Deepening the good-neighbourly relations and realizing infrastructure projects to enhance the economic cooperation between the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania were the topics discussed at today’s meeting of Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, with the Albanian Ambassador to Macedonia, Fatos Reka. Ambassador Reka congratulated Minister Besimi on his appointment, wishing him success in his new duties.
– Bilateral cooperation with Albania is remarkable. At the moment, infrastructure projects are being implemented, which are to boost the economic activity and provide for job creation. These are the priorities we actively work on. At the same time, we see an opportunity for trade enhancement. World Bank “Western Balkans Trade and Transport Facilitation” Project will have a positive effect thereto, envisaging reconstruction of Kafasan border crossing as support to introducing “one-stop shop”, negotiations therefor being conducted at inter-governmental level, Besimi said.
Importance of implementation of infrastructure projects was also discussed during the meeting, in particular Struga – Kafasan road section, tender procedure for complete reconstruction and expansion of which is to be announced next month, and Construction of Railway Section Kicevo – Lin (border with Albania) Project, as part of Pan-European Corridor 8. With respect to energy sector, Macedonian Government undertakes activities for construction of Bitola – Elbasan 400 kV overhead transmission line interconnection. The Project envisages construction of a new 400/110 kV substation in Ohrid and an overhead transmission line from SS Bitola to the border with Albania, as well as construction of an overhead transmission line from the Macedonian border to Elbasan.
Albanian Ambassador Reka pointed out the importance of our country being included in the extension of Arbër Highway on the Macedonian territory, thus shortening the distance from Tirana to Debar for 100 kilometers, while the Durrës port will be more easily accessible.
They both talked about the benefits from the NATO membership, our country officially becoming its member state this year. Ambassador Reka also mentioned the benefits Albania has from its membership in NATO. Albania became NATO member state in 2009, when the whole world was preoccupied with the financial crisis. However, even in such conditions, foreign direct investments following the period after the NATO membership significantly increased. FDIs in Albania accounted for 5.5% as percentage of GDP five years prior to NATO membership, while five year after, they surged to 9.1%.
As regards the foreign trade with Albania, it picked up by 11% in 2018, remaining at almost the same level in 2019, while in the period from January to July 2020, it declined by 5%. Greater export than import was observed in the trade with Albania, whereby 2019 surplus amounted to EUR 4 million, while in the period January – July 2020, amid decline of the foreign trade, the surplus increased, amounting to EUR 5.7 million.