France and Albania

Political relations

Our bilateral relations are excellent and based on the memories of the role of France when it established a military protectorate in the Korça region in 1916, and on its contribution to the training of the Albanian elite in the interwar period, with the creation of the French high school in Korça.

Political relations are now mainly fuelled by Albania’s determination to eventually join the European Union, and by our policy to support this process of long-term democratization and stabilization. There is a continued, confident high-level political dialogue between the two countries. Albanian elites are often Francophile and Francophone.

Meetings and Visits

  • The Prime Minister of Albania, Mr Edi Rama, met with Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Paris on 3 December 2015.
  • Mr Edmond Panariti, Albanian Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Water Management, visited Paris on 25-28 February 2016 on the occasion of the International Agricultural Show.
  • The Albanian Minister of Innovation and Public Administration, Ms Milena Harito, met on 14 March 2016, with the Minister for the Civil Service, Ms Annick Girardin and the Minister of State for State Reform and Simplification, Mr Jean-Vincent Placé.
  • On 30 to 31 March 2016, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir, visited Albania in part for a meeting with the six foreign ministers of the Western Balkans and Commissioner Hahn, as well as for bilateral meetings, notably with the Prime Minister, Mr Edi Rama.
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, met with his counterpart Mr Ditmir Bushati on 24 May 2016 in Paris during a ministerial meeting dedicated to the Balkans.
  • Mr Edi Rama, Albanian Prime Minister, had a meeting with the French President on 30 May 2016 in Paris. On the same day, the Albanian Minister of Culture, Ms Mirela Kumbaro met her counterpart Ms Audrey Azoulay. During this meeting, the two Ministers signed a statement of intent on cultural cooperation.
  • Albania, whose delegation was led by Prime Minister Edi Rama, participated in the Paris Summit on the Western Balkans on 4 July 2016.
  • On 23 September 2016, the Albanian Minister of Culture, Ms Mirela Kumbaro, officially opened the “Albanie 1207km Est” exhibition at Marseille’s Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations.
  • The Albanian Economy Minister, Ms Milva Ekonomi, participated in an information workshop on Albania at MEDEF International in Paris on 20 October 2016.
  • The Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir, visited Albania on 7 and 8 December 2016 for the launch of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO). Mr Désir met with the Prime Minister, Mr Edi Rama and the Minister for European Integration, Ms Klajda Gjosha. He visited the site of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) being constructed by the French company Spiecapag.
  • The Minister of the Interior, Mr Bruno Le Roux, visited Tirana on 28 February where he met with his Albanian counterpart, Mr Saimir Tahiri.
  • The Prime Minister, Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, welcomed the Albanian Prime Minister, Mr Edi Rama on 28 March 2017. Following this meeting, a strategic cooperation partnership, an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of Defence and a letter of intent on strengthening bilateral cooperation on internal security were signed. In parallel with this meeting, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir, met the Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ditmir Bushati on the same day.
  • On 12 July 2017, the Albanian Prime Minister, Mr Edi Rama, met with the President of the French Republic, Mr Emmanuel Macron, alongside the Western Balkans summit held in Trieste.
  • On 17 July, the Albanian Minister for Innovation and Public Administration, Ms Milena Harito, was received in Paris by the Minister for European Affairs, Ms Nathalie Loiseau.
  • On 20 July, the Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ditmir Bushati, and the Albanian Deputy Minister of the Interior, Ms Rovena Voda, were received by the French Minister of the Interior, Mr Gérard Collomb. Mr Ditmir Bushati was then received on the same day by the Minister for European Affairs, Ms Nathalie Loiseau.

For more information, visit the website of the French embassy: https://al.ambafrance.org/-Visites-bilaterales-

Economic relations

Despite a fourfold increase in trade over the last 11 years, Albania and France remain small trading partners. Bilateral trade increased from €27m in 2005 to €124m in 2016. France has had a commercial deficit with Albania since 2012. The commercial deficit stood at €35m in 2016. French exports to Albania totalled €44.5m in 2016, up 12% on 2015. French imports to Albania stood at €79.6m in 2016 (up 33% on 2015). Nearly 440 French businesses export to Albania, of which some 60 are large companies. Textile products represent most of France’s imports from Albania.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our bilateral relations were institutionalized in the 1994 Treaty of understanding, friendship and cooperation and by the Strategic Cooperation Partnership signed on 28 March 2017. The French cooperation system in Albania is centred on the French embassy’s Cooperation and Cultural Action Service (SCAC), and on a network of four Alliance Française Teaching Centres in Tirana, Korçë, Elbasan and Shkodër. Bilateral cooperation has the following priorities: consolidating the position of the French language and accompanying Albania towards a rapprochement with Europe through institutional cooperation focused on strengthening the rule of law and the training of elites.

Albania stands out as the anchor for Francophonie in the region: French is the second foreign language taught in the school system, 23% of students in pre-university education learn our language, i.e. around 87,500 students, and there are some 540 teachers.

In the cultural sector, the French embassy in Tirana stages a dozen shows a year with its Albanian counterparts (Opera, National Theatre, University of Arts, festivals, Albanian Ministry of Culture, radio, television).

For more information, visit the website of the French embassy:

Other cooperation

In 2012, the French embassy supported the creation of the French International School of Tirana (EFIT). It was approved by the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) in June 2013.

Updated: 01.08.17

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