STA, 4 March 2019 - President Borut Pahor will embark on a two-day official visit to Albania today. Hosted by his counterpart Ilir Meta, he will also meet Prime Minister Edi Rama and Speaker Gramoz Ruci, the president's office said in a press release.
The visit is seen as an opportunity to get more closely acquainted with Albania's domestic political situation and its headway in EU accession negotiations.
Pahor wants to strengthen the already good bilateral ties and cooperation between the countries and he intends to express Slovenia's support for Albania's EU accession efforts, the president's office said.
Albanian and Slovenian representatives will also exchange views on topical issues in the region and regional cooperation, also in the light of the Brdo-Brijuni summit, which Albania will host in May.
Pahor is moreover expected to underline the importance of continuous constructive cooperation among neighbours and countries in the region.
He will arrive in Tirana in the afternoon and hold a tete-a-tete with Meta, followed by bilateral meetings of the Slovenian and Albanian delegations.
The presidents will hold a joint press conference, after which Pahor will meet Rama, followed by a meeting with Luzim Basha, the head of the opposition Democratic Party. Tonight, Meta will host a dinner in Pahor's honour.
Predsednik Republike Slovenije Borut Pahor se na povabilo predsednika Republike Albanije Ilirja Mete mudi na uradnem obisku v Republiki Albaniji. pic.twitter.com/poYoITVMWh— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) March 4, 2019
On Tuesday, Pahor will lay a wreath at a burial site dedicated to national heroes and meet Mayor of Tirana Erion Velia. He will moreover visit the nearby town of Kruje, the home town of national hero Skenderbeg (1405-1468). Pahor will also meet the speaker on the second day of his visit.
Pahor's meetings in Tirana will also revolve around cooperation in multilateral organisations, which is deemed good.
While the countries have good political ties, there is still room for improvement in economic cooperation, which is relatively modest.
Albania ranked 58th among Slovenia's trade partners in 2017, with trade amounting to EUR 53.1m. Data for the first three quarters of 2018 place the trade figure at EUR 34.3m, 14.1% less than in the same period in 2017.
The countries are also linked in terms of development aid, as Slovenia provided more than EUR 2m in aid to Albania between 2010 and 2016.
Moreover, Slovenia supported several projects in Albania in 2017 and 2018 relating to the EU, women's empowerment and environmental protection.