Natural resources, energy and environment
Albania is rich in minerals and mining has
contributed to the economic upturn that Albania
experienced during the 2000s. The country's energy needs
are mainly met by its own hydropower and oil - both
domestic and imported.
Copper, chromium, nickel, zinc and iron have been
mined mainly in the mountainous areas of the north for
centuries. Prior to the fall of the communist regime in
1991, the mining sector accounted for a large proportion
of export earnings. Despite antiquated technology,
Albania was one of the world's largest chrome producers.
Copper extraction was also significant.
Major exports by Albania with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
During the economic collapse of the 1990s, production
fell sharply. The copper and nickel mines were closed
for a few years before recovery was resumed. All mining
is now done privately. Foreign companies have invested
mainly in the copper and chrome industries.
Albania receives almost all of its domestic energy
from hydropower, from which virtually all electricity is
also extracted. During the communist era (1945–1991),
hydropower was also sufficient for exports. However,
increased demand during the 1990s led to energy
shortages and recurrent electricity cuts. Many of the
older power plants are in great need of repair. A
serious problem is extensive theft of electricity.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, AL stands for Albania.
In 2012, Ashta, the largest new hydropower plant in
the country since the 1980s, was inaugurated. Albania is
estimated to exploit less than half of its hydropower
potential, and plans for a strong expansion of energy
production have been hampered by unclear tendering
procedures and suspicions of corruption.
Most of the total energy demand is covered by oil,
both imported and domestic. Since 1998, foreign oil
companies have been active in the country. Albania also
mines small amounts of natural gas and lignite.
Albania is facing severe environmental problems. Most
of the environmentally hazardous communist-era
industries have not been modernized, and the rapid
migration into the cities is diluting environmental
degradation. The financial appropriations for
improvement are small and the legislation in this area
A law on waste management has been a contentious
political issue for several years. Several governments
have tried to push through a proposal to allow the
import of waste to Albania but encountered vigorous
protests. The supporters justify it by favoring
Albania's recycling industry, while opponents say that
importing hazardous waste material threatens to make the
country the "dump" of Europe.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
807 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
2306 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
5,717 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
2.0 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
38.6 percent (2015)
Corruption charges against ex-minister
The government is prosecuting former Defense Minister
Arben Imami (2009-2013) for abuses of power,
misappropriation of state funds and violations of public
procurement rules. He is accused of illegally buying TV
advertising for the Ministry of Defense. If convicted,
he could face up to seven years in prison.
No to Syrian nuclear weapons
The government rejects a request by the United States
to handle and destroy the chemical weapons collected in
Syria. After popular protests against the plans, Prime
Minister Rama says that Albania does not have the
capacity to handle such large quantities of nuclear
weapons. It is believed to be around 1,300 tonnes.
Closer status as EU candidate country
The European Commission recommends that Albania be
given official status as a candidate for membership in
the Union. The Commission refers to the new laws passed
and a well-conducted parliamentary election, but
emphasizes that work on corruption and organized crime
The police are reorganized
The government is beginning a comprehensive
restructuring of the police force as a result of a
rapidly increasing number of reported crimes. The number
of senior commanders is reduced by one third, the
national police chief and all county police chiefs are
replaced and, among other things, the traffic police are
Tony Blair becomes the government's adviser
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair becomes an
adviser to the government. How much he gets paid is not
Too few female candidates give fines
The Central Election Commission fines all parties for
not having enough female candidates in an election in
the parliamentary elections. According to the electoral
law, at least 30 percent of the eligible candidates must
be women, a requirement that no party fulfilled. In
total, the electoral commission takes back nearly SEK
1.5 million from the state grants that the parties
received before the electoral movement.
Prohibition on import of waste
The government prohibits the import of waste. This
eliminates the need for a referendum that was announced
until December 22.
Socialist-led government formally takes office
Parliament approves the new Socialist-led government
and Edi Rama takes up as prime minister. Rama, a former
artist and art professor who also was Tirana's mayor,
promises to fight corruption and speed up integration
with the EU.
New bipartisan government is presented
The incoming Prime Minister Edi Rama presents a
government of 21 ministers, including himself and a
Deputy Prime Minister. The Socialist Party receives
responsibility for 14 ministries and the coalition
partner LSI for 5. Six of the ministers are women, which
is the most so far in an Albanian government. Among
other things, Albania gets its first female defense
New leader of the Democratic Party
PD elects Tirana Mayor Lulzim Basha as new party
leader after the outgoing Prime Minister Berisha. Basha
has previously been Minister of Transport, Foreign
Affairs and Home Affairs.
Clear election victory for the Socialist Alliance
The Socialist-led Alliance for a European Albania
receives 57.7 percent of the vote and 83 seats in
Parliament, while the DP-led Alliance for Work, Welfare
and Integration receives 39.4 percent and 57 seats.
Other parties receive a total of 2.3 percent of the
vote, but no mandate. The turnout is 53.5 percent
according to the Election Commission.
Berisha admits to being defeated
After three days of silence, Prime Minister Berisha
acknowledges that the government alliance has lost the
election. Berisha also announces that he is retiring as
PD leader. Thereby, there is concern that this choice
would also be followed by unrest.
The election gets approved
The European Commission congratulates Albania on a
well-executed election and hopes that the remaining
stages of the electoral process will be carried out in
accordance with international standards, that is,
without protests from the losing side. The OSCE also
approves the election as "free and fairly fair".
Opposition activist is killed
An activist for the Socialist Party is killed and a
candidate for PD injured in an exchange of gunfire
outside a polling place on Election Day. There are data
on voice purchases at several locations in the country.
Before the vote count even got underway, both camps
declared themselves victors.
Three important laws are enacted
The government and the opposition share a common
cause and adopt three laws that are necessary for the EU
to give a clear sign for membership negotiations. One of
the laws governs the work of the Supreme Court, one
applies to the position of public servants and the third
concerns the workings of Parliament. Thus, the proposal
for a referendum is out of date (see March 2013).
Iranian opponents arrive
The first 13 members of the Iranian resistance
movement MEK arrive in Albania after being forced to
leave their refuge in Iraq. A total of 210 members have
been offered residence permits in Albania (see
The opposition claims electoral fraud
The socialist opposition claims to have found major
shortcomings in the electoral votes ahead of the June
elections. According to the Socialist Party, over 25,000
names are suspected of being duplicated, while over
350,000 people are missing addresses.
Two alliances are formed
Two large party alliances are formed before the
parliamentary elections. The Alliance for Work, Welfare
and Integration, which rallies around PD, includes 25
parties, while 37 parties with socialist PS at the
forefront go to elections under the designation Alliance
for a European Albania. Newly formed New democratic
spirit stands beside the alliances.
Criminal investigation against the Socialist leader
The Prosecutor's Office is launching a preliminary
investigation into crimes against Socialist Party leader
Edi Rama, who is suspected of abusing power during his
time as mayor of Tirana until 2011. According to the
municipality, he must have illegally granted building
permission for a house in the capital to his wife's
relatives. Parliament also votes to investigate
allegations against Rama for physically attacking the
Albanian ambassador to the OSCE following a speech in
Vienna on April 24; The investigation will be conducted
by five members of the PD.
Continued power struggle in the Electoral Commission
Two members of the electoral commission, both
nominated by the Socialist Party, submit their missions
in protest of what they describe as the government's
unconstitutional behavior. The representative of the
Greek minority party decides to boycott the work of the
Commission, which now consists of only four people. The
OSCE appeals to the political parties to abort the power
struggle that is about to sabotage the elections.
A member of the Election Commission is appointed
Parliament appoints a member of the Central Election
Commission; He had been nominated for the assignment by
LSI while the party was cooperating with PD. When LSI
switched to the opposition, the balance of power within
the electoral commission changed. Now the government's
dominance is restored by selecting a PD-loyal person.
The EU and the US criticize what they regard as
political involvement in the work of the Election
LSI allies with the Socialist Party
The Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI)
interrupts government cooperation with the Democratic
Party (PD) and allies with the Socialist Party ahead of
the June parliamentary elections.
Residence permit for Iranian opponents
Prime Minister Berisha offers a residence permit for
210 members of the Iranian resistance movement
Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), who for security reasons have
to leave their refuge in Iraq. However, MEK believes
that all 3,200 members and relatives who are in Iraq
need protection and that the group must, for the time
being, be held together. The offer is interpreted as an
attempt by Berisha to appease the United States, which
has criticized the Albanian judiciary and nationalist
statements by the Albanian government.
EU criticism of proposals for referendums
EU Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle strongly
criticizes the Albanian government's proposal to hold a
referendum on three legislative changes needed for
Albania to start negotiating membership in the EU. Füle
says that issues like these require a consensus between
government and opposition and are not at all suitable
for a referendum. Parliament's treatment of the
legislative changes has been curbed by the increased
tensions before the parliamentary elections.
Guard managers are being released for deadly
Two former chiefs of the Guard Force Republican Guard
are set free of deaths by four protesters in January
2011. According to prosecutors in the Tirana court, they
both fired a gun into a crowd protesting alleged
cheating in the 2009 election. Ballistic checks, carried
out by the US Federal Police FBI, must have
substantiated the prosecution's evidence. The guards
were charged with three of the four fatalities.