Macedonia and Albania are small countries and have need of mutual energy connection that is of interest to both sides, ministers Bekim Neziri and Damian Gjiknuri said in Struga. They signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the fields of of energy efficiency, small hydropower plants, wind power, oil and oil products, Macedonian Ministry of Economy said on its website. Gjiknuri, minister of energy and industry of Albania, visited the neighbouring country and met his counterpart in the border town one day after the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signed an agreement for a loan of up to EUR 37 million for the construction of the first electricity interconnector between the two countries.
By signing the memorandum, according to Neziri, good relations between Macedonia and Albania are confirmed and the benefits are yet to be felt. “Cooperation in the energy market we have with Bulgaria and Serbia, and with the interconnection with Albania, a project that should be completed by 2018, we make the Republic of Macedonia a link in the regional energy market,” Neziri stated.
Gjiknuri said the two countries made remarkable progress in the project for the construction of the interconnection Bitola–Elbasan and added he expects that in 2017 there will be concrete steps. “Funds are provided for the realization of the project in both countries. Interest is huge in both countries as it will provide connection to the energy system of Macedonia, and thus in Bulgaria and Serbia. Apart from our countries, the entire region will benefit. The project provides connectivity to Albania, but not only Albania, I would say of Bulgaria and the region with Italy by sea,” Gjiknuri emphasized.