to around 930 million euros. Tirana accounts for 69 percent of this amount while Durrës accounts for 8 percent. 

In response to the Governor's request, bank executives suggested drawing up a plan involving measures for borrowing clients who are affected by the earthquake damage, such as the restructuring of loans, if necessary, without imposing additional costs.

 
                    [post_title] => BoA concern over affected residents’ ability to pay back house loans
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => boa-concern-over-affected-residents-ability-to-pay-back-house-loans
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-12-06 12:08:46
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-06 11:08:46
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143636
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [4] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143641
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-12-06 10:32:35
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-06 09:32:35
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 2 - Recent data published by INSTAT on building permits showed that the area granted for construction in Tirana reached 1.3 million square meters during the nine-month period in 2019, increasing by almost 60 percent compared to the same period a year earlier and triple the amount in 2017. During the third quarter alone, the area granted for construction purposes in the capital city was 557,000 square meters, or 81 percent of the city’s total available surface area, reaching a record high.

During the entire nine-month period, 313 building permits were issued in Tirana from 268 granted during the same period a year earlier, increasing by 17 percent. 

Buildings in Tirana continue to spread as the constructors themselves confirm there are 2,500 apartments for sale in Tirana, according to Artan Dulaku, president of the Albanian Association of Constructors.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Rama and the National Reconstruction Committee, he said that foundations could not solve the housing issue for those affected by the earthquake.

“There are over 2,500 apartment buildings there and I think that the point of the meeting should not be about dealing with the foundations, as they will continue for another two weeks. I have bad news for the prime minister; the burden will always be on the government. I propose to look into the possibility of a tripartite roundtable discussion between the government, the banking system and those who own these apartments, and to find a quick and as humanely as possible solution. A solution can be given for a short period,” Dulaku said.

INSTAT reported that during the nine-month period, the approximate value of granted building permits in Tirana was 375 million euros. This constitutes almost 70 percent of Albania’s total available surface area. During the third quarter of 2019, a total of 293 building permits were issued for new buildings, from 343 permits approved during the third quarter in 2018, marking a decrease by 14.6 percent. On the other hand, the area granted for new buildings during the third quarter of 2019 was 685,455 m², from 330,725 m² approved during the third quarter of 2018, marking an increase by 2.1 times.

 
                    [post_title] => Area granted for buildings in Tirana increased by 60 percent since 2018, reaching record high 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => area-granted-for-buildings-in-tirana-increased-by-60-percent-since-2018-reaching-record-high
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-12-06 12:35:52
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-06 11:35:52
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143641
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [5] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143621
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-12-04 12:51:14
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-04 11:51:14
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 2 - On Monday, the Transmission System and Market Operator Company in Kosovo and Transmission System Operator of Albania (TSO), signed an agreement establishing a Kosovo-Albania Power System Regulatory Block (CA Block). According to a KOSST statement, the regulatory block consisting of two regulatory areas (KOSTT and OST) aims to make the operation of two power systems easier both technically and economically. Moreover, this will enable easier operation and balancing of both systems, reducing costs and exchanging system reserves. The agreement is expected to enter into force in April 2020.

“The agreement was signed, to the knowledge of ENTSO-E, with the consent of the two national energy regulators, ‘Energy Regulatory Office’ in Kosovo and Energy Regulatory Authority in Albania. This agreement is a precondition for the independent operation of KOSTT and is expected to enter into force in April 2020, after the signing and commencement of implementation of the new Connection Agreement between KOSTT and ENTSO-E,” reads the KOSTT statement. The agreement is also in line with the new requirements of the ENTSO-E Network Code aimed at promoting the cooperation of the TSOs (Transmission System Operators) with the function to enable the safe operation of the Energy Systems and the minimization of operational costs. 

The Chief Executive Officer of KOSTT, Ilir Shala, announced that this agreement signifies the beginning of “the first actual cooperation on the exchange of reserves within the Kosovo-Albania markets, with the aim to implement the Joint Energy Exchange (APEX), which will enable other trading parties to become part of the soon-to-be-established stock exchange.” He also highlighted the importance that the Regulatory Block will have on the existing Serbian Block, which KOSTT has so far been a part of. “This is a historic agreement for Kosovo and KOSTT, since, until now, we as KOSTT have been within the Serbian Regulatory Area, respectively within the regulatory block of the SMN which includes Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia. Now, with the signing of the agreement with the OST, starting its implementation in April 2020, we are definitely breaking away from the umbrella of the Serbian Regulatory Area and becoming part of the Regulatory Block with the Albanian OST,” Shala added. Moreover, TSO's general manager, Skerdi Drenova,  said that this "guarantees the security of operation for both Power Systems and creates favorable conditions for the optimal utilization of resources within the Block".

However, this was not received well in Belgrade,  where the head of the office for Kosovo in the Serbian Government, Marko Djuric, said, "Greater Energy Albania exists only in the chauvinistic dreams of a few politicians in Pristina," while calling for the international community to block the implementation of the agreement signed in Tirana. He stated that Serbia is the owner and constructor of the power network in Kosovo, while "the block cannot be implemented in practice and it must be stopped by the international community before it leads to consequences for the regional energy, even political stability, and seals the future of the dialogue .

Kosovo and Serbia signed an agreement during talks mediated by the European Union, according to which KOSTT and the Serbian System Operator (EMS) were to start functioning as two independent regulatory areas in accordance with the requirements of the European Network of System Operators of the Electricity Transmission (ENTSO-E). However, this has not been implemented yet, similar to many other agreements aiming to improve the relations between the two countries. 

 
                    [post_title] => Albania and Kosovo sign agreement towards joint power system block
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albania-and-kosovo-sign-agreement-towards-joint-power-system-block
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-12-04 12:51:14
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-04 11:51:14
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143621
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [6] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143567
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-11-27 12:37:40
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-11-27 11:37:40
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 24 - Exports from Albania to Kosovo amounted to 204 million euros during the first 10 months of 2019. In comparison to the same period a year earlier, exports grew by almost 13 percent, but despite the positive start, the growth rate slowed down significantly during the remaining months. Serbia’s market gap after Kosovo imposed a 100 percent tax on its products, seems to not have been exploited by Albanian manufacturers, as exports in 2019 grew at a slower rate than during the past two years, when the annual change in 2017 and 2018 during the same period was 30 percent and 27 percent, respectively, according to INSTAT data.

On November 21, 2018, the Government of Kosovo decided to impose a 100 percent tax on Serbia and Bosnia. According to data from the Kosovo Customs, after imposing the 100 percent tax on Serbia, so far the latter  has exported 430 million euros worth of goods to the former. Moreover, since then, a total amount of 4 million euros in goods were imported from Serbia to Kosovo, while from Bosnia and Herzegovina the total was 2 million euros. Customs officials added that imports of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been replaced by imports from other countries in the region or the European Union.

Data from the Kosovo Institute of Statistics showed that Germany has become Kosovo's main import partner, followed by Italy. In October, Kosovo's imports from the EU countries were about 160.3 million euros, or 50.9 percent of total imports, increasing by 28.9 percent from the previous year. The highest share of imports belonged to Germany at 13 percent, followed by Italy (10.6 percent), Greece (3.7 percent), Bulgaria (3.6 percent), Slovenia (3.1 percent), etc.

During October, imports from the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) countries amounted to 45.0 million euros, making up 14.3 percent of total imports and indicating a decrease by 47.8 percent. The countries with the highest share of imports were Macedonia with 6.9 percent, Albania with 6.3%, and Serbia with only 0.1%.

The top exports in Kosovo are cast iron and steel, making up 38 percent of the total exports, followed by fuel, accounting for 13 percent of the total. During the January-October period of this year, fuel exports grew by 7.6 percent as a result of the rapid growth during the first months of the year. However, with the ARMO refinery ceasing its activity, the trend slowed down significantly. The third top export group includes lime and cement products, which make up 9 percent of the total, with an increase of nearly 10 percent on an annual basis.While exports of fruit reached a high double-digit growth of about 30 percent during the 10-month period, they still remain low, accounting for only 3 percent of total exports to Kosovo.

 
                    [post_title] => Kosovo tax on Serbia proves unfavorable for Albania as exports drop
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => kosovo-tax-on-serbia-proves-unfavorable-for-albania-as-exports-drop
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-11-27 12:37:40
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-27 11:37:40
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143567
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [7] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143562
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-11-26 20:31:07
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-11-26 19:31:07
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 22 - Applications lodged by Albanian citizens for asylum in one of the European Union member states increased by 21 percent since last year, according to the latest report by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). During the first nine months of 2019, a total of 15,469 Albanian citizens applied for the first time, while during the same period of the previous year, this total amounted to 12, 835 citizens. In September alone there were 1,734 new applications, marking an increase by 14 percent compared to 2018. These numbers also reflected Albania’s ranking among the top 10 list of origin of applicants, along with Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, Columbia and Nigeria.

Despite having a high rejection rate and living in a country with no war or ethnic conflicts, Albanian citizens continue to pursue the ‘European Dream’ by attempting to apply for asylum in EU countries. During September, the number of rejections was 1321, while only 57 applicants were granted refugee status. This outcome indicates the low acceptance rate regarding Albanian citizens; only 3 percent and 6 percent of from Albania and Georgia, respectively, were granted refugee status within the top ten list of origin of applicants. “Georgian and Albanian applicants had the lowest recognition rate (3% and 6%, respectively) among the top 10 list of origin of applicants with the most first-instance decisions issued. Still, there is a variation across the EU+ countries regarding the recognition rate for the same citizenship,” the report stated.

More than half a million applications were submitted to the European Union during the first nine months of 2019, up by 10 percent from a year earlier. As before, applicants from Syria, Afghanistan and Venezuelans topped the numbers, accounting for a quarter of all applications in the European Union. Most of the main countries of origin, including Albania, submitted more applications during January to September 2019, compared to the same period during the previous year. The level of recognition of asylum applications by the European Union was at around 32 percent in September 2019 while first instance pending cases increased significantly; The European Asylum Support Office reported a total of 12,680 pending cases in September, out of which 6430 applications were submitted in less than six months.

 
                    [post_title] => Asylum applications increased by 21 percent since 2018 according to EASO report
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => asylum-applications-increased-by-21-percent-since-2018-according-to-easo-report
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-11-26 20:59:45
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-26 19:59:45
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143562
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [8] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143545
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-11-22 19:01:15
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-11-22 18:01:15
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 19 - The latest report by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) highlighted the importance of good governance to ensure better economies. The " 2019-2020 Report" report released on Tuesday is also titled "Better Governance - Better Economies".

The report pointed out that poor governance is harmful for three reasons: it creates uncertainty, damages competition and creates unequal conditions.

In the section on Albania, the report stated that after a 4.1 percent increase in 2018, the economy grew by only 2.4 percent in the first half of 2019, and that the slowdown is due to low energy production. Moreover public debt remains high and that over the past year, this debt, excluding arrears, amounted to about 68 percent of GDP.

Data showed that the banking sector is being consolidated, while pointing out that at the same time there is a continuous shift of ownership away from Eurozone banks to domestic and foreign owners outside the European Union. Non-performing loans have halved since 2014, but still remain at high levels.

The EBRD report states that the priority for 2020 should be the government making further efforts to tackle informality, which remains one of the major obstacles in doing business. The report suggests that the government should focus on improving fiscal and public governance standards, urging for immediate attention to improving Public-Private Partnerships and strengthening institutions and the rule of law. Moreover, energy sources need to be diversified by reducing the country's dependence on hydro power generation and by continuing reforms to improve governance and transparency in the energy sector. The priority for the year 2020, according to the report, should be the improvement of the financial sector, as the banking sector is said to be stable although it still faces many challenges.
                    [post_title] => Good governance is necessary for a good economy, EBRD states 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => good-governance-is-necessary-for-a-good-economy-ebrd-states
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-11-23 19:06:25
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-23 18:06:25
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143545
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [9] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 143508
                    [post_author] => 29
                    [post_date] => 2019-11-15 16:09:09
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-11-15 15:09:09
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Nov. 11 - The latest data presented by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its "October 2019 Global Economic Outlook", showed that Albania’s expected per capita income was 5,732 dollars during 2019, ranking Albania the 102nd in the world out of 192 countries, at levels similar to Iraq, Paraguay, Lebanon, Libya etc. Despite 30 years since the liberalization of the economy and the abundance of resources it possesses, Albania is still one of the poorest countries in Europe. The only countries with higher ranks were Kosovo with a per capita income of 4.442 dollars (111th rank) and former Soviet Union countries such as Ukraine (125th rank) and Moldova (128th).

The wealthiest of the countries in the region was Montenegro, with a per capita income of 8,703 dollars, 62% higher than that of Albania, followed  by Serbia, ranked 87th with 7,398 dollars per capita, North Macedonia ( 6,096 dollars and placed 95th) and finally Bosnia and Herzegovina (97th place). The IMF also stated that data results for Albania remained unchanged since a decade ago (102nd rank), indicating that the economic growth was not higher than its neighboring countries nor did it lead to more welfare for its citizens. Based on the process of convergence, low income countries need to advance more rapidly in order to achieve the average EU standards; its members states currently have an average per capita income of 335.8 thousand dollars, which is seven times higher than that of Albania. Luxembourg is currently at the top ( 113,000 dollars), followed by Switzerland (83,717 dollars), Macao SAR (81,152 dollars), Norway ( 77,975 dollars), Ireland (77,771 dollars), Qatar ( 69,688 dollars), Iceland (67,037 dollars), United States of America (65,112 dollars) and Singapore ( 63,987 dollars).

While expectations were not met during this period for Albania, the future doesn’t seem so bright either. A majority of international institutions lowered their expectations further for the country's economic growth in 2019. The IMF expects the country to grow by an average of 3%, according to the October Global Economic Outlook, from 3.7% which was anticipated in April, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expects Albania to grow by 2.8% this year, revising it down by 1.1 percentage points compared to May and the World Bank expects the economy to expand by 2.9% this year.

 
                    [post_title] => Albania ranked among countries with lowest per capita income, IMF reports
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albania-ranked-among-countries-with-lowest-per-capita-income-imf-reports
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-11-15 16:09:09
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-15 15:09:09
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143508
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

        )

    [post_count] => 10
    [current_post] => -1
    [in_the_loop] => 
    [post] => WP_Post Object
        (
            [ID] => 143692
            [post_author] => 29
            [post_date] => 2019-12-13 17:56:26
            [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-13 16:56:26
            [post_content] => TIRANA, Dec. 11 - After continuous public criticism by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana over the introduction of the 5G technology, the Albanian government has decided to withdraw from the project. A Memorandum of Understanding with the US government on 4G and 5G security was adopted during a meeting held on Wednesday with the Council of Ministers, which is effective immediately. This comes after many stated concerns by the United States about the use of technological equipment manufactured in China. 

In November, the U.S. Embassy in Tirana made several public announcements about the technology threats to Albania. “The 5G network will be rolling out pretty quickly but do you trust the companies that are building the 5G networks? How can you know that they will not misuse your data?” one announcement stated.

"When it comes to 5G and critical cyber infrastructure in the United States and in NATO Allies such as Albania, we cannot be clearer: security cannot be compromised or sold. It is vital to consider whether suppliers are subject to control by a foreign government without independent judicial review, whether intellectual property rights are respected, and what the track record of vendors regarding respect for the rule of law. Through this lens, the United States, Albania, and NATO Allies must transition away from untrusted information and communications technology providers and supply chains to trusted ones…Freedom is not free, and freedom is not for sale," the Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Leyla Moses-Ones said earlier in November. Furthermore, the U.S. embassy announced earlier on Wednesday that Huawei hopes to manufacture and sell its 5G network equipment worldwide. However, there are clear reasons for countries and consumers to act cautiously. 

According to the U.S., Huawei is headquartered in China, a country without an independent judiciary or an applicable law. China also has a law requiring companies to assist the government in espionage. That means there is no way to challenge the Chinese government if it orders a company to spy on or steal data. Moreover, Huawei also has a history of ethical violations, including stealing data from its competitors. "Huawei has a long history of stealing intellectual property and violating corruption laws around the world," says one U.S. official.

When it comes to 5G, the US and its allies "need to ensure that we only have trusted suppliers in 5G networks."

In May, President Donald Trump essentially barred the Chinese Huawei company from accessing US telecommunications networks after Washington revealed that the company had violated US sanctions on Iran and had attempted to block a subsequent investigation into the affairs.

 

 
            [post_title] => Albania withdraws from 5G technology project following U.S. Embassy criticism
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
            [ping_status] => closed
            [post_password] => 
            [post_name] => albania-withdraws-from-5g-technology-project-following-u-s-embassy-criticism
            [to_ping] => 
            [pinged] => 
            [post_modified] => 2019-12-13 16:37:27
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-13 15:37:27
            [post_content_filtered] => 
            [post_parent] => 0
            [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=143692
            [menu_order] => 0
            [post_type] => post
            [post_mime_type] => 
            [comment_count] => 0
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [comment_count] => 0
    [current_comment] => -1
    [found_posts] => 7950
    [max_num_pages] => 795
    [max_num_comment_pages] => 0
    [is_single] => 
    [is_preview] => 
    [is_page] => 
    [is_archive] => 1
    [is_date] => 
    [is_year] => 
    [is_month] => 
    [is_day] => 
    [is_time] => 
    [is_author] => 
    [is_category] => 1
    [is_tag] => 
    [is_tax] => 
    [is_search] => 
    [is_feed] => 
    [is_comment_feed] => 
    [is_trackback] => 
    [is_home] => 
    [is_404] => 
    [is_comments_popup] => 
    [is_paged] => 1
    [is_admin] => 
    [is_attachment] => 
    [is_singular] => 
    [is_robots] => 
    [is_posts_page] => 
    [is_post_type_archive] => 
    [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => fe308ce19c544177e5a11b61b24130e1
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 1
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [post__not_in] => Array
        (
        )

)

Latest News

Read More