Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania is a country in Southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo (disputed
status) to the northeast, FYR Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and to the southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west, and on the
Ionian Sea southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 mi)
from Italy.













Albania is a member of the
UN, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, World Trade Organisation, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and one of
the founding members of the Union for the Mediterranean.
Albania has been a potential
In Vlore, Albania declared independence 28 November 1912 (to be recognised in 1913) and successively was a Principality, Republic, and Kingdom until being invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, which in turn became a Nazi protectorate in 1943.  
candidate for accession to the European Union since January 2003, and it formally applied for EU membership on 28 April 2009.

The modern-day territory of Albania was at various points in history part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia, Macedonia, and Moesia Superior, an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia (Moesia Superior), Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak (Lower Moesia).

In 1944, a socialist People's Republic was established under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour. In 1991, the Socialist republic was dissolved and the Republic
of Albania was established. Albania is a parliamentary democracy with a transition economy.
To celebrate 100 years of indepence, there was a symposium on Albanian language and culture. Here was screened, in addition to lectures, the film "The forgiveness of blood". The modern Republic became independent after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe following the Balkan Wars. Albanians had for almost five centuries been at the heart of a sprawling empire in which they enjoyed a privileged position as administrators and generals.
Albania justice reform 2018 | Grigor Părličev’s “Albanian connection" | Albanian polyphonic singing | Kadare - chronicler and critic
  Albania justice reform 2018
The Embassy of Albania to the Netherlands and the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC) organised the roundtable “Rule of Law Reform in Albania and the Dutch/EU contribution” in The Hague on 23 May. During the roundtable, rule of law related reforms in Albania were discussed with regards to their alignment with chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis.

After the re-election victory in June 2017, the Albanian government led by the Socialist Party and Prime Minister Edi Rama launched a series of reforms designed to pave the country’s road towards EU membership. Albania has made important progress towards the implementation of a comprehensive justice reform package aimed at increased professionalism, efficiency and independence of the judicial and prosecutorial systems.

Progress on Albania’s justice reform was undertaken with the help of EU experts, including those deployed on behalf of the Netherlands by CILC. The Netherlands holds a prominent position in international legal cooperation and distinguishes itself through international cooperation with a keen eye for local realities. This is underpinned by the high ranking the Netherlands receives in various international rule of law related indexes, its internationally respected legal scholars and the many international legal institutions based in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice.

The results of these joint efforts have been recognised by both European Union institutions and EU Member States. The Albanian “model” is currently perceived as a good-practice template for the implementation of justice reforms across the Western Balkans and EU neighbourhood countries. With its reform programme up and running, Albania has moved even beyond reforms undertaken by some EU member states. “The Albanian reforms are by no means cosmetic and can be considered a courageous effort, unique in its field” stated Robert Bosch, former head of the OSCE mission in Albania and moderator of the CILC roundtable.

Council of Europe's Venice Commission also is involved in Albanian cases regarding:


2 LECTURES and polyphonic singing  
Professor Raymond Detrez lectured on Grigor Părličev’s “Albanian connection": In 1860, Grigor Părličev, a Bulgarian from Ohrid in Macedonia, won the prestigious yearly poetry contest in Athens with a long romantic poem in archaic Greek ― O Armatolos. (An “armatole” is a kind of Ottoman policeman, recruited among the Christian population.) The poem describes the exploits of an Albanian “armatole” and a gang of Albanian robbers who killed him. All protagonists are represented in a remarkably flattering way and with a number of details, showing the author’s familiarity with Albanian customs and traditions. Two years later, in 1862, Părličev again participated in the contest ― this time unsuccessfully ― with a long Homeric epic poem, Skenderbeïs, dealing with the Albanian national hero Skander beg and his resistance to the Ottomans.

One may wonder why a Slav from Macedonia would write Greek poems, glorifying Albanians. One explanation might be that Părličev during his stay in Athens in the 1850s and the early 1860s had become a Greek nationalist and shared the Greek national ambitions. At the time of his first participation in the poetry contest, Albanian intellectuals like Thimi Mitko, Anastas Byku and others launched the idea that Albanians and Greeks had common ancestors and actually constituted one single people. Many Greek nationalists were eager to adopt these opinions as they supported their territorial claims on Epirus and south Albania. Părličev too considered Albanians to be “nothing else but Greeks”. However, as a closer reading of both poems indicates that Părličev actually was more interested in the religious aspect of the conflicts he described than in the ethnic affiliation of the protagonists. He still greatly possessed the pre-national or pre-nationalist religion based “Balkan mentality” Kitromilides refers to.

Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Delegation of the European Union to Albania

Another lecture was presented by Dr. Roel Schuyt and is about Kadare - chronicler and critic: Ismail Kadare was born on 28 January 1936 in Gjirokastër, not far from the Greek border. He became acquainted with literature through the book collections of his grandfather (containing works in the Osman language) and his uncle Xhafer (with Western classics, like Shakespeare and Cervantes).
From 1953 until 1958 he studied at the University of Tira-na, Faculty of History and Literature. After his studies, he left for Moscow, to be educated at the Gorki Institute. Kadare was fascinated by the works of Gogol, Fadeyev, and Mayakovsky. The Gorki Institute offered unique possibilities for reading books and watching films that were forbidden for the average Soviet citizen. In the early sixties, the relationship between Albania and the Eastern Bloc deteriorated, and Kadare had to leave Moscow. As a reaction to this period, Kadare wrote Muzgu i perëndive të stepës – The dusk of the steppe gods, which appeared in 1978.

Other works of that period were The general of the dead army (1963), and The Monster (first published 1965, in the pe-riodical Nëntori – September). A voluminous work is The win-ter of the great solitude, in its second version named The great winter. This book, too, deals with the break-up between Albania and the Soviet Union, and it portrays the Great Leader. In 1985, Enver Hoxha died. Like Kadare, he was born in Gjirokastër, in 1908. Kadare and Hoxha met only once, in 1971. Under Hoxha’s successor Ramiz Alia, repression tended to increase again, and in 1990 Kadare and his family moved to Paris. He now lives in both Tirana and Paris.

During Hoxha’s regime, Kadare published a large number of other works, making use of historical themes and old stories and traditions, in order to comment on the situation in his own country. This indirect approach was often viewed as an attempt not to take parts in political matters. Kadare however, had no intention to act as a hero too ostensibly: many critics of the regime ended up before the firing squad. From the early nineties on, Kadare’s work addressed the situation in Communist Albania more directly.

Kadare received many prizes, like the 2005 Man Booker Prize. During the last two decades, he had frequently been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. Most works by Kadare were published by Arthème Fayard in Paris, in both Albanian and translated into French. Kadare’s first translator was his compatriot Jusuf Vrioni; after his death, the translations were done by Tedi Papavrami. The English versions, made by David Bellos, are all based on the French texts. According to Kadare, this does, in fact, not matter, as the content of his texts should be capable of being rendered in any language. His original Albanian text are sometimes marked as ‘text for translators’.
Kadare’s style of writing is, in fact, modest and plain. This by no means implies that his syntax is always simple. He is ale to gather an enormous amount of information into long, complicated sentences. In Kadare’s works, we find some constantly recurring elements, which are all connected with his desire to comment on things that lie beyond his texts proper:

Historical motives are sometimes mixed with anachronisms, and a number of stories are situated in several historical periods simultaneously. A short story that demonstrates Kadare’s play with space and time, is Deceitful dreams, where the balance of power in the Greek pantheon seems to be inspired by the Party hierarchy in his country. Zeus is named ‘Shefi’ – the Boss; lights are burning throughout the night on Mount Olympus, and horse-carts are waiting for the Gods in much the same way as the black limousines are standing in front of the Party building, waiting for the high-ranked officials and functionaries.

Albanian polyphonic singing can be divided into two major stylistic groups as performed by the Tosks and Labs of southern Albania. The phenomenon of Albanian folk iso-polyphony (Albanian iso-polyphony) has been proclaimed by UNESCO a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity".

The term iso refers to the drone, which accompanies the iso-polyphonic singing and is related to the ison of Byzantine church music, where the drone group accompanies the song

Albanian polyfonische folk group Neço Muko wearing qeleshe (a white brimless felt cap) and fustanella (a traditional pleated skirt-like garment that is also referred to as a kilt worn by men of many nations in the Balkans) in Skrapar (a municipality in Berat County, southern Albania.
Typical of many of Kadare’s works is the element of Crime & Investigation and Suspense. This is frequently combined with fictional scientific research, in the course of which many theories on a given event are put forward, only to be directly rejected and replaced with others. In order to amuse his readers, and to keep them alert, Kadare resorts to the use of buffoons and clownish characters, like zealous spies, frightened ministers and ambitious police chiefs. Another means of amusements is presented by many secondary details, motives and parallel stories about love or on relation-ships based on friendship, irritation, trust, or fear of death.
Kadare sometimes assumes the role of a teacher, in order to inform his public on specific events, situations and customs, such as the double faith of many Albanians in het Ottoman Empire, the existence of several religions within one family, the role of the epic song, or the relationships between Gjirokastër and the nearby villages. These instructive elements are organically embedded in his stories

Towns and villages are often named N., and personal names are frequently reduced to their initials. Istanbul and Tirana can be referred to as kryeqyteti – the Capital. The name of the Great Leader is rarely mentioned. Nonetheless, Kadare’s message is always crystal clear. His historical land- and cityscapes are often very a-typical of Albania. Weather conditions often are often dull or cold, and we often find combinations like një ditë funddhjetori – a day in December. If needed, however, he can change to a detailed de-scription of sunny weather, and of the most colourful sceneries.
A very prominent thematic element in Kadare’s works is that of ambition, fear, paranoia, zealousness en jealousness, frustration, grudge and the desire for revenge – in all possible combinations and in all conceivable periods of history.

All these characteristics serve Kadare’s ultimate goal: to comment directly or indirectly on situations and events, and to give his comments a universal value that is independent of time and place. In the course of my lecture, the presence of the abovementioned features in a number of Kadare’s works will be examined, and some text fragments will be read.