Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has visited Albania to meet the country’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, and discuss how they can work more closely to boost investment across both regions.
Mayor Houchen met Prime Minister Rama for the talks at his office in the country’s capital, Tirana, one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.
The Prime Minister has previously noted the massive developments taking place at the Teesside Freeport – the UK’s largest and first operational – and also at Teesworks, with the site now seeing billions of pounds of investment in the clean energy projects of the future.
Mayor Houchen took the chance to give an update on the progress to date on schemes such as SeAH Wind Ltd’s offshore wind factory, Circular Fuels’ pioneering residual waste to renewable gas facility and Net Zero Teesside Power’s gas-fired power station with carbon capture, utilisation and storage capabilities. Prime Minister Rama then offered exciting opportunities for the region to work together with the Albanian Government to look at growing jobs and investment in both countries.
The meeting comes ahead of a planned trip to the country by Boris Johnson later in the year to mark 100 years of diplomatic relations. He will become the first UK Prime Minister to visit Albania, which reported a 7% increase in its economic growth year-on-year in 2021.
Mayor Houchen said: “It was an honour to be invited by the Albanian Government to take up this trade mission and meet Presidents Rama. I’d like to thank him for his warm welcome, which led to hugely positive discussions about how our regions could complement each other to drive further investment into both areas.
“Albania, like Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, is growing quickly, and it is another country also taking note of what we’re doing to lead the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future. As we continue to set out our stall in a post-Brexit world, we must be ready to grab new opportunities, trading partners and with both hands and that’s exactly what I have been doing here – and at no cost to the UK taxpayer.
“The foundations are now in place for us to build a strong, mutually beneficial relationship and I’m excited to see what the future could hold.”
The trip was arranged and directly paid for by Tirana International Airport. We understand the total value of this was £1,455.76. The Tees Valley Combined Authority does not currently have commercial relationships with Tirana International Airport.