Albanian Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj announced that his country is opening its labor market for citizens of Macedonia and Montenegro, but only for those who are ethnic Albanians. Cakaj made the announcement on Facebook and said that the country is working to create a unified labor market for ethnic Albanians in the Balkans.

This will create an exemption for the requirement to obtain a work permit and workplace registration certificate for citizens of “North Macedonia” and Montenegro who are of Albanian ethnic origin. This equates their position on the labor market with that of the Albanians from Kosovo and the Presevo valley. This decision is an integral part of the effort of the Government to liberalize the labor market for Albanians taken as a whole, Cakaj wrote.

He did not specify how Albanian intends to determine the ethnic background of those who may apply to use this option, and what happens to citizens of mixed ethnicity. Many commentators on his Facebook post responded that Albania doesn’t offer enough employment opportunities for its own citizens, let alone for those from the wider region.

Cakaj announced additional similar measures that would apply to ethnic Albanians in the region. Under Edi Rama, Albania is pushing towrad a greater integration of what it sees as “Albanian lands” in the region, leading to friction with its neighbors who are wary of its “Greater Albania” designs.