Tuesday, May 14FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA, PALESTINE WILL BE FREE

Albania

Appeals Court to Review PD Leadership Case As Berisha and US Ambassador Trade Accusations of Interference
Albania, USA

Appeals Court to Review PD Leadership Case As Berisha and US Ambassador Trade Accusations of Interference

The Tirana Appeals Court has accepted to review a court case that recognized Sali Berisha movement’s decisions to topple the Democratic Party leadership. Shortly before the appeal’s court released its verdict, Berisha accused US Ambassador Yuri Kim of interfering in the justice system to influence today’s decision. Judge Blerina Muca accepted an appeal by Enkelejd Alibeaj filed in his capacity as PD deputy chair, demanding the court to repeal a previous court decision or remand the case under a different panel of judges at the first instance court. On March 25, Judge Agron Zhukri had approved the new PD statuses passed by the PD National Assembly on December 11, which was called by the movement led by Sali Berisha. This also meant that their decision to dismiss all party leaders...
Albania Approves Visa-Free Travel for Tourists from Eight Countries
Albania

Albania Approves Visa-Free Travel for Tourists from Eight Countries

With the 2022 tourist season around the corner, the Albanian government has decided to lift temporarily tourist visa requirements for the citizens of eight countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, India, Qatar, Oman, Russia, and Thailand. The decision was announced by Minister of Tourism Mirela Kumbaro on Wednesday, following a meeting of the Council of Ministers. “As part of a set of measures to aid [Albania’s] tourism sector… the government has decided to reauthorize a decision or practice approved last year to liberalize tourist visas for eight countries that will be able to enter Albania for tourism purpose [without visas],” Kumbaro said. Russian and Egyptian citizens will benefit from this visa-free regime from April 20 to September 30, while the remaining tour...
Ageing Population and Migration Increase Albania’s Social Security Deficit
Albania

Ageing Population and Migration Increase Albania’s Social Security Deficit

The deficit in unpaid social security had reached EUR 144 million by the end of 2021, according to the General Directorate of Taxes, posing a significant risk to the pension pots of the future. Between 2018 and 2021, the deficit expanded by around 28.8%. If it continues to grow at this rate and is not reduced, current employees will struggle to draw a pension in the future. Had the deficit been put in the pension pot, it would cover pensions with inflation for five years. The deficit keeps increasing due to an aging population, mass emigration, informal economy workers, and failure to pay from businesses. According to official data, 94% of the debts owed for social security come from the private sector, with big businesses responsible for more than 63%. In the case of non-...
15 Albanian Businesses a Day Shut Down Due to Rising Prices
Albania

15 Albanian Businesses a Day Shut Down Due to Rising Prices

An average of 15 Albanian business a day have closed since June 2021, due to rising prices and economic difficulties. Data from the National Centre of Business reported that between June and December 2021, some 3,228 businesses closed. A further 924 closed from January until mid-March, translating to an average of 15 per day. According to the head of the association of small businesses, the situation started during the pandemic and aid offered by the government was not enough to keep many small businesses afloat. “Countries like Kosovo gave 1.9% of the GDP in aid to small businesses, while Serbia gave 4.6%, in addition to cutting local tariffs,” Albert Nasto told Euronews. He added that the war in Ukraine leading to further increased electricity and fuel prices which ...
17 Police Officers Arrested in Joint Border Operation between Kosovo and Albania
Albania

17 Police Officers Arrested in Joint Border Operation between Kosovo and Albania

The Special Prosecution against Corruption (SPAK) has arrested 17 police officers on charges of corruption following a joint operation between Kosovo and Albanian police at the Morine border crossing. Police in both countries had undertaken a year-long investigation into corruption and bribery at the border crossing between Albania and Kosovo, resulting in the arrest and detainment of some 34 border officials, including 32 police officers. Of the 32, 17 remain in prison, 14 are under house arrest and a further three have been suspended. “The investigation has documented 312 episodes of corrupt actions by police officers who aided various individuals in the import of smuggled goods; individuals who trafficked vehicles and other illegal items; or helped various people prohibite...
Albania among Highest Suicide Rates in Prisons
Albania

Albania among Highest Suicide Rates in Prisons

Albania has one of the highest rates of suicides in prisons according to a report on penal statistics commissioned by the European Council. Implemented by the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, the report measured a number of prison-related indicators for 2020 across Europe. As of January 2021, there were 4,595 inmates in Albanian prisons against a population of roughly 2,8 million people. During 2020, 19 inmates died by suicide, a rate of 10 suicides per 10,000 inmates. This is categorized as “very high” by the report, with the European average being 7.2 and the median 5.7. Albania also ranks very high in the “Prison population rate per 100,000 inhabitants” category, compared to the European average. The average sentence is 17.2 months and Albania spends ...
ECHR: States May Dissolve Parties That Do Not Dissociate from Former Communist Parties
Albania

ECHR: States May Dissolve Parties That Do Not Dissociate from Former Communist Parties

From: Exit Staff The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that states have the right to dissolve or refuse to register parties that do not distance themselves from former Communist Parties. In 2015, the Communist Party of Romania (RCP) sued the Romanian state for refusing to register the organization on the country’s list of political parties. In its request, the Party argued that Romania had violated the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association clauses of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. The judging panel of the ECHR dismissed the request, ruling in favor of Romanian authorities who had refused to register the RCP on the grounds that its platform is “contrary to the law on political parties.” The Romanian state a...
Protestors Gather in Tirana to Protest Open Balkan Initiative
Albania

Protestors Gather in Tirana to Protest Open Balkan Initiative

From: Alice Taylor Several hundred protestors gathered on Tirana’s main boulevard on Monday evening to protest against the Open Balkan initiative on the day the three leaders involved, met in Albania. The protest was organised by ex-prime minister and president and founder of the Democratic Party Sali Berisha. Prime Minister Edi Rama met with Serbian President Aleksander Vucic, and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev today to sign a number of agreements facilitating open trade and movement for citizens of their respective countries. While the protest was largely peaceful, a Serbian flag that was hoisted on the boulevard to welcome the foreign leaders was burned. Members of the PD that have rallied behind Berisha spoke at the event as well as some politicians from the same...
Albania Hosts Open Balkan Leaders amidst First Opposition Protest
Albania

Albania Hosts Open Balkan Leaders amidst First Opposition Protest

From: Exit News  Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is hosting the other two leaders of the Open Balkan initiative – Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev – in Tirana for a two-day summit. They are expected to sign agreements to facilitate the movement of workers, electronic identification at the border, cooperation on food security, and customs checks for companies dealing with security and defense. Delegations from each country will include a number of government ministers and presidents of chambers of commerce. On Tuesday, Oliver Varhelyi, the European Commissioner for Enlargement will join the summit from Brussels, while Emir Djikic, the Director of the CEFTA Secretariat, and Majlinda Bregu, the Secretary General of the Regional Coop...
Albanian Government Prohibits Pedophiles and Child Abusers from Becoming Teachers
Albania

Albanian Government Prohibits Pedophiles and Child Abusers from Becoming Teachers

The Albanian government has issued an instruction that will prohibit anyone with a criminal record from working as a teacher in the country. Minister of Education, Evis Kushi made the announcement today following outrage over a physics teacher in Berat was found to have previously been convicted for pedophilia and sexual harassment of a minor in 2003. Despite this, he was still able to apply and get a position as a teacher in a school. Kushi said, “Taking into account the recent case in Berat, today I immediately signed the change of instruction that prohibits the application and competition to work as teachers, for convicted people, who the court has decided on a criminal offense against minors or educational institutions.” Unfortunately, it seems that those convicted of oth...