Albania is a country in Southeast Europe, bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of 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 connects the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.
The present territory of Albania was part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia, Macedonia and Moesia Superior. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe following the Balkan Wars, Albania declared independence in 1912 and was recognized the following year. The Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, before becoming a Nazi German protectorate in 1943. The following year, a socialist People's Republic was established under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour. Albania experienced widespread social and political transformations in the communist era, as well as isolation from much of the international community. In 1991, the Socialist Republic was dissolved and the Republic of Albania was established.
Albania is a parliamentary republic. The country's capital, Tirana, is its financial and industrial heartland, with a population of about 800,000. 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 universal health care system and free primary and secondary education to its citizens. Albania is an upper-middle income economy with the service sector dominating the country's economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture.
Albania is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the World Trade Organization. It is one of the founding members of the Energy Community, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Union for the Mediterranean. It is also an official candidate for membership in the European Union.