Council of Europe examines a report over the state of democracy following a monitoring carried out in Albania

Council of Europe examines a report over the state of democracy following a monitoring carried out in Albania

Strasbourg 31 October 2013

The members of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, meeting at the 25th Congress Session in Strasbourg (France), have examined a report on the situation of local and regional democracy in Albania following a monitoring visit in December 2012.

The report notes that decentralisation of the state power has been a major component of democratisation in Albania and that the legislative framework is in line with the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

However, in their report, Congress rapporteurs Zdenek Broz, (Czech Republic ECR) and Ake Svensson, (Sweden, SOC) regret that the regional level appears to be weak in the overall governance system, and that the local government associations are fragmented and have difficulty taking a common position.

“One of the main issues is that the relations between local leaders and councilors in Albania is overshadowed by the over-politicized environment in the country, which raises a barrier between local representatives from different political parties to such an extent that they cannot speak with a unified voice. They cannot find a consensus inside the local government associations. I think this issue is of great importance today, as the recent elections have once again changed the political landscape” explained Ždenek Brož, addressing the Session.

It is also recommended that the Albanian authorities include all local and regional authorities in their consultations and formalize the process of consultation by introducing specific legislative provisions.

The Congress also recommends to intensify the decentralization process in Albania in the light of the Charter and to begin a reform of the territorial system that will allow communes and municipalities to carry out their responsibilities in an effective and efficient manner. It encourages the government to enhance local authorities’ delegated competencies with concomitant financing and to clarify and increase the role of regional authorities.

Finally, the report invites the Albanian authorities to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority. /ibna/