The collaboration between the Italian and Albanian police forces is the key theme discussed in the book “’Il ponte Italia-Albania tra l’Unione Europea e i Balcani”, by Giuseppe Fera and Nicola Simone. The book was presented on 27 March 2012 in Tirana, at the initiative of the Italian Cultural Institute and the Albanian police authorities, in collaboration with the Embassy and the Occhio Blu Association. Intesa San Paolo Bank Albania also supported the event.
The two authors of the book, now retired, were responsible, on the Italian side, for the remarkable degree of collaboration between the Italian and Albanian police forces launched in 1997 in the fields of security and combating organised crime. From Operation Alba in 1997, which was succeeded by the long Italian Interforce mission, to the creation, in 2001, of the Liaison Office. The debate retraces the assistance provided by Italy to combat illegal immigration, and illustrates the significant progress made by the Albanian institutions.
Guests at the presentation also reviewed the current state of collaboration, which focuses primarily on combating organised crime and, in particular, arms and drugs trafficking. The potential for future collaboration was also analysed, including in the framework of the pre-accession instruments (IPA). These are being applied by the European Union to provide assistance to Albania, among other things, in strengthening its local police forces, with a view to improving the country’s capacity for international – and most notably regional – collaboration.
Premier Berisha also paid tribute to the two Prefects and to Ambassador Bova. He invited them for a brief meeting at his office on 27 March 2012, during which he reiterated the Albanian Government’s renewed appreciation for all that Italy has done in the past, and the determination to maintain a priority status for police collaboration in the future also.