The 11th Subcommittee meeting on Economic and Financial Issues and Statistics, under the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Albania took place on 3 October 2019 in Brussels. Representatives from the European Commission (EC) discussed with relevant Albanian authorities the most recent developments in these areas. This sub-committee is a platform to regularly exchange views on recent developments in economic, monetary and financial affairs and current challenges. The discussion also followed up on the implementation of the Economic Reform Programme of Albania as well as on the explanatory meetings for the EU legislation (acquis) under several topics.
The EC noted that the continued commitment of Albanian authorities has brought about a number of positive developments for the economy and the labour market, which are reflected in the strong economic and employment growth over the last year. The authorities reported improving and diversification of business activity, possibly related to the improved situation in the banking sector and regulatory changes. The volatility and the continuing dependence on hydropower, however, has a negative impact on public finances.
EC welcomed Albania’s commitment to fiscal consolidation and successful efforts to improve the structure of public debt. Further efforts are needed to outline a concrete consolidation path towards the legal objective. In this respect, effectiveness and efficiency of public spending remains key and further actions are needed for strengthening supervision of public-private partnerships and control of public procurement. The EC also welcomed the concrete actions planned to repay government arrears to the private sector in the next two years, as well as the initiative to improve VAT collection and reducing informality through fiscalisation, and to improve the system for recording multi-annual commitments for public expenditure.
Developments in the fields of payment systems and free movement of capital were briefly discussed. Concerning Public Internal Financial Control, in spite of progress reported, further efforts are required to improve the effectiveness of the governance and control requirements. In relation to External Audit, the EC welcomed Albania’s efforts to improve the timely and systematic implementation of audit recommendations.
In the field of statistics, the EC welcomed the new status of the National Statistics Institute as an independent institution under the Parliament. The preparation for the forthcoming in 2020 Census of population and households was discussed and the authorities informed that it proceeds on schedule.