By Peter Tase
On March 4-5, 2019, upon the invitation of the President of the Republic of Albania, Ilir Meta, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, conducted an official visit to Albania; to strengthen the bilateral economic dialogue.
Slovenia, as a member of the European Union is the most prosperous economy in South – East Europe and is a great example of thriving market economy were food processing industry and enterprises are dominating new international markets and securing over 650 million Euros in net sales revenue per year. The example of effective public policies and diplomatic engagements headed by Slovenian Government is vital to other countries in the Balkans including Albania. President Pahor’s visit to Tirana is a clear demonstration of support towards securing a more prosperous partnership and strategic dialogue between both nations especially in the realms of economic cooperation, regional commerce, tourism industry and sustainable development.
Albania as a nation with a fragile economy, struck by the infructuous historical consequences – with over 40 years of inherited brutal totalitarian regime in Europe (1945-1991) – has a unique opportunity to learn from the previous experiences of the Government of Slovenia as it moved quickly to join the EU in May 2004. Slovenia is a successful democracy that radiates progress, economic growth, and a highly sophisticated tourism industry; within this partnership, Tirana would propel its EU integration aspirations by working closely with Ljubljana in the sense of adapting ‘Slovenia like’ measures towards strengthening transparency and eliminating bureaucracy and red tape that hinder industrial development.
There is a plethora of positive bilateral engagements, especially in the fields of tourism infrastructure and regional transportation projects that would benefit the entire region and accelerate the full integration of South Eastern Adriatic into the prosperous EU family.
Furthermore, the experience of Internationalization of Slovenian food industry is a success story and effective strategy that could guide Albanian farmers on how to promote their products and internationally shape attractive brands that could increase global presence.
The high-level visits held among authorities of both governments, in these unprecedented times, are of vital importance; especially for Albania, faced with many obstacles including the socio-economic consequences because of the November 26th (2019) Earthquake and public health pandemic; indeed, a heartbreaking natural disaster event that continues to affect the country’s economic performance.
Tourism, green economy, and Non-GMO – organic food industry, are some of the areas where Albania can significantly grow under the guidance of Slovenia’s experts that have made Ljubljana become a major hub of private investments with a transparent executive government.
Albania’s political situation is poised to change; a closer economic partnership with Slovenia is paramount; geographic proximity should further unite the two nations.