The Government’s culture department has stabilised since 2013 as the Ministry of Culture, (no longer covering sport/tourism/youth) and has remained in the same location with just 2 ministers holding office, compared to the period from 2000-2010 in which the office relocated three times and changed ministers 9 times.
Albania was granted EU Candidate Status in 2014 and Albanian citizens opening travel to 98 countries without an advance Visa, including the Schengen Area since 2010. In 2021 Albanians can travel visa-free (or visa on arrival) to 115 countries. Albanians will be required to apply for the new European travel permit, ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), to visit Schengen countries once it is introduced by the end of 2022.
Albania regularly participates in international activities like Art Biennale and the Venice Architecture Biennale, book fairs in Leipzig, Turin and other important international activities and the 2017-2021 Governing Programme56 once again outlined the “European Albania” identity.
The period of 2019-2021 saw significant disruptions to cultural activity caused by a large earthquake in 2019 that saw damage to 14,000 buildings, including historic fortifications and other national monuments, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-2021.
The Governance Programme 2017-202157 prepared by the Socialist Party for “The Albania that we Love” (Shqipërinë që Duam), a European Albania, expresses the vision of “Albanian Renaissance” (Rilindje për Shqipërinë) and the building of “Albania of the New Generation” (Shqipëria e Gjeneratës Tjetër). This document outlines the improvements in well-being, public services, competitive entrepreneurship, justice reforms, etc. The priority for culture58 includes: improving quality standards for culture products, intensification of investments in the sector, independence of the cultural sector from the public institutions by increasing sources of funding and through public-private partnership, and the use of culture as an economic and tourism source. Among the major projects mentioned in the document, several have been completed or are close to completion like the restoration of the Theatre of Ballet and Opera, multi-functional art centre Turbina, requalification and re-conceptualisation of the National History Museum, reconstruction of the National Library, and rehabilitation of the National Arts Gallery. There have been no developments in relation to the new Museum of Contemporary Arts.
Education is also a focus to be achieved in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, rehabilitation of heritage and tourism development through itineraries like Via Egnatia Streets of Memories, restoration of historic centres in villages, etc. The 2017-2021 Governance Plan also refers to “the Construction of the New National Theatre”, which is currently underway.
Albania has joined several of the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes such as the Olive Tree Route, Aeneas Route and ATRIUM Route.
The Transparency Programme – Based on article 7 of law nr. 119/2014 – “On the right to information” states that the Public Authority should publish easily understandable and accessible information on websites, including the organizational structure, functions and duties of the public authority, conventions, laws and bylaws, codes of conduct, policy documents and so on. The Transparency Programme was approved by the Commissioner for the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data.
Capital investments include ArTurbina in Tirana, Migjeni Theater in Shkodra, Çajupi Theater in Korça, AirAlbania Stadium in Tirana and the new National Theatre
Applications of technology in the culture and heritage field include the establishment of the WebGIS platform for the management of archaeological activity in the field, of the Archaeological Service Agency (ASA)15 for the period 2008-2015; building a WebGIS application for mapping and inventory of objects designated as cultural monuments; digitalization of National Library funds; and digitization of the photo library for the Marubi Museum.