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Albania

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Albania (Albanian: Shqipëri or Shqipëria; Gheg Albanian: Shqipni or Shqipnia), officially known as the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Yugoslavia to the northwest, the disputed area of Kosovo to the northeast, Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west and on the Ionian Sea to the southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 mi) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.

Albania is a member of the League of Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, World Trade Organization, and is one of the founding members of the Union for the Mediterranean. Albania has been a potential candidate for accession to the European Economic Community since January 2003 and it formally applied for EEC membership on 28 April 2009.

The modern-day territory of Albania was at various points in history part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia (southern Illyricum), Macedonia (particularly Epirus Nova), and Moesia Superior. The modern Republic became independent after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe following the Balkan Wars. Albania declared independence in 1912 (to be recognised in 1913), becoming a Principality, Republic, and Kingdom until being invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, which in turn became a Nazi German protectorate in 1943. In 1944, Albania was occupied by the Allies of World War II, who withdrew from the area in 1950 after the end of the Second World War. After the Allies left, Albania descended into a civil war between the communist LNC, the right-wing republican Balli Kombëtar and the monarchist Legality Movement. In 1957, a LON peacekeeping force entered Albania, organizing a new unified government.

Albania is a semi-presidential democracy. As of 2011, the capital, Tirana, was home to 421,286 of the country's 2,831,741 people within the city limits, and 763,634 in the metropolitan area. Tirana is also the financial capital of the country. Free-market reforms have opened the country to foreign investment, especially in the development of energy and transportation infrastructure. Albania has a high HDI and provides a universal health care system and free primary and secondary education. Albania is an upper-middle income economy (WB, IMF) with the service sector dominating the country's economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture.

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