Di Maio, who heads the ruling Five Star Movement (M5S), also pledged further financial aid from Italy, saying Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte would soon announce a new package of assistance.

Italy was the first to provide financial aid following the November 26 quake, and sent the biggest group of rescuers in the first days after the disaster that left more than 13,000 people homeless.

“The EU can do more and it will do more,” Di Maio said at a news conference with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

“This tragedy is a case when the European institutions show their nearness to Albania, a friendly country for Italy and the EU.”

Around 670 foreign search-and-rescue personnel – 180 from Italy and the others from Kosovo, France, Greece, Romania, Switzerland, Israel, Turkey and Serbia – headed to Albania from the first day of the quake.

Rama highly praised Italian rescuers “for putting their life in danger to save lives in our country”.

Forty-five survivors were pulled from the rubble left by the quake that damaged more than 14,000 buildings, out of which 2500 cannot be used any more.

Those left homeless following the quake are currently being housed in hotels, public buildings, tents, with relatives or in neighbouring Kosovo.

Structural engineers are working to determine whether buildings left standing can still be inhabited, or to help construct buildings to replace those that were destroyed.

Albania has called for international financial assistance for reconstruction, pledging to complete it within 2020.

The government has set 13 billion leks ($171 million) aside for reconstruction, while other 7 billion leks ($92 million) have been collected from donations.

The European Union is assisting Albania to assess damages and reconstruction needs and the European Commission had already sent €15 million euros ($24 million).

Other countries and donors have given €8 million ($13 million) more.