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Written by Sidorela BRAÇJA 23 Qershor 2022
The European Commission has published the final evaluation report of the economic reform program for Albania and other candidate countries to become part of the union. In the chapter dedicated to Albania, the Commission in the report places emphasis on some key points where there should be intervention by the Albanian authorities, even in the context of the time. After a broad assessment of the progress with the economic reforms to become part of the European Union, finally the Commission gives 6 key recommendations for our country. First, the Commission calls on the Albanian authorities to improve the management of public investment and public-private partnership schemes, as well as to increase spending on education, health, social protection and research and development relative to total public spending. The third point of the recommendations is related to the current situation, where the European Commission calls on the Albanian authorities to carefully assess and analyze price developments and to be ready for tightening monetary policies, in order to maintain price stability. This recommendation also includes some directives for the deurization of the Albanian economy, and for favoring the use of the local currency. Point 4 refers to strengthening business support, to improve access to finance and entrepreneurial knowledge. The European Commission also places great emphasis on the fight against informality. Recommendation number 5, meanwhile, comes as a call to finalize, in cooperation with all line ministries and agencies, a guarantee implementation plan for young people,
Low social protection in the country
Meanwhile, in the report the institution places too much emphasis on this point, namely the lack of skilled labor, the lack of a direct link between higher education institutions and the labor market. Point number 6, meanwhile, refers to the benefits of economic assistance, and the establishment of the mechanism for their annual indexation since 2023. Beyond the 6 recommendations, a special attention in the report receives the very low social protection in our country with very large shortcomings and low costs, as well as health care. Regarding social protection, the European Commission estimates that it is deficient in our country. "The lack of social care service is an obstacle to the active involvement of vulnerable individuals. Among 430 thousand beneficiaries of social protection in 2021, 56% received the payment of assistance, 34% of the disabled and only 10%, or 1.5% of the population benefited from social services. This shows that social services in Albania are lacking even for people with disabilities or vulnerable, not the general population ", says the institution in the report.