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News 27 Nov 17

Albania, Kosovo Sign Diaspora Outreach Agreements

The prime ministers of Albania and Kosovo signed three agreements establishing a joint agenda and cultural and language centres for Albanians living abroad. 

Fatjona Mejdini
BIRN
Tirana
Albanian PM, Edi Rama (left) and his Kosovo counterpart Ramush Haradinaj in Korca. Photo: kryeministri-ks.net

The governments of Albania and Kosovo signed agreements on Monday establishing the co-financing of offices aimed at educating the Albanian diaspora from both countries by creating new cultural centres.

The fourth joint meeting of the two countries' governments was held in Korca, a city in southeastern Albania. The unification of the diaspora was its primary focus.

Those present signed 12 cooperation agreements in total. The three agreements concerning the diaspora were penned by the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Kosovo counterpart, Ramush Haradinaj.

Rama said at a press conference held shortly after the meeting that from this time on, the diaspora of two countries will be considered as one.

"The centres of culture promotion, the programs for learning Albanian and the activities with the representatives of the diaspora will be conducted jointly," he said.

"Although we are split between two countries, the Albanian diaspora is interchangeable for the two governments," he added.

One of the three agreements signed emphasised that the centres of culture and Albanian education would be co-financed by the two governments. Two agreements on diplomatic collaboration and the process of EU integration were also signed during the meeting.

Other agreements foresee collaboration in terms of foreign investments, energy, agriculture, pensions and social contributions for people in both countries.

In his speech, Rama said that joint efforts to improve cohesion in terms of trade were continuing. However, the unification of two countries' customs is still a challenge that requires further discussion.

The diaspora issue has been at the top of the Rama government's agenda. Rama appointed a new minister for the diaspora in his second cabinet, which took office in September. Former Prime Minister Pandeli Majko assumed the role.

However, it has been a point of interest for even longer. One year ago, Albania hosted more than 800 representatives of the diaspora from all around the world, gathered in the first-ever summit of its kind in Tirana. It was aimed at harnessing the energies of dynamic emigre communities.

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