TIRANA, April 2 – The German Ambassador to Tirana Susanne Schütz said on Monday that potential and existing German enterprises often complain of the country’s weak information policy and transparency, especially related to public tenders and shady property relations for possible investment objects.
In an interview for local media Monitor, Schütz said the Albanian government should take measures to minimize these concerns and halt this negative trend from further deterioration.
“Albania has a great development potential for many sectors, including tourism, the green energy sector, as well as agriculture and the service sector. In all sectors it is equally important to create the right basic conditions for potential investors – both Albanian and foreign. First to apply here are security, transparency and a well-functioning, effective and non-corrupt administration. It is important that potential German investors to be welcomed by the Albanian side and receive professional care,” Schütz said.
According to Schütz, shortcomings in paying public tenders also negatively affect Albania’s image as a possible investment destination and the common goal of politicians and international representatives alike should be to oppose the conceived perception by offering positive examples of how Albania welcomes foreign investors.
On the other hand, Schütz argued the country’s ongoing justice reform and its vetting process are successful and have contributed positively in improving Albania’s image in the eyes of foreign investors.
“The justice reform is a success story for which Albania can take pride. Especially the vetting process, which apparently is unique all over the world, strengthens trust in the rule of law and can substantially contribute to Albania’s attractiveness as an investment destination. It has also been praised by German entrepreneurs. From the German economy’s point of view, these reforms must necessarily continue,” Schütz said.
Further on, Schütz added that German media is currently reporting the internal political situation taking place in the country as a deadlock and displaying violent confrontations between the opposition’s protesters and the Albanian police on TV.
“Potential German investors see images of flying stones, molotov cocktails and tear gas. In order not to harm Albania as an investment destination, I think the opposition also has a responsibility to direct the political discourse peacefully and through the institutions provided for in the Constitution, namely, first of all, the parliament,” Schütz told Monitor.
Schütz mirrored the words of the Albanian Exporters Association, which at the beginning of May said the country’s deadlock will directly negatively affect the economy, foreign and local investments, exports and the general development of the country.
Although Germany remains one of Albania’s biggest donors, their trade exchange is not one of the highest. According to the National Statistics Institute, Germany is Albania’s fourth biggest export partner, as opposed to being the main partner for most of the region’s countries.
“The international flow of goods is influenced by various factors. An important criterion is certainly customs and other trade barriers, but also the geographic proximity factor plays a role. Thus, we see that countries closer to Albania, above all Italy, are important partners. In trade with other neighboring countries in the region, such as Kosovo or North Macedonia, we see a growing trade volume,” Schütz said.
Germany began cooperating with Albania in the field of development policies in 1998, right before the country officially opened its borders.