The Paradox of Banks Backing PPPs

The Paradox of Banks Backing PPPs

After the enthusiastic comments of the Rama government about the large number of investments that are expected in the context of the famous “One Billion Euro Plan,” the opposition has raised strong objections. Opposition leader Basha clearly spoke out against the project, calling it an attempt to launder dirty money, and invited the American DEA […]

New Indictments Expected in Habilaj–Tahiri Affair

New Indictments Expected in Habilaj–Tahiri Affair

According to confidential sources inside the Regional Anti-mafia Directorate of Catania, the investigation of drug trafficking between Sicily and Albania is moving forward at great speed and will soon see the new indictment of “a high-level Albanian.” From the 7 Albanians and Italians arrested last month, 3 have agreed to collaborate with the Italian investigators. […]

“Instead of Europeanizing Kosovo, We Have Balkanized EULEX”

“Instead of Europeanizing Kosovo, We Have Balkanized EULEX”

About half a year ago, I wrote an essay under the title “Albania Is the Future of Europe.” Much of the text dealt with the common misconception among representatives of international institutions and foreign governments that they can decisively influence Albania and move it toward more “democracy,” while using the current framework of EU politics and policies. Following an argument […]

Follow the Concessions…

Follow the Concessions…

“Follow the money,” said the informant of Bob Woodward of the Washington Post after he wasn’t able to unravel the Watergate scandal. But when he followed the money trail, this led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon. “Follow the money,” said General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa to his collaborators investigating the mafia. “Follow the concessions,” we can say […]

Government Budget Shows Utter Neglect of Education

Government Budget Shows Utter Neglect of Education

Education continues to be a low priority for the government, and badly funded in comparison with other developed and lesser developed countries. Government expenses on education planed for 2018 are about 38.4 billion lekë (~€286 million), or about 2.49% of the GDP. Based on data of the World Bank, this makes Albania one of the […]

Rama Forgets His Favorite 5-Star Hotel

Rama Forgets His Favorite 5-Star Hotel

Today Parliament debated the fiscal package for 2018, which includes the government plan to offer 4- and 5-star hotels 10 years of VAT exemption. Even though the IMF has expressed doubt that this will a viable policy to attract new foreign investments, and suggested it opened the possibility of unfair competition, the Prime Minister passionately defended […]

Vetting Has Started with the First Judges and Prosecutors

Vetting Has Started with the First Judges and Prosecutors

After months of delay, the reassessment of judges and prosecutors (“vetting”) appears to have started in all earnestness. The three vetting institutions, the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK), the Appeals College (KA), and the Public Commissioners, have been nominated, their building inaugurated, and their budgets and staff slashed by the government. The KPK has organized a lottery […]

Albanian Drug Network Folded by Italian and Dutch Police

Albanian Drug Network Folded by Italian and Dutch Police

Italian media outlet Notizie has reported that the Italians and Dutch police have dismantles an international drug trafficking network, furnished with drugs from Albania. The police seized about 1 ton of drugs and arrested 14 persons on the account of international drug trafficking. According to the police, Albania was the country of origin of the drugs, […]