Foreign Policy Priorities

Our foreign policy program aims to consolidate the country's Euro-Atlantic anchoring, accelerate and concretize the pace of the EU integration process, strengthen friendship and overall relations with our friendly neighbours , and enhance our role, contribution and credibility in the region in the context of expanding and deepening the regional cooperation.

The basic principles underlying our foreign policy are accepted norms of international law, mutual understanding and respect among nations, strengthening of peace and security in the world, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, good neighbourliness and connection,  regional cooperation, and international solidarity. Our foreign policy will be guided by the principles of predictability, sustainability and continuity. The main mission is protect the national interests, prevent conflicts and contribute to democratic stability in the region and beyond.

Our vision is based on the strategic partnership with the European Union, the United States of America, and with our neighbours, members of the EU and NATO, such as Italy, Greece and Turkey, whose influence and scope is irreplaceable in the Mediterranean region and the Balkans. It is based on the expansion of deeper and all-round cooperation with Germany, France and Austria, encouraging increased bilateral exchanges and strengthening ties with the Visegrad countries as well as with all other EU member states and Israel; and on a wider scale, the growth of exchanges with other important countries such as China, Japan, Russia, India and the Persian Gulf countries.

Integrating into the European Union, contributing as a NATO member country, strengthening relations with friendly and partner countries, having regional co-operation,  Albania having a proactive role in international organizations and multilateral forums, caring for countrymen abroad, including modernizing the consular service, and putting diplomacy in the service of the country's economic development determines the contours of our foreign policy for a better future for Albanians in the country and abroad.

Further development of the progress of accession in the European Union

Our main commitment is to take all the necessary steps in order to open accession negotiations in the European Union. The correct implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), 12 priorities identified by the EU and the absorption of EU financial aid, remain crucial in this regard.

Our diplomatic service will be more efficient in representing the European agenda of Albania in the capitals of countries that play a leading role in European decision-making.

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs combines the functions of the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the former Ministry of European Integration in order to accomplish the mission and cover the areas of responsibilities defined by the applicable legal acts. The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs will ensure the implementation of foreign policy and coordination of the country's EU integration process, supervision, programming and management of EU financial assistance through the IPA national programs, territorial cooperation and horizontal programs; as well as cordinating and certifying the approximation of EU and domestic legislation.

National security and contribution to global security

Our approach to national security will continue to embody the standards and principles of the North Atlantic Alliance. Albania will continue to orient its actions and positions in the field of foreign and security policy in accordance with NATO's main values and principles and the three pillars of its Strategic Concept which are collective defence, cooperative security and crisis management.

Contemporary security challenges have witnessed an increased and diversified trend in recent years, bringing, along with traditional and conventional dimensions, the expansion and intensification of new risks of a complex multi-level nature such as violent extremism, terrorism, cyber-attacks or hybrid warfare. Such challenges make it necessary to increase our efforts to consolidate security in the country, on the Alliance’s territory and beyond, in accordance with our national interests, obligations and engagements as an ally country, internationally accepted principles and norms, in close cooperation with our strategic allies and global key players.

At the same time, responding to these challenges requires a consolidated coordinating role of the MFA at the national level, as well as an increased contribution and an active interaction of Albania's foreign policy in the international arena, both in the bilateral and in the regional and multilateral plan, with a special emphasis on the security of the region and that of the allied territory.

In this context, Albania's approach to current challenges will be guided by the principles of active protection of national interests in the field of security and the support of the necessity for unity and trans-Atlantic ties, preservation and enhancement of the Alliance’s engagement in the Western Balkans, and our readiness to contribute to peace and security in the framework of operations and NATO missions and other international organizations.

The complexity of the challenges that come from conflicting countries, primarily the fight against terrorism, the return of foreign terrorist fighters and mass emigration from conflicting countries, also requires Albania's prominent engagement in this space and more coordinated interaction with our main partners and countries that share the same concerns, as well as with the European Union and the Western Balkans.

Also, with NATO membership in the Global Coalition against ISIL (May 2017), Albania will continue to promote an increased role of the Alliance in the fight against terrorism and strengthen its cooperation with other international organizations, and especially with the EU, where Albania intends to increase its interaction in the area of security and its operational contributions.

An important aspect of our political action will be the promotion and intensification of interaction with Western Balkan countries through regional platforms addressing the phenomenon of violent extremism and terrorism. The Western Balkans is an area threatened by a combination of risks and security challenges from the East and the South. These dangers and challenges of hybrid nature are composed of active acts of intelligence and propaganda emanating from the actors and third state factors, as well as the direct and indirect threats of the active actions of the subversive and propagandistic nature of the so-called Islamic State, terrorism, violent extremism and the risk of the return of terrorist fighters engaged in conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

In this context, Albania will continue to maintain an active commitment to a more strategic approach and to the increased attention of security organizations and allied countries to our region by encouraging comprehensive co-operation in the region and the elimination of grey security areas in the Balkans Western.

Essential Engagement in the Region

Strengthening regional cooperation will continue to lead the constructive approach and active leadership of Albania in the region. Our activity in this framework will continue to be directly related to the protection and promotion of our national interests, the preservation and strengthening of our role in fostering good neighbourly relations, the overall support of the Kosovo’s state consolidation, guaranteeing and protecting the rights and freedoms of Albanians living in other neighbouring countries, participating and promoting an ever closer interaction in regional mechanisms, including as a contribution to the common Euro-Atlantic perspective.

The protection of national interests and strengthening the role and our influence in the region will naturally intersect in the matrix of objectives and priorities that govern our commitment as a member of NATO and EU candidate country. In this context, we will maintain and emphasize the geo-strategic clarity that has characterized us in our engagement in the region, continuing to support any form of integration of the region into the European Union and NATO. We will also continue to show the unwavering will to build the best and closest possible relationship with all of our neighbours, as they are the cornerstone of our regional foreign policy and serve the good neighbourliness, regional co-operation and the common euro-Atlantic perspective.

Further institutionalization and strengthening the mechanism of regular intergovernmental meetings with neighbouring countries Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro, or in other tripartite, quadratic formats with all Western Balkan countries and the SEE region, such as Serbia, Croatia , Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania, etc. will guide the work undertaken to alleviate trade barriers, fostering connectivity, improving investment climate, and promoting joint youth mobility, human, cultural and tourist exchanges.

The fulfilment of these objectives will continue to materialize through the extension of the present contribution to the expansion and intensification of the multilateral regional cooperation with a view to putting into effect the decisions taken under the Berlin Process in support of development projects, energy and infrastructural interconnections, in function of regional economic cohesion. Strengthening capacities and expanding the activities of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office and the Western Balkans Fund will further strengthen the framework of regional cooperation and approximation.

Albanians in the region, especially in Macedonia, Montenegro, Presevo Valley will remain a major priority of our diplomatic action. Their prosperity and addressing the problems they face will remain at the center of our attention, not only as part of the dialogue with the authorities of the respective countries of each level but also on the line of continuous communication with the Albanian political representatives there, based on the contribution of the political factor of the Albanian population, as an emancipating and democratizing force for the places where they are, as well as a link to strengthen friendship and cooperation between us and our neighbours.

Multilateral international cooperation

European Albania, with a new role in multilateral cooperation, will continue to contribute to the strengthening of peace and security in the region and the world, through its continuous engagement in the fight against international terrorism, violent extremism, prevention and elimination of various conflicts, will foster cooperation and development between countries and nations through priority development policies, based on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, without leaving anyone behind.

The dimension of multilateral diplomacy will continue to be a powerful instrument of our foreign policy, serving the development of comprehensive reforms in the country, our country's membership processes in the EU, defending the rights of Albanians wherever they are, Kosovo's membership in international organizations, but also increased visibility of the country through dignified representations of international institutions and mechanisms in the service of our national interests. We will intensify co-operation and increase engagements within the United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe etc., contributing to development, focusing on respect for and protection of human rights.

We appreciate the cooperation with the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, etc., important international economic and financial institutions that assist the processes of further economic and social development of our country, macroeconomic consolidation and the strengthening of trade bridges of cooperation with other member countries of these international organizations.

Diplomacy in the service of the country's economic development

The country's economic development and diplomacy are closely linked. The opening of international markets for Albania and the introduction of "Made in Albania" products in regional, European and international markets is part of MEFA's engagement in serving the country's economic growth. In this regard, the MEFA supports activities aimed at attracting productive investments in Albania, promoting domestic products abroad, attracting tourist flows, and promoting excellent talents, which constitute the strategic objectives on which will be based future economic diplomacy activities. Furthermore, the MEFA has expanded its scope of responsibilities and established a framework of co-operation according to the respective responsibilities with agencies and state institutions that have been created and operate specifically in this regard.

Albanians in the world

One of the special missions of the MEFA is the support of Albanians living and evolving abroad, in particular for the preservation and learning of Albanian language and culture in Diaspora, the inclusion of Diaspora members in political and social flows in the country, protection of their civil rights and social status in the host countries, as well as the provision of quality consular services. There is a sufficient experience base on which it has further enhanced and will continue to increase dialogue and cooperation between the mother country and Diaspora, which in 2018 intends to be enriched with a new content.

Modern and professional consular service

Efforts will be made to increase transparency and improve services in public administration by expanding the use of E-Consulate and Online Consular Service (SHKO) and further digitalization of consular services.

Online Consular Service (SHKO) brings about radical changes in service delivery for Albanians in the world, increasing quality, facilitating procedures, cutting service time, and enhancing transparency and fighting corruption. SHKO provides automated procedures and digitalization of all consular services and substantially reform the Consular Service by creating 36 special services, according to European best practices, which simplifies procedures, standardizes all services and unifies service delivery on a single platform for all diplomatic and consular representations of the Republic of Albania. E-Consulate complements the SHKO platform and will also serve the foreign nationals who want to visit Albania, making it possible to  increase the visibility of the MEFA as an institution as well as to promote the country.

The MEPJ will set up an action plan during 2018, aiming to increase the delivery of services to the Diplomatic and Consular Representations (DCR), simplification of procedures and digitalization process of consular services as well as the reduction of requests for a variety of documents, including the issuance of Proof of Penalty in the DCR of the Republic of Albania abroad, verification of the Management Permits issued by the Albanian authorities of the DCR of the Republic of Albania abroad, registration of the address of the emigrants, the special portal for visa applications (