Albania Country Report Q1'17 - Q1, 2017

May 4, 2017

Albania is facing a challenging year as the main opposition Democratic Party is
threatening to boycott June 18 general election after it launched protests in
February and is also boycotting the work of the parliament. EU officials have
so far failed to persuade the DP party to register for the election.
The boycott of the parliament by the Democrats is also blocking the
implementation of judicial reforms, which are crucial for the country to obtain a
date to start the EU accession negotiations. On April 28, the Albanian
parliament elected its speaker Ilir Meta as the country’s new president but
without the presence of the opposition MPs.
Albania's economy grew by an annual 3.46% in 2016, based on quarterly
estimations. Albanian authorities expect to reach a GDP growth of 3.8% in
2017 and the growth to exceed 4% in the near future. The economic growth
will be driven by foreign investments mainly in the energy sector, as well as by
structural reforms within the EU integration process. Inflation in Albania
decelerated slightly to 2.1% y/y in March. Inflation is moving gradually towards
the target of 3%, which is expected to be reached in 2018.
The volume of Albania's public debt stock totaled around €8.1bn at end-March,
up by 2.4% from the end of 2016. However, the debt fell to 68.42% of the
country’s GDP in Q1, from 71.01% of GDP at end-2016. The ratio of public
debt (including guarantees) to GDP is expected to decrease gradually in the
next years.

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