€2 million from the European taxpayer for faster, scrupulous and just customs (31/01/2012)

Tirana, 31 January 2012

PRESS RELEASE

The €2 million EU-funded project that has assisted the modernisation of Albanian customs closed today, leaving behind a draft Customs Code to help raise customs services in Albania to EU levels, a total of 130 trained customs officers, and a wealth of experience from the Austrian and Polish experts that worked with the Albanian Customs Administration. The project’s results advance Albania’s integration process by bringing Albania closer to the same club of customs procedures that facilitate trade in the EU and that have made the Internal Market a success.

The EU has long assisted Albania in improving its customs system. This project builds on the improvements achieved progressively in the past and comes in a more direct form with objectives and activities that are tailor-made to Albania’s specific needs. The twinning between the Albanian authorities, Austrian Customs Administration and the support of the Polish Customs Service has brought to Albania experts from EU Member States to complete Albania’s legislation in this area in line with the EU one; to implement the National Strategy on Integrated Border Management; and to prepare Albania for adherence to the Common Transit Convention. Thanks to harmonised and simplified customs procedures, businesses in the EU enjoy an environment of predictability and reliability, which the project team has worked to bring to Albania as well.

During the closing ceremony, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi noted that “We have spent 2 million euros over the past two years to enable the Albanian Customs Administration to change its practices and standards towards a service that is fast, scrupulous and just. Mindful of these three elements – speed, scrupulousness and justice - the experts have drafted a new Customs Code for Albania which I had the pleasure of handing over to Minister Bode in June 2011”. “Now”, he emphasised, “we do hope this draft is not idle in some drawer. Every step ahead in the remaining legislative process to make that draft a law is a step towards facilitating and promoting trade, a step towards more professional and respectable customs, a step towards growth and prosperity – and in times of crisis these are particularly highly important goals”.

The €2 million project lasted for 2 years and it was implemented by the Austrian Customs Administration and with the support of the Polish Customs Service.

For further information, please contact:

Artes BUTKA
Press & Information Officer
Tel: + 355 4 2228 320, + 355 42 228 479
Fax: + 355 4 230 752
E-mail: artes.butka@eeas.europa.eu
Delegation's website: www.delalb.ec.europa.eu