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Enriko Kapiti

The Public Administration Reform as priority for Albania integration in EU

The future of countries in the Western Balkans (WB) is the European Union. The EU, is the light in the end of the tunel, as part of the Stabilization and Association Process that has raised very high expextations for new change and prespective in the region. One of the WB countries that is continuing to implement the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, is Albania. Since 9 November  2016, the Commission recommended the launch of negotiations for Albania as proof and support of the path taken so far and mostly in the progress of ­the implementation of public administration reform and the justice reform[1].

The focus of this article is the public administration reform during the years in Albania as one of the key priorities for the integration in the EU family.

The development of Albania Public Administration, in years.

The official Albanian administration history started long time ago with the independence in 1912, because before as part of the Ottoman Empire there was no freedom to develop and implement there own, public administration policy. Then after 1912, the Albanian public administration came across many challenges and difficulties to follow the best practice of good governance in public administration field in Europe.

Then comes the communist decade and the hiring procedures changed. Meyer-Sahling said, officials career paths did not merely involve a gradual rising through the ranks of the bureaucratic hierarchy. Instead, a common feature of the nomenclature system was the interweaving of individual career paths in the party, the state administration and the economy. Before reaching the senior ranks of the ministerial bureaucracy, officials commonly had gained experience in the headquarters of the ruling communist party and, subsequently, their careers could progress to posts in government, the economy or organisations outside the core structure of the state. The end of communist rule and the introduction of multiparty democracy inevitably brought this mode of politicisation to an end. The abolition of the power monopoly of the communist party, the privatisation of state assets and the disentanglement of the state, the party and societal organisations such as trade unions implied that a single party in government could no longer control bureaucratic career paths in as encompassing a way as the communist party had done before the change of regime[2].

This is what has also happened in Albania less or more. In November 1998, the new Constitution[3] was adopted by the Parliament and in popular referendum. The creation of a professional and independent public administration was not among the priorities during the regime change in Albania,( like in many other transition countries, it has been forgotten that market economy and pluralistic political system do not function without a well-functioning state and its administration), until the very end of the Democratic Party’s first term in office Albania has not adopted a general law on organization and functioning of public administration. Each administrative body functioned separately. This is one of the main reasons for policy incoherence and lack of coordination among different administrative bodies[4]. For that reasons was urge to modern and implement two main pillars of modern administration: a law regulating the civil service[5], and another one regulating general administrative procedure. As we know because of  many problems among which the lack of political will and the necessaty of secondary legislation to be implemented, the Civil Service Law of 1996 was never implemented properly. More information are below, in the second part.

The Public Administration Modernization Reform[6] in Albania, as one of the conditions for opening accession negotiations.

The EU and in particular the Commission has continued to monitor thoroughly the developments in the context of the Five Key Priorities[7]:

Key Priority 1: Albania was requested to reform the public administration with a view to enhancing its professionalism and de-politicisation. The relevant legal and strategic frameworks are now in place. Implementation of public administration reform has continued consistently, following the adoption of the civil service legislation, advancing further towards a professional and merit-based civil service. The transparency and quality of merit-based recruitment and selection procedures for public posts were enhanced, particularly for the central level of governance, the capacity of the institutions responsible for management and monitoring of the civil service was strengthened, the operational infrastructure of service delivery was improved through one-stop-shops and further implementation of the territorial administrative reform[8].

New chapter started in 2013 with the new Public Administration Reform to fulfill the obligation on EU integration. That has always been one of the main priorities of political reforms in Albania. A competent and efficient public administration is paramount for improving the quality of governance, the services received by citizens and the quality of life in general.  However, not all governments are able to live up to this challenge. Albania started a public administration reform in 2013 by adopting a new law on civil servant[9].

Concretely Albania (as it mentioned in Commission Staff Working Document, Albania 2018 Report) is moderately prepared with the reform of its public administration. Some progress has been made, especially in improving the efficiency and transparency of public services delivery, training civil servants, establishing more transparent recruitment procedures and strengthening the administration’s capacity to undertake merit-based recruitment. Implementation of the public administration reform and public financial management reform strategies are being continued, although for the past few months some steps in the process have been on hold, following the general elections and central government restructuring. Any further reorganisation of the public administration needs to be carried out in a consistent and evidenced-based manner[10].

So lots of work has been done through those years by Albanian Governments and especially by Department of Public Administration (DoPA) and Albania School of Public Administration. They have many challenges and are working in new projects that have in focus the energization of employees and the creation of motivated of employees teams engaged in work to improve the quality of public services and to fulfill the obligations from EU process of integration.



[1] Note_ The process of screening of professional, integrity and wealthy part of judges and prosecutors named (vetting).

[2] http://meyer-sahling.eu/papers/Meyer-Sahling-2008-EJPR-Published-Version.pdf

[3] Albania Constitution 1998, approved by Law no.8417 date 21.10.1998.

[4] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org _Public Administrative reform, in a fragile institutional framework: The case of Albania_Mihovil Škarica

[5] Note_The first attempt to create a modern civil service happened in 1996, when the first Civil Service Law was passed. Until its adoption, the working status of all public employees had been regulated by the temporary revisions of the pre-transition Labour Act.(https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/24f5/718f1739f21fe25ab211fb6401d71a7f64ac.pdf)

[6] Note_Public administration reform (PAR) is one of the most important horizontal reform areas in each country because it provides the framework for implementing other policies. It is equally important for European Union (EU) member countries, candidate countries and potential candidates, as it makes it possible to build systems that are a sound basis for implementing the EU acquis. http://www.sigmaweb.org/byexpertise/strategicframeworkofpublicadministrationreform/Principles-of-Public-Administration_Edition-2017_ENG.pdf

[7] https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20180417-albania-report.pdf  

Note_The other keys prioritys-Key Priority 2: Albania was requested to take further action to reinforce the independence, efficiency and accountability of judicial institutions. Key Priority 3: Albania was requested to make further determined efforts in the fight against corruption, including towards establishing a solid track record of proactive investigations, prosecutions and convictions. Key Priority 4: Albania was requested to make further determined efforts in the fight against organised crime, including towards establishing a solid track record of proactive investigations, prosecutions and convictions. Key Priority 5: Albania was requested to take effective measures to reinforce the protection of human rights, including of Roma, and anti-discrimination policies, as well as implementing property rights.

[8] https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20180417-albania-report.pdf 

[9] http://www.lexferenda.al/en/services/public-administration-reform/ for more see The Civil Servants Law No.152/2013

[10] https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/20180417-albania-report.pdf


Enrriko Kapiti ,Specialist

Department of Public Administration