Tirana 2004. Photo: Bjoern Andersen. Click the photo to enlarge it
7th July 2005
Danish Support to Albania
Denmark has supported Albania in a minor scale since the fundamental change of system in the early 1990's: By relief aid, by supporting a variety of small projects and NGO's and latest – until 1st January 2004 – by supporting projects in the fields of education, media, police, human rights, ombudsman, education of shop stewards.
The bilateral support was transitional - and it was agreed upon by the Danish and Albanian governments that the Albanian counterparts should take full responsibility for the projects as soon as possible.
Since 2003/2004 the Danish support has been given as an integrated part of aid from the European Union and other multinational or international organizations.
A healthy linking of tradition and modern opportunities will be the challenge
Many Western countries cooperate with the Albanians: The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy and Greece. Unlike those countries Denmark is a little one and – as Sweden, Norway and Finland – able to cooperate with Albanian counterparts at eye level.
When Albania wants to be integrated in the European structures, as it is put, it could benefit from permanent relations at eye level to friendly countries with good experiences in establishing democracy, in developing and maintaining popular involvement and in developing a modern – competitive – economy and in counteracting corruption and organized crime.
If Albania is pushed only to take the 'easy' and perhaps most obvious way, it will – most likely – fall into the trap it so often has fallen into in the Hoxha-era (not to speak of the Ottoman era and the Italian era in the 1930's): The patron-client-trap. Should that be the outcome, Albania will, frankly spoken, be kept as a second-range and a dependent country. Political and material support from big countries can be a necessity and present a short cut, but will be very risky at the same time.
To develop a modern society – a modern economy and a modern democracy – it will be one of the most important challenges to find and to stabilize another road too, that is to find out how it is possible to benefit from cooperation with big countries and organizations as an independent and sustainable country itself.
Definitely, the Albanians will choose their own way and we will respect that in Denmark.
Denmark and Albania
It will not be easy to establish and maintain eye-level relations of importance, since Denmark and Albanian are only similar in one or two aspects, they are little countries near to international waters of strategic importance, and since there are cultural and geographic distances.
Therefore, the Danes and the Albanians have to be accustomed to each other and to the very different political, economic, social and cultural circumstances and traditions.
Miqësia / Danish-Albanian Association
Miqësia was founded in January 2003 to establish a forum in which Danes involved in projects in Albania could exchange views and information. Another purpose was to distribute general information about Albania to the Danish audience, cf.: http://miqesia.dk
Miqësia is an independent and non-governmental organization. It will keep good relations to Danish and Albanian authorities, but it will always act and express itself independently.
Since 2003 Miqësia has organized meetings about current topics (the political situation in Albania), mediation in personal conflicts, cooperation between the Danish and the Albanian Ombudsmen, Albanian history (Scanderbeg) and traditional song and music.
Furthermore, Miqësia has been involved in events organized by the Albanian Embassy in Denmark, eg. the Greetings from Albania in 2004 and An evening by the Lake Ohrid in 2005.
The Experience Project
In 2004 the board initiated an experience-project to collect and publish information about Danish-Albanian projects. The information published is in Danish – some in English. Most of the articles are about specific aspects and projects, one article is about the Albanian history since the Illyrians. The articles are to be found at: http://miqesia.dk/erfaring
In 2006 Miqësia will publish a book and a booklet about the Danish-Albanian relations since the 1990's. The experiences from the projects will be summarized and a discussion about future Danish-Albanian relations will be initiated.
The book will be published in English (and maybe in Danish and Albanian) – the booklet in Danish, Albanian and English. The book and the booklet will be published in two editions, as free internet publications and as printed publications as well.
The book and the booklet will be presented at meetings in Denmark - and hopefully in Albania too.
One of the most important outcomes of the Miqësia Experience Project will be the presentation of these problems to Danish, Albanian and international audiences and the initiation of a discussion about how Danes and Albanians can promote a positive political and economic development in Albania and in Denmark as well.
The publication of the experiences and of the discussions about how to develop will be of positive value to Danish companies when they are considering investments in Albania.
Miqësia / Danish Albanian Association
Chairman 2003-2004: High Court Judge Hans Henrik Brydensholt
Chairman since 2004: Tue Magnussen
Editor of the Experience Project: