Bilateral Relations

 

Political and diplomatic relations:

 

The diplomatic relations between Albania and Belgium were established in 1924. They continued during the period of King Zogu, to be interrupted during the World War II and then sporadically  after the 1945.

However, it was only after the years 90 that one may speak about genuine and sustainable development of these relations at all areas of  mutual benefit – political, economic, social, cultural, human, consular, military and others.

The bilateral  political relations with Belgium are characterized as excellent indeed. Belgium has continuously and unreservedly supported the democratic and reforming processes in our country, its integration ton the European and Euro-Atlantic structures, Kosovo’s Independence and in other respects. Belgium has also offered its support to Albania concerning the granting of the  EU candidate status.

In the recent years, these relations have entered a new and more advanced stage, since Albania is a member state of NATO and a potential EU candidate. Likewise, the presence during the last four years of this Embassy covering specifically the bilateral relations with Belgium has had its pozitive impact in the qualititative enhancement and itensification of these relations.

Albania and Belgium have strengthened further their cooperation also in the context of multilateral organizations and in various peace-making operations in many parts of the world - Iraque, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovine  and elsewhere.

Likewise, the mutual support for important candidacies has been another field of this mutual understanding and cooperation.

 

Clear testimonies of the briliant level of these relations are the numerous top level visits – Head of State/Government, Foreign Minister and from other heads of independent institutions and others.

Following the establishment of thne new government after the elections of 23 June 2014, the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of both countries met in the framework of the General Session of the United Nations in New York last september.

 

Likewise, Foreign Minister, Mr. Ditmir Bushati met with his Belgian counterpart, Mr. Didier Reynders during the NATO Ministerial Meeting on 4 December 2014.

 

After the general parliamentary elections on 25 May 2014, these contracts and visits will be further stepped up.

 

Cooperation between the two Foreign Ministries

 

Apart from the boost of contacts among several departments and other institutions, the cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of both countries, as well as their embassies ands consular services have kept on increasing.

There is a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two Foreign Ministries in  some important domains of the diplomatic and consular areas.

After the previous diplomatic consultations on director’s level, the next round of these consulations wil be held on the 1st of July 2014 in Tirana, this time on the level of Secretary General. Its variety of themes and their higher level is another important indication of the brilliant level and the prospects for the promotion of the Belgian-Albanian relations.

 

Several cooperation agreements:

 

Another telling indicator of these relations is also the number of bilateral agreements and other documents signed between the two countries and other agreements already in the process of their ratification. Among the most important among them are the following:

Agreements on the mutual protection and promotion of foreign investmtments,  on the avoidance of double taxation, on economic cooperation, on the Road Transportation, on judicial and police cooperation and others.

 

Albanian Community – A binding bridge and a success story 

 

The relations between our two countries continue to be strengthened also thanks to another important factor – as the albanian  community in Belgium. This is a dynamic community, afirming growingly the natural cultural, economic and emotional links with Albania; this community is living its double – fold identity as a richness, becoming in this way a binding human bridge of cooperation between our two countries. 

Thanks to the hospitality, generosity, support and numerous opportunities extended to them by the relevant authorities of the Belgian state and government, both in the federal and local level, our fellow citizens have succeeded not only to be successfully integrated to Belgium’s society, but many of them have also become a success story in the political, economic, academic, cultural, sport and other walks of life. Some of them are also competing in the general parliamentary elections on 25 May 2014.

In Belgium, there are some very active cultural and educational associations as  “ Konica” “Albabel” “Vatra”, “Migjeni”, “Rinia”, “The League of Writers”, The Student Association “ Vlera” and others.

 

 

Cooperation in the area of trade, economy and  investments:

 

In the last 2 – 3 years, there is a significant novice in the relations with Belgium. This is thanks to the fact that an importaqnt value has been added to the political dialogue: the keen interest for trade and economic exchanges and investments.

Following the previous forums in Tirana and in Brussels, a new series of business talks wil be held on 14 – 15 May 2014 in Tirana among the many interested Belgian and Albanian business company representatives.

The Belgian investors in Albania are welcomed everywhere, but particularly in the areas of tourism, environmental protection and promotion, in the mining sector, agro-business, aqua-culture and others.  

These achievements have become possible also thanks to the increased cooperation among the Chambers of Commerce, the business promotion agencies and chiefly thanks to the contribution and cooperation with AWEX; recently, there is a growing interest for cooperation also with also with the Flemish Trade and Investment Agency ( FIT)

   

Stepping up cooperation with local government bodies  

 

An important development in the recent years in the bilateral relations between our two countries is the process of  strengthening the active partnership with other local government bodies; under the conditions when following the major institutional reforms, the local government in Belgium has taken most of the  federal powers, this represents  a useful trend with clear prospects.

In this context, after almost two years of preparations from all sides involved, on 14 May 2014, an official ceremony will be held in the town of Elbasan in Albania for signing the Twining Charter with the city of Liege.

Meanwhile, the partnership and twinning of other towns is under process.

 

Interparliamentary Cooperation

 

The recent years are also marked by a pozitive dynamics with regard to the enhancement of bilateral parliamentary cooperation. Both parliaments have already established the Friendship Parliamentary Committees.

 

Last December, the Speaker of the Albanian Parliament, Mr.  Ilir Meta was in Brussels where he was received by his Belgian counterpart, Mr. Andre Flahaut; they agreed to step up the bilateral parliamentary dialogue. It is expected that after the general elections of 25 May 2014, parliamentary diplomacy between the two countries will have an even larger impact on the overall bilateral relations, including the ratification of the signed agreements by the Belgian parliaments.

 

Cooperation in the area of education, culture and arts

 

Cultural diplomacy is becoming growingly a vital component in the relations between our two countries. A major manifestation of Albania’s rich cultural, artistic and musical values were the several commemorative and festive events held in the context of the Centenary of Albania’s Independence in Brussels and in other Belgian cities, with the support provided also by the Belgian federal and local authorities.

 

The culminating point of those events was the Gala Concert on 6 December 2012 by the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet in the grande Hall “ Henry Le Boeuf” in Brussels with the participation of some of the most prominent albanian artists. The albanian community held also several events in the commemoration of historic events, outstanding  personalities, bok promotion and others.

 

Albania has been a regular participant in the 8 editions of the international cultural festival “Ballkan Trafik” in Brussels. This year, it was represented in this important festival  with the national Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances and the polyphonic group “ Ionianet&Saze” Besides the Center of Fine Arts, they did also perform in a grand concert in Grand Place and other surroundings in BOZAR  

 

Cooperation in the field of social protection

 

Social protection is one of the major aspects of the Embassy’s activity in cooperation with the relevant bodies of both countries.

A marked achievement in this respect was the signing of the bilateral Agreement on Social Protection between the governments of both countries in Brussels on 9 December 2013. This agreemrent has a wide-ranging scope and it is vital for thousands of albanians resident in Belgium or visiting it for studies, labour, business and even diplomatic service as well as for several Belgian citizens, who go to Albania on the same grounds.

This agreement is also a pattern and valuable experience for signing  similiar documents in other countries with  large  albanian communities.

Due to the relevant parliamentary procedures in the two countries, this Agreement will enter into force after its ratification by the competent  Belgian parliaments, since the Albanian Assembly has already terminated its own procedures.  

 

                                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postal Address

Embasy of Albania
Avenue Louise 179,
1000 Bruxelles

Tel / Fax

Tel. + 32 2 640 14 22
Fax + 32 2 640 28 58 Emergency Tel. 0032485401237

E-MAIL

embassy.brussels@mfa.gov.al

OPENING TIMES

Monday to Friday
09:00 - 17:00