European Integration

Disinformation: Albania’s Economy Shrank because of Signing the Association Agreement

5 July, 2017

On June 9, 2017, a Facebook page – Politicano – published a post concerning the economy of Albania. According to Politicano, the economy of Albania declined significantly since the signature of the Association Agreement.

Politicano: “Association Agreement between Albania and the EU came into force in 2009. Since then, the number of people below poverty line grew by 2% (it was 12.4% in 2009 and 14.3% in 2012). Since it came into force, Albania’s economy decreased, which is an unprecedented fact (2008 – USD 12.8 billion, 2015 – USD 11.4 billion).”

Politicano’s post is manipulative, because the fall in the economy of Albania in 2008-2009 was caused by the world economic crisis. The given crisis affected economies of a great number of countries besides Albania. Despite the crisis, the GDP of Albania has been on a stable increase, while the inflation rate has been on a low and stable level.

European integration represents a very important issue for Albania, especially following the end of its 50-year communist rule. Preparations for granting Albania the status of a member country started on November 16, 2009, which resulted in the decision of the Council of the EU of June 23, 2014, which expressed final readiness to give Albania a guarantee of the EU membership.

Real fact #1: In 2009, the economy of Albania was affected by the 2008 global economic crisis.

The 2007-2008 world economic crisis affected the not only Albania, but other economies as well. According to Wall Street’s assessment, the given crisis was the biggest one after the Great Depression and was caused first by the significant decrease in the real estate prices and then by the collapse of banking and finance sectors.

The problem for Albania was the monopolized banking environment which further deteriorated the domestic economic conditions against the background of the worldwide crisis.

Real fact #2: Despite the crisis, Albania’s GDP was growing steadfastly

Despite the crisis, the growth of the GDP of Albania was an irreversible process since 2000. According to the given graph, the GDP growth of Albania experienced two great upsurges: first, during the period of the Association Agreement, in 2009-2010, when it increased from around USD 26 billion to USD 28 billion and second, in 2013-2014 – from USD 30 billion to USD 32 billion.

Source: World Bank

According to the World Bank data, the Western Balkan countries, especially Albania, had high GDP growth rates as compared to 2015, which positively affected the region overall.

Source: World Bank

Real fact #3: The inflation rate is on a stable low level in Albania

During the last decade, there were two recorded cases of maximal inflation rate level and both took place before the Association Agreement with the EU came into force. The first case was in 2008, during the aforementioned world economic crisis, while the second one took place in 2010. Since then, the Government of Albania has been trying to stabilize the inflation rate, and since the beginning of 2013 (second half of 2012), the inflation rate has not exceeded 3%.

Real fact #4: After the 2008-2009 world economic crisis, the number of the employed people in Albania has been steadfastly increasing

Another positive influence of the Association Agreement has been the increase in the number of the employed people. After the 2008-2009 world economic crisis, when the number of the employed significantly decreased, it has had an upward trend since 2012. Even though there were the cases of small decrease at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the number of the employed has been steadfastly increasing since the second half of 2014.

Real fact #5: The number of the unemployed significantly decreased in 2015-2016

Fighting the unemployment has been one of the most important challenges for Albania after the world economic crisis. Trends have been favorable for the country in this regard during the last years. The number of the unemployed people that was, quite problematically, on a stable high level for several years, has been decreasing in the last years.

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Rapiel Kakabadze
Myth Detector Laboratory