Albania: State of the Nation 2001
Albania: State of the Nation 2001
Table des matières
  1. Executive Summary
Albania: Pan Albanianism: Myth or Threat to Balkan Stability?
Albania: Pan Albanianism: Myth or Threat to Balkan Stability?
Report / Europe & Central Asia 1 minutes

Albania: State of the Nation 2001

This report describes the current situation in Albania, paying particular attention to relations with the country’s Balkan neighbours, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece.

Executive Summary

This report describes the current situation in Albania, paying particular attention to relations with the country’s Balkan neighbours, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. The recent upsurge in fighting in the Presevo Valley of southern Serbia and in Macedonia has damaged the reputation of all Albanians in the region and has once more raised the spectre of a Greater Albania. Consequently, the Albanian government has been at pains to stress that it does not support the ethnic Albanian insurgents and wishes to see the territorial integrity of Macedonia upheld. To this end, Tirana has requested NATO’s assistance to secure the Albania-Macedonia border, and has called for a solution to the crisis through dialogue.

The Socialist-led government in Tirana has a difficult task to convince the international community that it is striving to contain and minimise ethnic Albanian irredentism without being seen by Albanians themselves as jeopardising broader national interests. At the end of 2000, Premier Ilir Meta made an historic visit to Kosovo in a bid to promote Albania’s growing socio-economic interests in the province and to strengthen ties between Tirana and the Kosovo Albanian leadership. In January 2001, diplomatic ties were restored between Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This move was criticised by many Kosovo Albanians as premature; it reinforced their perception that the Albanian government’s commitment to the so-called “national question” is feeble.

This report pays particular attention to Albania’s relations with Greece and the sensitive position of the ethnic Greek minority—the only minority of any significance in Albania. Attempts by Greece to draw the Greek minority into playing a bridge-building role between the two countries are proving very problematic. Some Albanians are concerned that Greece is using the minority to increase the Hellenisation of southern Albania while some elements within the minority accuse Tirana of ignoring minority demands, trying to steal minority lands, and attempting to force them to become Albanians.

Domestic politics are dominated by preparations for the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for 24 June 2001. The ruling Socialist Party faces damaging splits in its four-year old coalition, and the main opposition Democratic Party is trying to reinvent itself in order to survive. While the domestic security situation has visibly improved, organised crime—primarily internationally-based—has worsened considerably over the past year. It has become increasingly sophisticated and more difficult to identify, and Albania requires greater international assistance to combat it.

Tirana/Brussels, 25 May 2001

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