Territorial Administrative Reform and the Decentralization Strategy – Progress towards the Desired Objectives after a Governing Mandate
Annual Review of Territorial Governance in Albania, I, 2018, Page 69-83
Merita Toska, Anila Bejko (Gjika)
The decentralization process and reforms, as well as the territorial and administrative reform (TAR) and its effects in the country, were subject to extensive debates among experts and the media, especially during 2017. The design and implementation of these reforms aimed at strengthening local governance and improving the quality and efficiency of local public service provision. At the end of the governing mandate, and on the eve of upcoming local elections, how close or far are we to achieving the objectives of these reforms? Based on available data, this policy paper tries to assess the effects of
decentralization reforms and the TAR, using the arguments over which the reforms were undertaken as a baseline scenario. In general, the analysis of the considered indicators suggests a lack of real vertical decentralization, high financial dependency on central government, and a high level of inequality between municipalities. Under a top-down approach, municipalities fail to benefit from the advantages that they have to address the preferences and needs of the population in the administrated territories and, consequently, to improve their quality of life.