During the Western Balkans 6 Summit in Trieste, the EU pledged grants at a total €194.1 million for the construction of crucial transport and energy infrastructure in the region, as part of the €1 billion Connectivity Agenda for the period 2015–2020. So far, about €501.3 million has been spent to 20 different regional infrastructure projects.
But looking at he distribution of the new round of grants, it is clear that Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has failed to secure any new investments, in spite of many lagging projects and serious issues with the Albanian infrastructure.
Of the €194.1 million invested by the EU, Serbia is the main beneficiary with €78 million for an interconnection line with Bulgaria and a rail connection from Niš to the Bulgarian border. Second comes Macedonia, which receives a grant of €70 million for a railroad. Bosnia and Herzegovina receives the remaining €46.1 million for a variety of infrastructure projects.
Since 2015, Albania has managed to receive only 10% of the €501.3 million in grants made available by the EU. In total, Albania has received €50.1 million so far, performing even worse than Kosovo, which managed to gather €56.1 million in EU infrastructure investments in the context of the Connectivity Agenda.
At the same time, Albania is lagging behind on the projects it did get financed in 2015 and 2016. The Albanian part of the interconnection line between Fier and Bitola/Manastir in Macedonia, approved in 2015, is still in the design stage, whereas for the Macedonian part the government has already launched tender procedures.
Funding for a part of the Albanian section of the Mediterranean Rail Corridor between Tirana and Durrës was approved in 2016, but also this project is still in the design phase.
The Connectivity Agenda 2017 report published for the Trieste Summit shows clearly that in comparison with other Western Balkan countries, Albania systematically is lagging behind in project implementation and less able to convince the EU to invest in its infrastructure.