Albania Country Report
The ruling Socialist Party (PS) commands its own parliamentary majority, placing it in a good position to shape policy without horse-trading with other political parties, something which has previously thwarted reforms. In the long term, however, the deep polarisation that characterises Albanian politics endangers the longevity of any reform.
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 given Albania's need to attract foreign direct investment. 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 Islamic State and other Islamist military formations fighting in the Middle East. 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 will most likely be resolved through international arbitration, while any inter-ethnic conflict in FYR Macedonia is highly 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 high unemployment. There is a moderate risk of locals protesting against hydropower projects, in particular on sites where local stakeholders have not been sufficiently consulted. Government plans to introduce highway tolls are another source of discontent, increasing the risk of localised protests and roadblocks on key routes, especially on the highway connecting Tirana to Kosovo.
Vaccines Required to Enter the Country
Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Albania. However, the government of Albania requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.
Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
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.
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz