Pope Greets Prime Minister of Albania

Discussion of Progress of Albania and Other Countries towards Full Integration into the European Union

Pope Prime Minister Albania
© Vatican Media

On the morning of Saturday, November 27, 2021, Pope Francis received the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, His Excellency Mr. Edi Rama, who subsequently met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial talks highlighted the good relations existing between the Holy See and Albania and discussed topics of common interest concerning relations between the ecclesial and civil communities, the contribution of the Church to the common good of Albanian society, migration, and peace.

The main regional issues were also discussed, including the situation in the Western Balkans and the progress of Albania and other countries towards full integration into the European Union.

Rama is a politician, painter, writer, former pedagogue, publicist, and former basketball player who has served as the 33rd and current Prime Minister of Albania since 2013 and chairman of the Socialist Party of Albania since 2005.

Prior to his tenure as Prime Minister, Rama held a number of positions. He was appointed Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1998, an office he held until 2000. First elected Mayor of Tirana in 2000, he was reelected in 2003 and 2007. The coalition of center-left parties led by Rama in the 2013 parliamentary election defeated the center-right coalition around the Democratic Party of Albania of incumbent Prime Minister Sali Berisha. Rama was appointed Prime Minister for a second term following the 2017 election. Rama won a third mandate following the 2021 parliamentary election in which he defeated the Democratic Party of Albania candidate, Lulzim Basha, for the second time in a row. He is the only Albanian Prime Minister in history to have won three parliamentary elections in a row. His party has won all five Albanian elections since 2013 (including two local elections).

He was one of the initiators of Open Balkan, an economic zone of the Western Balkans countries intended to guarantee “four freedoms”.