Albania Hails ‘Magic’ Donor Pledges for Earthquake Recovery

Photo: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Brussels on 17 February 2020. Photo: European Commission/Twitter

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the aid toll was "beyond our wildest imagination."

At a conference on Monday called by the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a 115 million-euro package of financial help to rebuilt public infrastructure while the EU's lending arm, the European Investment Bank, announced loans up to 100 million for both the private and public sector.

The United Arab Emirates pledged to help rebuild 2,000 homes for a total cost of 70 million euros; Turkey offered to erect some 500 homes for up to 45 million euros; Italy pledged 65 million euros in grants, while France said it would provide 150 million euros in development projects and loans.

In the Balkans, Serbia, which has long had a difficult relationship with Albania, pledged two million euros.

"This is a real wow and the fact that I don't have a speech with me tells about my expectations," Rama said at the end of the conference. "Some magic has happened. This is beyond our wildest imagination."

Von der Leyen said: "It is clear Albania cannot hold alone this burden. This is what brings us here. We pledge a sustained wave of investment for reconstruction."

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