Albania Country Report
The Socialist Party (PS) won a parliamentary majority in the June 2017 general election. This has demoted the previous coalition partner, the centrist LSI of President Ilir Meta, from its previous kingmaker position. This places PS in a good position to shape policy without horse-trading with other political parties, something which has previously thwarted reforms. Still, it is likely to reach some form of co-operation agreement with LSI, which controls the presidency and therefore the appointments of key positions in certain state organisations.
A major constraint to doing business is the pervasive corruption in the public administration, which entails unseen costs in the form of bribery and unfair competition. The operational environment is less difficult for large foreign companies compared with small or medium-sized domestic companies. Albania's ambition to join the European Union will play a positive role because the pace of accession will be contingent on fighting corruption and organised crime. Important infrastructural projects are gradually improving transport connections and energy security in the country.
Albania has seen the rise of a small radicalised Islamist community in recent years that has contributed dozens of fighters to the Islamic State and other Islamist military formations fighting in Iraq and Syria. However, these groups have so far not conducted any attacks on Albanian soil and have not demonstrated serious intent to do so, lowering the risk of terrorist attacks in the foreseeable future.
War risks in Albania are very low and largely stem from a maritime border dispute with Greece on the Ionian Sea, and a potential interethnic conflict between the Slav majority in FYR Macedonia and its Albanian minority. However, Albania's membership in NATO greatly diminishes any risk of violent resolution of abovementioned disputes; the maritime border dispute with Greece is most likely to be resolved through international arbitration, while any interethnic conflict in FYR Macedonia is unlikely to escalate into war because of increased international presence in the region.
Social unrest in Albania is likely to be triggered by adverse socioeconomic conditions, especially if depressed external and domestic demand results in increased unemployment. There is a moderate risk of locals protesting against hydropower projects, in particular on sites where local stakeholders have not been sufficiently consulted.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Influenza: Flu shots are recommended for people generally at-risk for the illness (e.g. the elderly or someone who suffers from a chronic malady like diabetes, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, a respiratory condition, a heart condition, immune deficiency, etc.) travelling during periods of transmission.
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Natural hazards must also be taken into consideration when traveling to Albania; the entire country is vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding is relatively common, particularly in the northern regions.
Roads are in poor condition throughout the country, particularly in rural areas. Power outages are frequent and may affect street lighting in urban areas. If involved in an accident, even a minor one, wait for the police to arrive. Public transportation, such as buses and trains, are unreliable and safety standards are poor. It is advised use only yellow taxis or to hire a reputable driver.
Albania has a Mediterranean climate: winters are wet and mild and summers hot and dry. The center and the west of the country experience very high temperatures (40°C) in the summer due to hot winds coming off the sea. The east and the north (mountainous regions) are cooler in the summer and cold in the winter.
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