Economic and social dimension of EU integration

The EU integration process entails significant economic and social developments, particularly for a “long transition country” such as Albania. In order to maximize Albania’s potential for economic growth and social development, EMA works to stimulate constructive debate and analysis of policy options. During the years EMA has been focused on research, analysis and formulation of concrete recommendations on fundamental issues determining the country’s development such as the current implementation of IPA, regional and rural development, sustainable development, migration trends, brain-gain phenomena, etc.

Projects undertaken under this programme area are as below:

  • From information to action – Strengthening organisations in Albania on consumer protection (April 2021 – March 2023) implemented by EMA in cooperation with Academy of Political Studies and Alert Center under the IPA II programme funds. The main objective of the action is to enhance the capacities of Albanian CSOs dealing with consumer protection issues, and use this expertise in close cooperation with the state institutions to influence the policy and decision-making processes in the frame of EU accession. The action is planned to be implemented in 6 regions: Tirana, Durrësi, Shkodra, Elbasan, Fier, Korça. It will include training, capacity building, mentoring, cooperation strengthening and at the same time will be a forum of open debate, ideas exchange and sharing of experience between state institutions and civil society actors, including as well other relevant actors and interest groups, with peculiar focus the actors in local level. The topics are directly related to EU integration process and negotiations, highlighting the political, technical and legal dimension of such process in topics covered by Chapter 28, and other related chapters: Chapter 11, 12, 27 and/or Chapter 23. You may find more here

  • Deliberating Socio-Economic Impact of EU integration – Albanian case and regional experiences (December 2018- August 2020) A project implemented in the framework of IPA II – European Union Integration Facility 2014, in cooperation with ELIAMEP (Greece) and was initially conducted in 6 different areas of Albania (Tirana, Shkodra, Elbasani, Durrësi, Vlora and Gjirokastra) and online due to pandemic restrictions. The action overall objective is to enhance Albanian public awareness of the EU integration as a generator of socio-economic reforms in order to promote the country’s Europeanization by providing information about the previous EU enlargement process (pre and post accession process) of Bulgaria, Romania and neighbour country Greece, as countries experiencing the same challenges as our country. Fields of study include: education, energy market and transport infrastructure, rule of law, involvement of different interest groups in EU accession process, reinforcement of the Social dimension, research and innovation etc.
  • Posting of workers in Eastern Europe (EEPOW) (January 2018 – January 2020)The EEPOW Project financed by European Commission and implemented by European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Austria, aims to proactively address the issue of posting of workers at its pre-accession stage by assisting the four candidate countries Albania, FYROM, Montenegro, and Serbia, in implementing the Directive on the Posting of Workers (96/71/EC)  before it enters into force. The project helps to further consolidate national strategies, and reinforces transnational coordination between relevant stakeholders of the broader EU region. The project achieves its objectives through the implementation of actions such as research and assessment of the institutional capacities of candidate countries, cooperation among participating countries’ stakeholders through country workshops and peer reviews, as well as information sharing through events and publications. You may find more about EEPOW on this link.
  • Decoding EU integration Process (October 2016- April 2017). The aim of this initiative supported by Slovak Aid was to inform more than 25-30 youngsters regarding two important topics such as: Consumer Protection and Environmental Issues. The peculiar feature of this initiative is that not only the youngsters got information by attending discussion forums and being provided the Informative Brochures, yet they participated in study trips in different venues in three different locations: Durrës, Lushnja and Tirana by evidencing concretely the processes and the issues of consumer protection and environment.
  • Migrants and asylum seekers rights in Albania -Addressing current and potential threats of the refugee crisis (October 2016 – June 2017) – the research – project, supported by Pontis Foundation, is focused on a research about migration in Albania and its implications and is exploring the implementation of current legal framework in Albania and analyzing the procedures and services provided to immigrants, comparing them vis-a-vis with the EU acquis. In this framework a  Policy Brief is published, which  deals with the phenomenon of migration putting on spotlight: immigration, as one of the dimensions which government and state authorities do not pay as much attention compared with the other dimension, that of emigration.
  • Erasmus KA 3 – ReFuGeeS (2016) implemented by Institute for Cultural Relations Policy, Hungary and other partners including EMA (12 partner organizations in Total). The main objectives of the training course were to promote the respect of the fundamental Human Rights and the link with the faith and religious issues through the use of non formal education tools for learning planned ad hoc. The activity increased the active role of youngsters, introduced to them positive and democratic attitudes.The main methodology used was the one of non-formal education, completed with some theoretical inputs.
  • Erasmus KA 1: NeCiWo (2016) – Implemented by Life of Life organization in Italy, with partnership with EMA and other partner organizations. The overall objective was to organize a training course that allows youth workers and professionals ( 20 in total, 4 participants for each country) in education and socio-educational learning to expand their knowledge in the field of citizenship, European citizenship and immigration focusing in particular on the definitions of the clandestine and refugee. The non-formal learning methods and approaches were used to investigate the relationship between foreign citizens and European citizens, to show the different national laws in terms of reception, protection and integration of foreigners.Main results include acquired knowledge on legal concepts and increased awareness on the problem of immigration in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) – Time for its application in Albania,  a project in framework of Think and Link Programme supported by European Fund for Balkans (2014-2015). This research aimed to offer Albanian stakeholders an up to date analysis on the introduction of RIA in Albania, providing a comparative overview of the experiences, challenges and solutions found in neighboring countries. By liaising with government institutions and other actors, the project delivered realistic recommendations and models to open the way for the implementation of RIA in the near future.
  • With the request of the Albanian Development Fund (ADF) EMA was engaged to prepare a Strategic Document which contains information, analyses and recommendations on Regional Development in Albania and the role that the ADF is capable of and ought to play in the sector. This document is compiled with the close cooperation of the ADF and Aims to facilitate the political, technical and economic support by the Government and the European Commission in order to undertake the necessary actions for the benefit of regional development in the country. Part of the study is the information and orientation of ADF towards reorganization and repositioning that tends to fit better to the cooperation with decision-making and financial mechanisms of the EU as well as the involvement in the government structure in fulfilling government’s own vision.
  • Consolidating Employment Policies in View of Albania’s EU accession (September 2011 – May 2012) supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy, a Project of the German Marshal Fund (BTD). This initiative project strives to support and stimulate Albanian institutions in consolidating employment policies and efficient labor market mechanisms as well as prepare for accessing EU funds aimed at advancing labor skills (IPA IV). Through research and analysis of current shortcomings of the labor market and employment policies EMA will propose and advocate for policy solutions in order to address relevant issues in this field identified by EU institutions as a way to mark progress in the country’s path to EU integration.
  • Towards the Enhancement of Fair Competition and a Functional Market Economy in Albania (March 2011 – January 2012) supported by European Fund for the Balkans (EFB). This research project seek to provide an overview on the implementation of the competition and state aid policies in Albania, by identifying main problems and obstacles deriving from non approximation of normative acts and lack of their implementation.
  • Exploring the Impact of visa liberalization on people’s mobility (August 2010 – April 2011) supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a Project of the German Marshal Fund. The project intended to clarify and demystify the misperception that visa liberalisation meant, possibility to be integrated in the labour market of the Schengen countries, by identifying the propensity to migrate of different social groups that were affected by visa liberalization process.
  • Advocating for “Brain Gain” policies aimed at reintegration of the high-skilled returnees in the Western Balkans (October 2010 – September 2011) supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a Project of the German Marshal Fund. The overall aim of this project leaded by Group 484, Serbia was to identify the main obstacles for integration of the high skilled returnees in the Western Balkans Countries and to support the development of the policies and measures in regional level that would improve the situation of the high-skilled returnees.
  • Vitalizing Cross Border Cooperation in the framework of regional policies and integrated rural development (January 2009 – October 2010) supported by Open Society Foundation for Albania (OSFA). This initiative intended to promote cross-border cooperation for the elaboration and implementation of regional policies and integrated rural development, as an instrument for the socio-economic development  of border areas (Korça and Shkodra), as a pre-condition for the capacity building of locals structures in the frame of EU integration  processes. The project was implemented in partnership with Institute for Democracy and Mediation.
  • Europeanization of Agriculture and rural development (December 2009 – October 2010) supported by European Fund for the Balkans (EFB). The overall objective of the project was to assess and analyze institutional and legal framework situation within the framework of recently approved Rural Development Strategy 2007-2013 by Albanian government. The project identified the existing capacity gap and the ways to improve it for channelling assistance to the sector through EU-type mechanisms like the competitive grants program, and pave the way for accessing future EU assistance.
  • Developing Brain Gain Policies in the Western Balkans (December 2009 – September 2010) supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a Project of the German Marshal Fund. This regional project aimed to support Western Balkan regional cooperation and exchange of experiences in the field of migration management in the context of brain drain/gain phenomenon through introducing the key stakeholders with the impact of European and national policies and practices on this respect as well as supporting development of policies and measures that would turn brain drain into brain gain, at the national and regional level. This initiative was implemented simultaneously by EMA in Albania, Centre for Research and Policy Making in Macedonia (CRPM), Group 484 in Serbia, and Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) in Montenegro.
  • Overall assessment of national rural budgeting process ant its comparison to EU (November 2008 – April 2009) supported by OXFAM GB. The project achieved to contribute in leading the country towards a sustainable development and the best practices from EU candidate and potential candidate countries with the similar experiences through supporting the advocacy for increased budget allocation for rural and agriculture sectors.