European Union – Albania 15th Subcommittee Meeting on Innovation, Information and Social Policy

On 1 February 2024, European Union – Albania 15TH Subcommittee Meeting on Innovation, Information and Social Policy was organised in the city of Tirana.

During the event, Ms. Mirela Muca, General Director of NASRI, who is local partner of POLICY ANSWERS in Albania held a presentation on Research and Innovation Policy, with special focus on

Participation in EU Programmes

a) Participation in EU Research Framework Programme Horizon Europe 2021-2027 

  • Promotion of Horizon Europe
  • Participation of Albania in Horizon Europe (statistics ) 

b) Status of the new 2023-2030 national strategy on scientific research and innovation

Framework Conditions of cooperation and compliance with the European Research Area priorities

  • Level of investments in research from public and private sector 
  • Adoption of the law on scientific research – state of play 
  • Measures taken to increase capacity building in the field of research and innovation. 
  • Progress on Smart Specialization Strategy development

The Delegation of the European Union to Albania has also published a detailed event report on its website. We share this without modification:

“The 15th Subcommittee meeting on topics related to Education, Research and Innovation, Information Society, and Social Policy between the EU and Albania in the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement was held in Tirana on 1 February 2024. Representatives from the European Commission discussed with relevant Albanian authorities the most recent developments in these areas. The meeting was co-chaired for Albania by Ms Enkelejda Muçaj, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy and for the EU by Mr. Vincent Rey, Team Leader in the Unit for Albania and North Macedonia at the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission.

The Commission acknowledged the efforts done by the Albanian authorities to progress in all areas under the remit of the subcommittee and congratulated them on their engagement in the EU acquis screening process over the past year. The Commission underlined the need of continuing the reforms and actions in the areas of employment and VET, social protection and inclusion, education, research and innovation, and digital transformation with the necessary funding that would allow policies to achieve stronger results. It also highlighted the important role of digital technologies and cyber security capacities in supporting the economy and mitigating the effects of the ongoing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

The Commission updated the Albanian authorities on a new EU Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos, adopted in October 2023 by the European Parliament and Council, and the publication of the Commission Communication on digitalisation in social security coordination. On social dialogue, the Commission stressed its concern over the weak level of dialogue held in the National body for tripartite social dialogue. On employment policies, the Commission acknowledged the active investment in improving the efficiency of the State Labour Inspectorate, the improved numbers of jobseekers supported by the Public Employment Service (NAES), the development of new offers, such as the apprenticeship scheme, and the large set of steps and efforts for the preparation and piloting of the Youth Guarantee. In the area of Social Protection, the Commission recognised the progress in percentage of population receiving basic package of social care services. It noted, however, that there is still a large number of municipalities that provide none or only a few social services, and that further efforts are needed to increase provision of social services, including increasing budget allocations and human capacities at all levels, as well as continuing work towards completing the deinstitutionalisation and transition to community-based living of persons with disabilities in line with the country’s commitments. On healthcare, Commission commended the goal of Albanian authorities to increase public financing for health to 70% until 2030, to ensure that no Albanian family falls into poverty due to health costs.

The Commission welcomed the work of the Albanian national S3 team to advance in the smart specialisation strategy development and the strengthening of the innovation support measures. The Commission noted positively the excellent participation of Albania in European Research and Innovation actions underlined by the inclusion in the European Innovation Scoreboard. The Commission reminded that the efforts in collecting reliable statistical data should continue. The increasing number of international scientific publications with good citation records shows that the Albanian scientific community is becoming more active and internationally better networked. The Commission stressed that a lack of sustained funding and vision can be a barrier for the implementation of forthcoming strategies and laws in the areas of research and innovation.

The Commission welcomed the adoption of the revised law on audiovisual media thus ensuring the continuation of Albania’s participation in all strands of the Creative Europe programme. The Commission took positive note of the industry dialogue platform on audience measurement and underlined the need for further progress on regulating the sector and on tackling media concentration. The Commission noted positively also that the Broadband Competency Office unit was established in December 2023, in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. The Commission stressed the need for Albania to ensure full alignment with the NIS2 Directive and the 5G cyber-security toolbox and to improve the collection of statistical data on digital performance and digital competitiveness.

The Commission welcomed the fact that the new 2023-2030 national strategy on employment and skills and the new 2022-2029 national youth strategy place an emphasis on improving the quality of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and increasing the skills of young people. However, the Commission noted with concern the latest PISA 2022 results showing a big decline in performance of Albanian students concerning basic skills in reading, mathematics and science, which could be only partly explained by the COVID-19. The Commission also noted that the government expenditure on Education as percentage of the GDP remains lower than the EU average (4.8% in 2021) and stressed the importance of ensuring sufficient budget to deliver the education reforms undertaken. The Commission welcomed the efforts of Albania to support the digital transformation of the education and training system and encouraged Albania to step up its efforts in higher education to encourage cooperation with the business and align programmes based on labour market needs. The Commission encouraged the Albanian authorities to adopt the implementing legislation for the Law on cultural heritage and museums.”


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