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. In 2011 we will focus 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:

  • 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.