Albania's EU Progress Will Boost Italian Investments
By Genc Mlloja
Albanian Daily News
Published May 17, 2018
"Albania is part of Europe not only geographically but also economically and politically. The positive recommendation for the opening of negotiations is an important political signal that shows how Albania is progressing successfully towards European integration," the President of Confindustria Albania, Sergio Fontana has said.
In an exclusive interview with Albanian Daily News Mr. Fontana had the strong confidence that the progress of Albania's EU accession process would step up the investments of Italian entrepreneurs in this Balkan country increasing also the security of Italian investments that have been present here for some time.
Speaking of the performance of Confindustria, Associazione degli Industriali Italiani in Albania, the President said the Association represents the largest number of companies and its purpose is to facilitate the development and progress of such enterprises in the Albanian territory. "The ambitions for the future are to create ever-easier conditions for doing business in compliance with the relevant laws together with the Albanian authorities.
Mr. Fontana noted that measures like free risk business atmosphere, a clear and fix tax regime, well application of law would create better conditions for the attraction of Italian businesses to Albania.
In the meantime, he unveiled that June will be an important month because it coincides with some important operations carried out by entrepreneurs and bankers of Piedmont, a leading region in the Italian North West, in Albania; at the beginning of June the Tirana branch of a very important company specialized in domestics and home technologies will be inaugurated, while in the second half of the same month Cavalier Amilcare Merlo, vice president of Confindustria Cuneo, and Banker Beppe Ghisolfi will be in Lezha, northern Albania, to inaugurate the Via a Michele and Pietro Ferrero.
In addition, Confindustria's head praised the Albanian communities in Italy who have been active and integrated with the Italian people.
"Companies and entrepreneurs bring wealth everywhere as they decide to do healthy business. I can say, for example, that both Italian and Albanian companies have been registered with our Confindustria and they have created a perfect network between them," said President Fontana in the interview which follows:
- It is a great pleasure to have you as a guest for this interview with the Albanian Daily News newspaper. Dr. Sergio Fontana, you since March became the new President of Confindustria Albania, the Association of Italian Industrialists. Confindustria Albania is part of the international network of Confindustria Italia, led by Dr. Vincenzo Boccia. Would you be kind enough to summarize the activities of Confindustria Albania and what are your ambitions for the future?
- First of all, I thank you and Albanian Daily News for this interview and the opportunity to speak about our work. Although present in Albania for just over a year and a half, the Confindustria has become the most important industrial association in the country.
Confindustria Albania represents the largest number of companies and its purpose is to facilitate the development and progress of such enterprises in the Albanian territory. The ambitions for the future are to create ever-easier conditions for doing business in compliance with the relevant laws together with the Albanian authorities.
- You started your job in Confindustria with a strong appeal - combating the informality and uncertainty of laws and tax authorities. From your position up to now, have you received encouraging signals from the Albanian government or from the relevant ministries for a friendlier atmosphere in this country?
- Immediately after taking office I had the maximum cooperation with the Prime Minister, Edi Rama, the Minister of Entrepreneurship, Sonila Qato, with Vice Premier Mesi and with other heads of the Albanian Government.
I should say that I have had here the opportunity not only to present the objectives and difficulties encountered by our companies, but also the possibility to present eventual solutions to these problems. A lot remains to be done but we are on the right track.
- Alongside the strong appeal launched against informality, what are the other strong points of its multi-annual program at the Confindustria summit?
- The multi-year program includes a lobbying activity aimed at the resolution of the problems that affect our companies. I should note that there is an increasing trend of companies eager to come and invest more in Albania.
To do this we need to lower the business risk for companies, an objective achievable if we have a clear and non-changing tax regime; if we have certain well applied laws.

- The system mission organized last April, coinciding with your presidential election, has been recognized as a unanimous success in terms of membership and participation. Are you noticing concrete developments from the point of view of the industries that have shown interest in exploring the Albanian and Balkan market?
- The mission organized by the Italian System was a success recognized by all the stakeholders. It was a clear sign that if the Italian State, the Embassy of Italy, Confindustria, the ICE Agency, the Chamber of Commerce work in synergy, the results are visible.
Not only have we had some expressions of interest from companies that deal with agriculture, tourism and ICT sectors but we have already had several new companies recently established in Albania and registered with Confindustria Albania.

- Compared to other countries, especially neighboring ones, do you think Italy has its "deserved" place as an investor in the Albanian market to cope with the exceptional political and social ties between the two countries?
- Italy and Albania are friendly countries and they are united by strong historical ties and commercial links. We have the possibility to improve the Italian-Albanian collaboration in the strategic sectors. In order to do this we have greater need for an exchange of information and planning between the Albanian authorities and Confindustria. This is our role.
Meanwhile, June will be an important month because it coincides with some important operations carried out by entrepreneurs and bankers of Piedmont, a leading region in the Italian North West, in Albania.
At the beginning of June the Tirana branch of a very important company specialized in domestics and home technologies will be inaugurated, while in the second half of the same month Cavalier Amilcare Merlo, vice president of Confindustria Cuneo, and Banker Beppe Ghisolfi will be in Lezha, northern Albania, to inaugurate the Via a Michele and Pietro Ferrero.
Relations with the Piedmontese Confindustria are excellent and the naming of the way to Michele and Pietro Ferrero, two enlightened entrepreneurs, for sure will further strengthen the Italian -Albanian ties.
- Mr. President, a large Albanian community lives and works in Italy since 1991. Some figures indicate that there are about 15,000 Albanian entrepreneurs in Italy. How do you consider their "success story" as a basis of more diversified ties between Albania and Italy in the future?
- In Italy, we have always had communities of Albanians who have been active and integrated with the Italian people. Companies and entrepreneurs bring wealth everywhere as they decide to do healthy business. I can say, for example, that both Italian and Albanian companies have been registered with our Confindustria and they have created a perfect network between them.
In fact, the Confindustria Albania represents not only the association of Italian companies operating in Albania, but the association of industrialists present in Albania in all respects.
- Mr. President, you have received your position at a historic moment for Albania which is expecting to receive the recommendation for the opening of EU accession talks next June. How do you evaluate this for Albania, and secondly, how do you think Italian companies, including foreign ones in Albania, consider this move? What could change in terms of economic opportunities and investment?
- Albania is part of Europe not only geographically but also economically and politically. The positive recommendation for the opening of negotiations is an important political signal that shows how Albania is progressing successfully towards European integration.
The progress of the negotiation process will intensify the investments of Italian entrepreneurs in Albania and increase the security of Italian investments that have been present in the country for some time.
- In conclusion, the National Day of the Italian Republic is approaching on 2 June. What message will you send to Italian business partners and in general to Italian community present in Albania?
- June 2 is the celebration of the Italian Republic, a democratic republic system based on work. I wish for Italy and my countrymen that there will be more opportunities for work, business and sustainable growth in Albania.





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