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Albania: €1 or The story of big policies, small outcomes: how Albania constructs and engages its diaspora

posted on 2023-06-07, 17:06 authored by Julie Vullnetari
Since the fall of the communist regime in the early 1990s, Albania has experienced one of the most significant emigrations in the world as a share of its population. By 2010 almost half of its resident population was estimated to be living abroad primarily in neighbouring Greece and Italy, but also in the UK and North America. In some of these host countries 'new migrant communities' have formed alongside or even mixed with the historical diaspora, whose roots go back as long as five hundred years. How has then the Albanian state constructed, and engaged with, this diverse and global diaspora? This chapter argues that Albania represents a case of big promises but small outcomes, exemplified by policies to attract diaspora investments which are widely publicised with much pomp and ceremony, but which ultimately fail to deliver. While the older diaspora is treated with a folksy nostalgia and courted for its financial 'muscle', a deaf ear is consistently turned to the more practical needs of the more recent migrant communities. Even though treated with institutionalised contempt and having no extra-territorial voting rights, Albanians abroad continue to be closely linked with the (mis)fortunes of their 'motherland'. The future continues to be blighted by the rule of the cleptocratic elite that has taken the country hostage in these last decades. Diasporas can indeed become agents of development, but only when the political will and ability is there to engage them in a constructive and partnering way.


Publication status

  • Published


Palgrave Macmillan

Book title

Emigration nations: policies and ideologies of emigrant engagement

Place of publication




Department affiliated with

  • Geography Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes


Michael Collyer

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