Informative Session in Elbasan: Innovations and Challenges of Territorial-Administrative Reform

On May 26, 2017, European Movement in Albania in cooperation with University of Elbasan “Aleksandër Xhuvani”, in the framework of the initiative supported by National Endowment for Democracy (NED): “Building bridges – a new cooperation culture between local institutions and their communities”, which seeks to provide sufficient, simplified information about the advantages, as well as possible negative side-effects of the Territorial Administrative Reform (TAR), to establish a permanent and continuous dialogue between local communities (and political and technical officials of municipalities and to create the legal instruments that pledge the inclusion of citizens in the local policy and decision-making processes.

The activity was greeted by vice Rector of University of Elbasan Prof. Dr. Assoc. Mr. Peçi Naqellari. In his speech, Mr. Naqellari acclaimed the fruitful and continuous cooperation between the University and the European Movement in Albania, and how these initiatives undertaken by EMA are directly in benefit of the students, academics and university itself. He also expressed his commitment to the continuation of such initiatives.

Mr. Gledis Gjipali, Executive Director of the European Movement in Albania spoke about the innovations and issues of the Territorial-Administrative Reform conducted in Albania. One of the innovations is linked with public services provided by local and central administration, where there will be an increase in the number of services provided and transfered from  public sector to the private sector. On the other hand, the Reform will increase the number of activities that local government will have, while some of them will be transferred from central government to local one, such as: road administration; pre-school education and non-teaching administration of pre-university education (opening of kindergartens and school maintenance); management of the roads and management of forests (creation of appropriate structures) etc. Now the conditional transfer, that is, the fund that passes from central to local government, will be a fixed percentage. This percentage is allocated based on the Law on Local Government Finance. On the other hand, a new social fund will be created by the municipalities, which would be a financial support for all citizens who want to undertake initiatives or have ideas about different services by and for their  community. Mr. Gjipali  pointed out that there are some measures need to be taken by the Municipalities such as: 1) Adopting as soon as possible the regulations for the well-functioning of the structures; 2) Conduct trainings to have the best public services; 3) Raising funds for increasing the quality of pre-school services; 4) Informing and raising the awareness of the community and the citizens so that they might exercise every right, may raise community councils and be more demanding to local government.At the end of the meeting a discussion was held with the interested participants. They conducted their questions on topics related to the changes and the process of approximation of national legislation at the local level with that of the EU; The importance of cultural links and identity in the new administrative division and the new procedures and deadlines for the implementation of the Reform by the respective institutions. The Informative Manual on TAR was distributed among participants and students, and a number of copies were donated to the Library of the University as well.