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Albania

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Albania
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The Flag and Emblem of Albania

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The location of Albania in Europe

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A typical Albanian - probably waiting for a handout from United Nations troops.

Popular Belief

Albania has a glorious history as a dumping ground for the worst sort of invader. It is true to state that Albania has contributed almost nothing to the benefit of humanity. The man in the street would have you believe that Albania is a foul cesspit of a country lurking to the East of Italy, and that it is entirely responsible for the gradual erosion of values and decency across Europe as hordes of people stream across to the United Kingdom in order to become valued members of society.

Main Exports: Prostitutes.

Main Imports: BMWs, sunglasses.

The Truth

Between 1990 and 1992 Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents.

Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges of reducing crime and corruption, promoting economic growth, and decreasing the size of government.

The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure.

Albania has played a largely helpful role in managing inter-ethnic tensions in South Eastern Europe, and is continuing to work toward joining NATO and the EU. Albania, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism. In other words, Albania does more to fight 'Global Terror' than virtually every other European country.

For a true slice of Albania, visit Manchester city centre on a Saturday and enjoy the accordian-playing peasantry on show.

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