9. Fostering social cohesion in Albania

Key elements of social cohesion ranked very high in Albania in the Initial Assessment of this Multi-dimensional Review of the Western Balkans, including good governance and strong institutions, rule of law, regional co-operation, and empowered youth. A socially cohesive society is a society that creates the ability and willingness of its members to undertake collective action for the improvement of societal well-being of all its members. Building on the Initial Assessment, the “From Analysis to Action phase of the project provides suggestions to foster social cohesion in Albania and in other economies of the Western Balkans. The peer-learning workshops on social cohesion (Box 8.1. of Chapter 8), an integral part of the project’s second phase, served three complementary processes: to identify problems hampering social cohesion, to identify key policy challenges, and to put forward key policy priorities for Albania and for the region (Figure 9.1).

Over the last 30 years, Albania has made remarkable progress in becoming a democratic society with a functional, open-market economy, thereby increasing the well-being of its citizens. Productivity growth across all sectors has improved employment, incomes and standards of living. The employment rate increased from 47.5% in 2010 to 52.5% in 2020 – the highest in the Western Balkans (Figure 8.1 of Chapter 8). With rising GDP per capita and household consumption, the share of materially deprived households has been decreasing (OECD, 2021[1]). With rising living standards, many Albanians have been able to afford more goods and services. In 2019, the share of Albanian households owning digital devices (60%) had doubled compared to 2016 (33.2%) (INSTAT, 2020[2]). While deprivations remain, extreme poverty is very low and life expectancy is increasing. Institutional development and global integration have also progressed.

To sustain the pace of building a socially cohesive society, Albania must now tackle a set of important problems that remain (Figure 9.1). Notwithstanding positive employment performance, labour markets in Albania continue to face structural challenges. Due to a lack of quality jobs, high youth and long-term unemployment, and many vulnerable persons not working, the labour market currently strains citizens’ ability to support each other and creates great pressure on the social protection system (see Chapter 8). Social exclusion and inequality remain issues. Findings from the latest round of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey show inequality in Albania above the regional average, with close to 40% of households being severely materially deprived. Some 21.8% of the population was at risk of poverty in 2020 (Eurostat, 2021[3]). Poverty particularly affects the unemployed, the low-skilled, people in rural areas, vulnerable women, people with disabilities, and Roma and Egyptian minorities. Although inequalities are relatively high in Albania, they are buffered to some extent by social policies. At 39.9, the Gini coefficient, based on disposable income, is high for the region. Nevertheless, existing social policies and redistributive measures play a more effective role than in many other developing countries. Without such policies, pure market-based inequality would reach 47.4 (OECD, 2021[1]).

Labour market policies and social protection constitute two complementary policy areas to address specific policy challenges hampering social cohesion in Albania, especially insufficient socio-economic integration of welfare beneficiaries – the key peer-learning priority. The complementarity stems from the way the two policy areas interact and reinforce each other. Employment opportunities provide people with income and prospects for personal development, while reducing financial pressures on the social protection system, thus providing room to improve its quality. Social protection matters for reducing poverty and inequalities and serves as a safety net and support system. Co-ordinated policy efforts that create adequate employment opportunities, and put in place an effective and fair social protection system, may address the key elements that will lead to a cohesive society – i.e. create opportunities for participation, generate a sense of belonging and promote trust among people, and fight against exclusion and marginalisation.

Six priority actions have a great potential to ensure rapid socio-economic integration of welfare beneficiaries, and strengthen other areas that can foster social cohesion in Albania:

  • Make active labour market policies more effective, particularly for vulnerable groups

  • Create equal opportunities for vulnerable groups to participate in the labour market.

  • Strengthen women’s role in society by supporting their integration into the labour market.

  • Create a more inclusive and fair social security system.

  • Strengthen targeting, equity and adequacy of social assistance for those most in need.

  • Deliver social services through a community integrated approach.

This chapter is divided into four sections. Sections 9.1 and 9.2 provide policy implications for Albania across the six policy actions through a prism of challenges specific to Albania. Section 9.3 zooms in on the key policy priority selected and further developed by the peer-learning participants from Albania: Socio-economic integration of welfare beneficiaries, and provides indicators against which policy progress in implementing all the policy priorities for Albania can be measured. This chapter is complemented by the regional chapter on social cohesion (Chapter 8), which provides more specific policy options for the six action areas, based on international practices that may be applied (albeit to different degrees) also to Albania.

High long-term unemployment and a lack of employment opportunities for people that had no prior job experience calls for well-targeted ALMPs. In 2019, about 64.3% of the unemployed were long-term unemployed (Figure 8.2 of Chapter 8). Many young and many from vulnerable groups, including Roma and Egyptians, do not participate in employment, education or training, with many having no or very limited work experience (Figures 8.3 and 8.7 of Chapter 8). Poor labour market integration of vulnerable people can lead to loss of skills, long-term reliance on welfare assistance and emigration. The young face particularly dire situations when it comes to school-to-work transitions. The young often work without adequate contracts and an estimated 52.6% of those aged 15-24 worked informally in 2019 (World Bank/WIIW, 2021[4]). Strengthening pre-university career orientation and providing additional support to young graduates to become entrepreneurs could favour better matching between graduate skills and labour market needs and improve employment prospects. One pillar of the recently approved National Employment and Skills Strategy 2019-2022 seeks to improve the quality vocational education and training (VET) and to provide more training to youth.

To increase the impact ALMPs in Albania, it is imperative to increase their coverage among the most vulnerable groups. The low share of registered unemployed participating in ALMPs (7.4% in 2018), indicates significant scope to increase coverage. (Table 8.3 in Chapter 8). Similarly, participation in employment promotion programmes, Albania’s key national activation measures, varies among different groups. Of 2 822 participants in 2020 (3.4% of all registered job seekers), about 40% were young (1 121 job seekers), 12% long-term unemployed (336 job seekers), and 4% Roma and Egyptians (111 job seekers) (Ministry of Finance and Economy, 2021[5]). Although social assistance beneficiaries are expected to register with the National Agency of Employment and Skills (NAES), to actively look for jobs and to participate in various activation measures, current results are not encouraging. While the recipients of economic assistance benefits are largely people with low levels of educational attainment and, even though in 2015, about 54% of employment opportunities offered at the public employment agency were low-skilled jobs, yet only 5.8% of these jobs went to economic assistance recipients (UNICEF, 2019[6]). Scope also exists to increase efforts to enable labour market participation of disability allowance beneficiaries. Currently, only about 1% of disability allowance recipients (25 persons) participate in employment promotion programmes (Ministry of Finance and Economy, 2021[5]). This is very low considering that people with disabilities make up about 6.2% of the overall population, based on the 2011 census (Government of Albania, 2016[7]). The importance of implementing employment promotion programmes aimed at vulnerable groups was also stressed by the peer-learning participants from Albania as a means to reduce unemployment duration and the number of persons who live on welfare support (Table 9.1).

Effective implementation of ALMPs requires adequate capacities at the NAES and better collaboration with other stakeholders, including the private sector, social care services and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The effectiveness of ALMPs is further limited by the workload at the NEAS, where the number of job seekers per counsellor is about 329. While this is the lowest client-to-staff ratio in the region (Table 8.4 of Chapter 8), it remains high in comparison to international benchmarks (e.g. Slovenia has a ratio of 1:137), hampering the agency’s efforts to focus on hard-to-employ persons. NAES staff is also responsible for registering economic assistance recipients (means-tested benefit scheme) as unemployed, which further accentuates the administrative burden. Recent estimates show that even though about ten formal jobs are available per unemployed person, in terms of connecting people with jobs, the effectiveness gap between the average and the best performing NAES offices stood at 41% in 2016. Improvements designed to close this gap could increase job placements by 120% (Table 8.5 of Chapter 8) (World Bank, 2018[8]).

Recent restructuring of the NAES, with increased emphasis on skills and collaboration modalities with civil society organisations (CSOs) to reach out to vulnerable groups, is encouraging for fostering social cohesion through an integrated approach. By facilitating access to information and offering vocational training courses in the workplace, CSOs specialised in providing services to specific groups of women play an important role in improving their role in employment. CSOs, such as Different and Equal or the Centre for Human Rights in Democracy, promote and support integration into the labour market of victims of human trafficking and domestic violence (OECD, 2021[9]). At present, however, co-ordination between social welfare agencies and local NAES offices is still considered weak (OECD, 2021[9]).

In its efforts to create a socially cohesive society for all, Albania needs to create equal conditions for labour market participation for all, especially Roma and Egyptians. Although population estimates vary significantly, as many as 3.6% of the population of Albania could be Roma (European Commission, 2014[10]).1 Roma and Egyptians trail behind the rest of the population in many ways. They have low participation in the labour market and their labour market outcomes are significantly worse than those of other population groups: in 2017, only 18% of Roma participated in employment against 26% of non-Roma neighbours (Robayo-Abril and Millan, 2019[11]). Roma and Egyptians have very low health coverage and poor access to education, public services and infrastructure (European Commisision, 2019[12]).

Ensuring better opportunities to obtain high quality education is a key lever for creating employment opportunities for Roma and Egyptians. Some older estimates show that about half of Roma children aged 6-16 have never been enrolled in school (ACCE, 2013[13]) . At about 50%, Roma and Egyptian students have among the highest dropout rates in the country (Psacharopoulos, 2017[14]). Roughly 1% of Roma and 5% of Egyptians aged 7-20 have completed secondary education (Maghnouj et al., 2020[15]). Roma also lag in terms of education outcomes: with a literacy rate of about 65%, the Roma population are about 30 percentage points behind non-Roma (Psacharopoulos, 2017[14]). Although Roma are a considerably young population, a significant share of young persons (15-24) do not participate in employment, education and training: 76% in comparison to 37% of non-Roma neighbours (Robayo-Abril and Millan, 2019[11]).

Albania is making important efforts to improve educational outcomes for the Roma and Egyptian population. Recent policy responses include measures such as a textbook reimbursement programme and efforts to promote Roma and Egyptian identities as an integral part of Albania’s cultural heritage (Psacharopoulos, 2017[14]). The recent National Action Plan for the Integration of Roma and Egyptians 2015-2020 aims to further promote integration of these marginalised groups. Important progress has been made, especially in improving enrolment of Roma and Egyptian children in pre-school and compulsory education: against a 2015 baseline of 4 437 Roma and Egyptian children enrolled in pre-school and compulsory education, in just three years (i.e. by 2018), the number increased to 13 310 (CoE, 2020[16]).

Addressing discrimination and institutional barriers against Roma and Egyptians also matters to increase access to employment and public services. Roma and Egyptians are often victims of hidden discrimination, which affects their access to various public services. Based on 2015 estimates, 46% of Roma declared having been discriminated against in the preceding five years when looking for a job and 24% at the work place (Simon, Galanxhi and Dhono, 2015[17]). Lack of necessary documentation among Roma and Egyptians also affects access to basic services. Because they are neither regularly employed nor registered as unemployed, many members of these communities do not have health insurance cards (CoE, 2020[16]).

Further improving conditions across all sectors for labour market participation by women can contribute to boosting economic growth and greater social cohesion in Albania. Women’s employment outcomes do not lag significantly behind international benchmarks (Figure 8.4 of Chapter 8); however, women are more likely than men to work in low-income jobs. The overall gender pay gap (10.1% in 2019) is below the EU average (12.9%) but varies considerably among sectors. In production, in which about 63.8% of women work, the gender pay gap is 24.6% – more than double the average (UN Women, 2020[18]).

Overall, Albania has a solid normative framework in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination based on sex, and has invested in improving conditions to improve labour market participation of women, including through access to childcare. Albania has put in place important legislative frameworks on gender equality and women’s empowerment; on gender-based violence; on employment and economic empowerment; and on marriage and family. Despite progress, effort should made to address remaining gaps in various legislative frameworks. The law on Gender Equality (2008) is considered outdated, especially in light of the evolving context of women (UN Women, 2020[18]). Likewise, there is a rather narrow, force-based definition of sexual violence whereby the prosecution of sexual offences requires proof of physical resistance in all circumstances, with the risk that certain types of rape remain unpunished (CoE, 2017[19]). Albania’s performance in early childhood education and care (ECEC), an important element for women’s labour market participation, has been improving over recent years. At 75.1% in 2020, gross enrolment in pre-primary education is much higher than the regional average (50.3%), although still lower than the EU (99.9%) average (World Bank, 2021[20]). In 2018, Albania introduced a series of curriculum programmes for different age groups to improve the quality of ECEC as well as an assessment framework to help monitor early childhood learning and development (OECD, 2021[9]).

Improving reproductive healthcare services and availability of contraception can further increase women’s labour market participation by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. Albanian women, especially those living in rural and remote areas, have limited access to reproductive healthcare services, and are often unaware of the availability of such services. Within the region, Albania has the lowest share of women who use modern contraceptives; among currently married women, use of modern contraceptives has dropped from 11% in 2008-09 to 4% in 2017-18. Access to reproductive health services for adolescents is also inadequate. There is an urgent need to design and tailor appropriate services for this age group, considering the impact of unwanted pregnancies on girls (UN Women, 2020[18]). A preference for male heirs is evident. In combination with rapidly declining fertility rates, sex-selective abortions have skewed the birth sex ratio: the ratio of 111 boys born for every 100 girls is one of the highest in the world (OECD, 2021[1]).

Cultural norms also play a role in women’s low labour market participation and should be addressed through awareness raising, both in the education sector and among the general public. Albanian women spend over six times more time on unpaid household chores than men, compared with around two times more in comparable regional economies (such as Serbia) and in the OECD (OECD, 2019[21]). A 2017 revision to the Law “On Social Security” recognised the right of fathers to paternity leave, after the 63-day mandatory period for mothers, Paid parental leave for formal-sector employees can be up to one year, compared to just over 18 weeks for the OECD average (Ministry of Health and Social Protection/INSTAT, 2020[22]; OECD, 2019[23]). However, according to the recently published Gender Equality Index for the Republic of Albania, while half of women report caring for their children or elderly relatives, only one-quarter of men do and close to 90% of women cook daily against only 16% of men (INSTAT, 2020[24]). For one in ten women, the husband decides how their earnings will be used (UN Women, 2020[18]).

Improving property rights and ownership also matters for improving conditions for women to engage in the labour market and potentially to become entrepreneurs. In Albania, there are almost twice as many men landowners than women landowners. Most women landowners have a property share of less than 25% (UN Women, 2020[18]). The 2003 Family Code of Albania recognises property gained during marriage as joint property. The Law on the Registration of Immovable Property (2012) contains provisions on registering immovable property under joint ownership. However, implementation of the legislation has too often been hindered due to discriminatory practices at institutional and community levels and by women’s lack of knowledge of their rights. In the past, notaries often failed to include the wife’s name on contracts of ownership, and property was frequently registered under the name of male spouses only. In addition, the Law on Registration of Immovable properties is not applicable to properties registered before 2012 and does not provide for joint ownership in the case of cohabitation; as such, many women were not registered as legal (co-)owners of property (UN Women, 2020[18]). Limited ownership rights means that many women cannot use their property as a guarantee to access funding, which limits their potential labour market participation as entrepreneurs.

An inclusive and fair social security system calls for a combination of policies that encourage people to participate in formal employment and facilitate a rapid transition from unemployment to work. Due to the lack of adequate and stable employment opportunities, many people – especially the young – do not contribute to unemployment insurance long enough to qualify for unemployment benefits. While decreasing, youth unemployment in 2019 stood at 27% (World Bank/WIIW, 2021[4]). In addition, many long-term unemployed in Albania have lost their unemployment benefit entitlements, with an accompanying risk of exiting the labour market altogether, making future work less likely (Chapter 8). Likewise, among the self-employed (which make up 54.3% of total employment), only 41.6% were covered by social insurance (World Bank, 2021[20]; ILO, 2021[25]). As social security contributions finance more than half of social protection spending, low coverage among the working population jeopardises the financial sustainability of the system (ILO, 2021[25]).

Addressing adequacy of benefits, including levels and duration, could increase participation in the unemployment insurance scheme and encourage the unemployed to register and claim unemployment benefits. Only 2.2% of those registered as unemployed received unemployment benefits in 2017 (Ymeri, 2019[26]), indicating that unemployment benefits do not act as safety nets for many people. The unemployment benefit level in Albania is currently set at a fixed rate of ALL 13 000 or EUR 106, which equals 50% of the gross minimum wage. Unemployment benefits are also granted for a very limited time only (varying between 3 and 12 months), with a minimum contribution period of 12 months (ILO, 2021[27]). Considering that the at-risk-of-poverty threshold was EUR 1 339 in 2019 (Eurostat, 2021[3]), unemployment benefits of EUR 1 272 over a period of 12 months are low. Further, to receive a full year of unemployment benefits, a person would have to contribute for over ten years (SII, 2021[28]).

In view of rapid population ageing over the next decades and the current low social security contribution rates, addressing coverage can improve the financing of old-age pensions, an integral part of any social security system and a tool to foster social cohesion. Although Albania has one of the youngest populations in the region and in comparison to the benchmark economies, projections for the old-age dependency ratio show the share of persons aged 65 and above against those aged 20-64 will almost double from 24.1% in 2020 to 43.8% in 2050 (United Nations, 2020[29]). In addition, considering high long-term unemployment and the share of self-employed who do not contribute, increasing social security coverage is imperative: at present, only 40% of the working-age population is covered by the pension system (Musabelliu, 2021[30]). Failure to increase coverage could lead to high reliance on social pensions in the future, which currently amounts to only 55.6% of the monthly at-risk-of-poverty threshold (Table 8.A.1 of Chapter 8). In 2014, Albania removed caps on maximum benefits, linking contributions and payments to incentivise pension uptake, and introduced social pensions, which led to an overall improvement of the pension system’s fiscal sustainability.

Strengthening the economic assistance scheme through increased benefits and continued improvement of targeting could lead to faster poverty reduction. The economic assistance scheme (Ndihma ekonomike) is the sole means-tested social assistance scheme in Albania aimed at poverty reduction. Nevertheless, its impact of the economic assistance scheme on poverty reduction remains limited. In 2019, only about 8.7% of population were covered by the scheme (ILO, 2021[31]), which is low considering the poverty rate at 23% in 2019 (INSTAT, 2021[32]). The current economic assistance payment, which varies between EUR 40.70 and EUR 63.70 per month (Table 8.A.1 of Chapter 8), does not provide adequate support to persons in need (ILO, 2021[27]). To enable more effective targeting of the poor, recent reforms, undertaken in the context of the Social Assistance Modernization Project for Albania (supported by the World Bank), introduced changes in the scoring formula. The new formula minimises inclusion errors; however, there are indications of important exclusions due to the weighting criteria. Following the nationwide rollout of the formula in 2018, about 33% of beneficiaries were excluded from the scheme. The current formula gives higher weight to larger households, increasing the risk of excluding female-headed or single-person households, which are smaller in size. Indeed, following the rollout of the new formula, beneficiary families with four or fewer members significantly decreased (ILO, 2021[27]).

Improve assessment of disabilities and consider a financial rebalancing among different disability allowances to ensure assistance reaches those most in need. Disability allowance is another major social assistance programme in Albania. Over the years, the government has spent significant resources on disability allowance, whereas spending on economic assistance has been slightly decreasing since 2005 (Ymeri, 2019[26]). Although the disability benefits scheme does not clearly target the poor population, given the size of expenditures, the level and the type of assistance could potentially also take into consideration socio-economic status (UNICEF, 2019[6]). As part of ongoing efforts to reform economic assistance programme and disability allowance programmes, the Government of Albania is aiming (among other measures) to introduce a new model of disability assessment. The new approach will re-orient the disability assessment from the previous medical model toward the bio-psycho-social model.

Increase the integration of social assistance beneficiaries into the labour market. Linking beneficiaries with the labour market and providing them with employment opportunities can improve people’s prospects for an upward social mobility. As stressed by the peer-learning participants from Albania (Table 9.1), currently no “exit strategy” is in place for economic assistance beneficiaries when they reach the five-year legal limit to receive aid. Although social assistance beneficiaries are expected to register with the employment office, actively look for jobs and participate in various activation measures, results obtained so far are not encouraging, implying the need for an exit strategy (Table 9.1).

Establishing community integrated social services is one of the key policy priorities that emerged from the peer-learning workshops. As indicated in Chapter 8, community integrated social services encompasses a range of approaches and methods for achieving greater co-ordination and effectiveness between different services, such as elderly care, healthcare, education and others, with the objective to achieve improved outcomes for services users.2 During the OECD peer-learning workshop, participants stressed the importance of community integrated services as a key lever to strengthen social protection, deliver social care services and reduce long-term dependency on social welfare through better labour market integration.

To create an integrated approach, it would be important to build adequate capacities within local governments, which should be on the frontline of delivering community integrated social services. Local governments generally have a good knowledge of challenges and needs of vulnerable groups. Indeed, the decentralisation process over the last decade has given them a great deal of responsibility over social care services (Table 8.7 of Chapter 8). In Albania, however, local government revenues represented only 13.3% of total public revenues in 2019, indicating a very limited scope for implementing social care services. Transfers from central government fill in some of the gap (Figure 8.14 of Chapter 8); however, some of these transfers are earmarked and undermine the capacity of local authorities to spend resources autonomously. Likewise, most of these transfers are block grants and are distributed based on demographic parameters that are likely outdated. The number of residents, for instance, is based on 2011 census data and civil registration offices, which might not factor in migration flows within the country and abroad (AAM/HSS, 2019[33]).

More collaborative efforts are needed to create a community integrated social services in Albania considering the low levels of social care services. While existing social care services have significant potential to increase social cohesion in Albania, overall coverage is rather low. In 2020, the services covered only 0.56% of the population, representing about 16 000 users. Albania provides all types of services defined by law, including pre-social services and specialised services as of 2020.3 In about 6 of 61 municipalities there are no social services. Where social care services do exist, they are often under-funded and of poor quality (ILO, 2021[27]). The lack of public social care services is often compensated by CSOs – about 46% of social services are provided by non-public centres (Republic of Albania Council of Ministers, 2021[34]).

Improving social housing, which was put forward by the peer-learning participants as one of the key issues hampering social cohesion in Albania, should be a key element of a community integrated approach. In Albania, several priority groups of beneficiaries could benefit from social housing: single-parent households, large families, older adults, people with disabilities, young couples, households who have changed residence, orphans, returning emigrants, migrant workers, asylum-seekers, families of fallen officers, victims of domestic violence, the Roma and Egyptian communities, and recipients of economic assistance. In 2018, only 1 545 households (12.8% of all applicants) benefited from social housing, highlighting the need for more housing. While the government of Albania increased spending on social housing by 30% in 2019, the envisaged budget covers only about 25% of the social housing needs in Albania. In addition, while the Law on Social Housing (Law 22/2018) gives an important role to municipalities, they often lack adequate tools and instruments to collect and analyse data on social housing needs. This is especially important as allocation of funds to each municipality depends on a scoring system that considers the number of beneficiaries; the type of project; the average income per person in the municipality; the cost per family; the number of applications per municipality and other criteria. In 2018, only 30 municipalities (of 61) submitted data on the number of applications for low-cost housing programmes (Jorgoni, 2019[35]). The peer-learning participants also stressed that limited social housing is also hampering the socio-economic integration of residents in care institutions. In Albania, a significant number of families, children and women live in accommodation for the homeless, limiting their process for socio-economic integration.4

Social care services could benefit from the recently established Social Fund but would require increased local capacities. The Social Fund was established in Albania in 2018 to address the challenges that municipalities face in funding social care services. The fund was set up as a temporary mechanism to provide seed funding to local governments in the short term. It provides financial support of up to 90% funding in the first year, up to 60% in the second year, and 30% subsequently (ILO, 2021[27]). To obtain funding, municipalities need to draft Social Care Plans, assessing the overall costs for services and the share that can be covered by the municipality budget. To date, 60 municipalities have drafted, approved and budgeted the social care plans with the support of international partners, outlining the needs of vulnerable communities and the services that need to be established in response. Through the Social Fund, three specialised mobile services for children with disabilities and one specialised home assistance have been established.5

Increasing socio-economic integration of social welfare beneficiaries was selected as a key peer-learning priority in Albania, cutting across the policy areas mentioned above. The National Strategy for Social Protection 2020-23 of Albania has already acknowledged the importance of integrating specific policies and programmes to reduce poverty and increase people’s capacities to protect themselves from risks and lack of income.

The participants in the peer-learning phase proposed an action plan to support the National Strategy for Social Protection 2020-2023. The action plan outlines five specific actions, accompanied by policy options (“How to get there”) and requirements (“What is needed”) necessary to realise specific objectives. It also includes indicators that may serve as basis for monitoring implementation (Table 9.1). The five actions include:

  • Reduce unemployment duration and long-term welfare dependency

  • Establish community-integrated social care services

  • Integrate administrative procedures for cash assistance programmes, employment and social care services

  • Support social inclusion and integration of care institution residents

  • Ensure social inclusion of marginalised and vulnerable groups through availability of housing alternatives

To monitor the policy progress in improving the socio-economic integration of welfare beneficiaries and addressing other policy priorities in Albania, the OECD suggests a set of key indicators. These are set out in Table 9.2 which includes values for Albania and benchmark countries (either the OECD or the EU average, based on data availability).


[33] AAM/HSS (2019), Local Government in Albania: Statuts Report, Association of Albanian Municipalities/Hanns Seidel Foundation, Tirana, https://portavendore.al/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Local-Government-in-Albania.pdf (accessed on 16 July 2021).

[13] ACCE (2013), Albania: The Situation of Pre-University Education, Albanian Coalition for Child Education, Tirana, https://www.acce.al/sites/default/files/download/research/Albania%20report%20on%20the%20situation%20of%20pre-university%20education%202013.pdf (accessed on 9 November 2021).

[16] CoE (2020), ECRI report on Albania - sixth monitoring cycle, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance/Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, France, https://rm.coe.int/report-on-albania-6th-monitoring-cycle-/16809e8241 (accessed on 26 October 2021).

[19] CoE (2017), Evaluation Report on legislative and other measures giving effect to the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence - Albania, https://rm.coe.int/grevio-first-baseline-report-on-albania/16807688a7 (accessed on 9 November 2021).

[41] CoE (2007), Integrated social services in Europe, Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, https://www.coe.int/t/dg3/socialpolicies/socialrights/source/Publication_Integrated%20social%20services%20in%20Europe%20E%20(2).pdf.

[37] CPESSEC (2019), Statistical Bulletin No. 9, Centre of Public Employment Services of Southeast European Countries, https://www.docdroid.net/qvBC3jr/statisticki-bilten-br-9-cpessec-finalno-converted-pdf.

[12] European Commisision (2019), “Albania 2019 Report Accompanying the document Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions 2019 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy”, Commission Staff Working Document, European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/default/files/20190529-albania-report.pdf (accessed on 24 June 2021).

[40] European Commission (2016), Assessment Report on PES Capacity, European Commission, Brussels, https://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=16967&langId=en.

[10] European Commission (2014), Roma Integration: Commission Assessment, European Commission, Brussels, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEMO_14_249 (accessed on 24 September 2021).

[3] Eurostat (2021), Eurostat (database), European Statistical Office, Luxembourg City, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database (accessed on 6 July 2020).

[7] Government of Albania (2016), National Action Plan on Persons with Disabilities (2016-2020), https://www.al.undp.org/content/albania/en/home/library/poverty/national-action-plan-persons-with-disabilities-2016-2020.html (accessed on 9 November 2021).

[31] ILO (2021), Decentralization in Albania: What does Albania need to do to build a comprehensive social protection system?, International Labour Organization website, International Labour Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, https://www.ilo.org/budapest/whats-new/WCMS_804299/lang--en/index.htm (accessed on 17 August 2021).

[25] ILO (2021), Fiscal space for financing social protection in Albania, International Labour Organization Decent Work Technical Support Team/Country Office for Central and Eastern Europe, Budapest.

[36] ILO (2021), ILOStat, (database), International Labour Organization, Geneva, https://ilostat.ilo.org/data/ (accessed on 15 May 2020).

[27] ILO (2021), Review of social protection system in Albania, International Labour Organization, Budapest, http://www.ilo.org/budapest/what-we-do/publications/WCMS_798635/lang--en/index.htm (accessed on 24 June 2021).

[32] INSTAT (2021), Statistical database (database), Institute of Statistics, Tirana, http://databaza.instat.gov.al/pxweb/en/DST/START__TP__LFS__LFSV/NewLFSY014/table/tableViewLayout2/?rxid=98597ad7-c300-4ec3-9f55-a5f38adc170d (accessed on 8 July 2021).

[24] INSTAT (2020), Gender Equality Index in Albania, Institute of Statistics, Tirana, http://www.instat.gov.al/media/6661/gender_equality_index_for_the_republic_of_albania_2020.pdf.

[2] INSTAT (2020), Regional Statistical Yearbook, Institute of Statistics, Tirana, http://www.instat.gov.al/media/7853/regional-statistical-yearbook-2020.pdf (accessed on 24 June 2021).

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← 1. Data are based on the 2011 census and might be underestimated (Simon, Galanxhi and Dhono, 2015[17]). No exact population data are available for Egyptians in this report.

← 2. Definition from the Council of Europe (CoE, 2007[41]).

← 3. Information provided by the Ministry Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Albania.

← 4. At present, 37 families live in emergency shelters, 306 orphans (aged 18-45) live in dormitories, 703 children live in residential institutions and 135 women live in women’s shelters or refuge institutions (Jorgoni, 2019[35]).

← 5. Information provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Albania.

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