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The biggest anti-corruption project of its kind in the Western Balkans countries, financed with an amount of three Million Euro from the European Union, started today in Tirana with a town hall meeting at the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University.
Through the twinning project “Support to the formulation, coordination and implementation of anti-corruption policies", two EU Member State's public authorities enter in partnership with the beneficiary country, in order to assist the Albanian state administration in the preparation of its EU membership. The aim of such instrument is to achieve concrete results through peer to peer activities. Albania’s twins in the current project are Austria and Germany. They will support Albania in the next 29 months in its fight against corruption.
“The reform of the judiciary remains the milestone of the institutional fight against corruption, especially with regard to the punishment of officials of all ranges. The constitutional amendments and the 7 laws accompanying the reform package should not be obstructed by diverging political agendas, but we should firmly commit to their implementation and put an end to the culture of impunity in Albania. I would like to emphasize that the fight against corruption is a battle that we have to fight firstly for the benefit of our daily lives as citizens of our country, in line with the support of our partners and in light of joining the bigger European family. Undoubtedly, as one of the key priorities in the further progress of Albania towards EU, winning this battle is also proof that we have deserved the trust of our European partners which support us with human and financial resources”, said the National Coordinator against Corruption, Minister Bledar Çuçi, in his opening speech in front of about 200 participants.
"Let me be clear, no effort shall be spared to develop policies and concrete actions to eradicate the scourge of corruption", Christian Danielsson, European Commission's Director General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations addressed the audience. "It affects directly the life of citizens in many regards. If affects the functioning of the public administration and the quality of services. It has a detrimental effect on the economy. So this means in concrete terms less schools, less hospitals and less jobs. That is why we are here today. That is why this project is important. Fighting corruption in Albania is essential to move forward the enlargement process,“ he added.
The results expected from this project are related to the improvement in capacity of responsible institutions dealing with anti-corruption, but also to establish mechanism for implementing the Whistle-blower Protection and Access to Information laws, improve oversight and control of political party finances, assist to improve public intolerance towards corruption etc.
Project-leader Helmut Weichhart said: "With over 50 experts and an experienced team on site in Tirana we are well positioned to assist Albania efficiently in its fight against corruption.
After the speeches the audience asked questions to a panel with the participation of high representatives of beneficiary independent institutions such as the High Inspectorate on the Declaration of Assets and Audit of Conflict of Interest, the Central Elections Committee, the High State Audit and the Commissioner for the Right of Information and Data Protection.
All participants underlined the importance of an effective fight against corruption in Albania's accession efforts to the European Union and the further political and economic development of the country.
For more information:
Chief of Staff to the Minister of State of Local Issues/
National Coordinator in Anti-Corruption
Resident Twinning Advisor