Bilateral Relations

History of bilateral relations

The Federal Council has recognized the new Albanian state on March 1, 1922. In 1929 a commercial agreement was stipulated whereas in 1935 an Albanian consulate was opened in Bern. Diplomatic relations have been established on July 1, 1970. The Swiss diplomatic mission was opened in 1991 whereas the Swiss Embassy was opened in 1992. Since then relations and exchanges have steadily increased.

Bilateral relations

Switzerland–Albania Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Albania are very good. Switzerland is currently the fourth donor country in Albania and its 8th economic partner. This partnership between Albania and Switzerland is a long term one and has started since 1992. Albania considers Switzerland a very faithful partner. Albania is considered by Switzerland as a priority country in terms of development cooperation. Both countries share their keen interest in the development and stabilization of the Western Balkans region. Switzerland was one of the first countries to recognize Kosova. Switzerland is very supportive of Albania's proactive leadership in the region as well as very supportive of Albania's EU bid.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

Diplomatic relations focus on development cooperation, the strengthening of economic cooperation, and collaboration on migration and consular issues. Albania and Switzerland cooperate very closely on various matters of bilateral and international scope. Both countries conduct regular political consultations in both countries alternately, the last such consultations taking place in Albania in September 2015. Also, Albania and Switzerland closely cooperate in the framework of international organizations where they are parties of. Of particular importance is our countries cooperation in the framework of the United Nations (both at New York and Geneva) and OSCE. Exchange of high level official visits have been quite frequent helping in boosting the relations between our countries. Relations between Parliaments are also very intensive with frequent exchange of visits by most senior representatives of respective Parliaments.

Bilateral agreements

The legal framework that regulates the relations between Albania and Switzerland is exhaustive and varied. It consists of some 30 agreements covering fields of trade, economy, transport, customs, consular, law and order, energy, agriculture etc.

Economic cooperation

Since 1992 Albania benefits from customs privileges conceded to developing countries. The opening of the Swiss Embassy in Tirana in 1992 facilitated the signature of an agreement on mutual protection of investments (1992) as well as the signature (in 1994) of an agreement of avoidance of double taxation (reviewed in 2015). Since October 1993 The Swiss Federal Council classifies Albania as a ’Safe Country ‘. Trade between the two countries has, steadily increased over the last two decades; hence Switzerland remains Albania’s 8th economic partner. Some large Swiss companies are present in Albania, and an increasing number of SMEs are discovering the Albanian market. Currently approximately 30 Swiss companies are active in Albania whereas some 35 Albanian firms trade in Switzerland. In 2013, Switzerland ranked 7th in Albania’s list both of export and import partner-countries. Switzerland is the 8th largest foreign investor in Albania. A consortium from Zug is involved as shareholder in the construction of the natural gas pipeline, “Trans Adriatic Pipeline”, through Albania to bring natural gas from Azerbaijan to the southern gas corridor that passes through Greece and Italy. Other Swiss companies are participating in Albania’s energy trade. Also, an investment group from Zurich is financially and operationally involved in the field of tourism development through the construction of a Yacht marina and village marina in the area of Durres (Gjiri Gjeneralit).

Development cooperation

Swiss development cooperation activities are guided by the development priorities of the Albanian government and aim to support Albania in its reform agenda and its path towards European integration. Switzerland has supported Albania’s democratic transition since 1992 with over CHF 260 million. The Swiss Cooperation strategy for Albania 2014–2017, funded by the SDC and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), totals to some 88 million CHF and focuses on four areas:• democratization, decentralization and local governance • economic development • urban infrastructure and energy • health.

Cultural exchanges

Albania and Switzerland foster cultural exchanges and the creation of links between artists and other cultural actors respectively. The Albanian and Swiss embassies regularly support cultural events in music, theatre, literature and film. Several Albanian musicians have performed in concerts around Albania and vice versa. At the University of Bern, an Albanian Language permanent lectureship has been set up following an agreement between the Albanian Ministry of Education and the Institute of Linguistics at the University of Bern.

Albanian nationals in Switzerland and its Diaspora

In 2017, 1697 (December 2017) Albanian nationals were living in Switzerland, without Albanians with  dual nationality. It should be noted however, that Switzerland is home of one of the most substantial diaspora with over 200 thousand Albanians from Kosova and Macedonia living and working in this country. The Albanian diaspora in Switzerland is very active and well integrated into the Swiss society. It is mostly organized in associations and/or cultural entities. The second and third generation is also becoming more and more involved in the social and political life. During the October 2015 general elections there were 30 Albanian candidates from almost all the parties representing the Swiss political spectrum.

Postal Address

Embasy of Albania
Pourtalesstrasse 45 A,
CH-3074 Muri bei, Bern

Tel / Fax

Tel. +41319526010
Fax +4131 9526012

E-MAIL

embassy.bern@mfa.gov.al

OPENING TIMES

Monday to Friday
09:00 - 17:00