Projects funded by IPA EU funds in Bank of Albania
In 2014, Albania received the status of candidate country as a result of Albania's reform efforts in recent years and acknowledgement of the European Union (EU) for the progress achieved so far. Bank of Albania (BoA) played a key role in this process due to its contribution to the achievement of the macroeconomic stability. The European Union continues to work closely together with the Albanian institutions to support reforms and prepare the Country for the next steps to be accomplished for the integration process. In this regard, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European System of Central Banks have supported the Bank of Albania in achieving its objectives with a view to the European integration process of the country.
1. October 2019: The Twinning Project “Enhancing Bank of Albania’s alignment with EU Acquis” funded under IPA 2015 programmes. The project started on October 2019 and is led by Banca d’Italia, with the Deutsche Bundesbank as junior partner and the contribution of the National Bank of Romania and the Banque de France.
The objectives of the Project are to provide support to the Bank of Albania (BoA) to strengthen: macroeconomic, financial stability, auditing, supervision and payment system in its preparation for membership in the ESCB and eventually the Euro system. The project is divided into the following sub-components:
- Sub-Component 1.1 Banking Regulation: aims at supporting the Bank of Albania in developing new sub legal acts for the implementation of the most recent Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) standards and guidelines - among which a prominent role plays Basel III standards - in line with the European acts implementing such standards and guidelines in the EU;
- Sub-Component 1.2 Financial Stability: This sub-component aims at supporting the Bank of Albania in assessing its compliance to the EU macro prudential rules and framework, with a particular focus on the need for approximation to ESRB recommendations. A new policy paper would then need to be drafted;
- Sub-Component 2.1 Monetary Policy: The main objective of the monetary policy sub-component of the twinning program is to improve the Bank of Albania’s quarterly Monetary Policy Report in terms of effectiveness of the communication about the stance of monetary policy to the public;
- Sub-Component 2.2 Statistics: A new manual aiming at aligning the Bank of Albania’s monetary statistics and financial accounts with the ECB standards;
- Sub-Component 3 Internal Audit: aims at strengthening auditing capacity functions in accordance with the European framework and International best practices;
- Sub-Component 4.1 Payment Systems: This sub-component aims at supporting the Bank of Albania in developing new sub legal acts required to complete the implementation of the European Union Payment Account Directive, which has introduced new rules aimed at strengthening customer protection and comparability of costs related to payment accounts for consumers;
- Sub-Component 4.2 Payment Systems: This sub-component aims at supporting the Bank of Albania in defining: (i) an oversight policy framework in coherence with the Eurosystem approach and (ii) a set of recommendations for security of internet payments in accordance with the Securepay Forum and EBA regulations;
- Sub-Component 4.3 Payment Systems: The aim is to develop a gap analysis followed by a roadmap on ECB Target 2 system;
- Sub-Component 5.1 Human Resources: aims at developing new guidelines aiming to approximate to ECB standards regarding the recruitment process, recruitment of external applicants and conditions of staff employment.
- Sub-Component 5.2 European Integration: aims to prepare the structure and fundamentals for a roadmap to design the role and challenges of the European Integration Office, in ways that can lead to the development of a successful outcome.
During the first phase of the Twinning project an intense activity between the experts of both the Member States and the Beneficiary Country was on the refinements and calibration of the Twinning Project program. To this aim, the Resident Twinning Advisor (RTA) had several meetings with the Heads of various Departments and the staff of the Bank of Albania, in order to design an effective and efficient work-plan. On the 19th of December the kick-off visibility event of the Project was organized at the premises of the Bank of Albania (Press Release and the Governor’s speech).
Until end February, almost all activities proceeded regularly and in a very fruitful manner.
However, the second quarter of the Twinning project has been disrupted by the outbreak of the Covid-19. Due to this situation, the project restarted on remote mode on 1st of July 2020, through videoconferences and it is foreseen to be concluded on 18 January 2021.
2. March 2019 The Programme “Strengthening the Central Bank Capacities in the Western Balkans with a View to the Integration to the European System of Central Banks” is a EU-funded project for central banks and banking supervisory institutions in the six Western Balkans countries: Bank of Albania, the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Banking Agency of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Banking Agency of Republika Srpska, the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo, the Central Bank of Montenegro, the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia and the National Bank of Serbia. The aim of the programme is to further strengthen the institutional capacities of the final beneficiary institutions, notably by further enhancing their analytical and policy tools and by transferring the best international and European standards into national practices.
The Deutsche Bundesbank, together with 17 national central banks, and with contributions by the ECB, has organized an intensive regional training programme on key central banking and supervisory issues consisting of 20 training events with capacity for up to 360 training places. The remaining training activities will focus particularly in the areas of: banking supervision, financial stability, financial consumer protection and financial inclusion, recovery and resolution, monetary policy, payment systems, statistics, compliance and EU integration, governance policies, accounting and internal audit, and will be provided by experts from the national central banks of the ESCB and the ECB. There will also be two policy workshops for decision-makers on resolution of non-performing loans and governance issues. Last but not least, in addition to the regional training events, the programme will finance the implementation of specific bilateral measures to be defined in the meetings of the Programme Steering Committee.
2014: The Need Analysis Project for Bank of Albania led by European Central Bank, in partnership with 11 Central Banks of EU. This project was implemented within the broader context of ECB’s “Technical cooperation with central banks of Western Balkan countries, to prepare their central banks for membership of the European System of Central banks (ESCB)”. The beneficiaries were the central banks of EU candidate and potential candidate countries in this region. The Project for BoA was funded through the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance 2013. The purpose of this Project was to strengthen its institutional capacities, through the identification of legal and organizational criteria, as well as the needed resources for approximation to the standard institutional and operational framework of the ECB, in view of Albania’s integration in the EU and, consequently, of bank of Albania’s in the ESCB. The Project with the ECB and partner central banks was implemented in three stages and focused on 14 functions of the Bank of Albania: Finance/Accounting; Financial Stability; European Integration; Communication; Human Resources; Internal Audit; Banknotes; Legal; Monetary operations; Monetary Policy; Payment System; Statistics; Banking Supervision; Information Technology.
In the first stage, operational objectives serving as benchmarks for the next stages were identified, reflecting the standards/minimum requirements that bank of Albania should meet under the EU accession process. In the second stage, after defining and agreeing on the benchmarks, the experts from EU central banks had stock-taking missions at the bank of Albania, meeting with the experts and managers of each field to assess the actual status of the bank of Albania in each of the 13 fields of the Project. During the third and final stage, the gap between the actual framework of the Bank of Albania and the set benchmark operational objectives was assessed. In the final report, the experts emphasised that Bank of Albania has made considerable progress in implementing its tasks. Overall, their analysis points out that Bank of Albania is a professional institution, strategically concentrated, transparent and with good technical capacities. Many regulations and practices of the bank of Albania are in line with European standards. While the report focuses on the regulations and procedures that still need to be approximated to the European Union framework, it highlights that central bank experts commend the achievements of the bank of Albania related to EU membership.
2010 -2012: The Twinning Programme “Strengthening the institutional capacity of the Albanian Central Bank, particularly in the areas of banking supervision, statistics, payment systems and the implementation of monetary policy” in favour of the Bank of Albania (BoA) was funded by the European Commission for the first time through Instrument of Pre-Accession funds, and was managed by Banca d'Italia in cooperation with Banque de France. The three central banks were involved in the Project for 20 months. In the first place a gap analysis was conducted on BoA's operating procedures - comparing them with Eurosystem best practices - and corrective actions were identified and agreed upon in order to bring BoA's structural functions closer to EU standards. Banking supervision, financial literacy, statistics, payment systems, interbank money market and the EU integration process were the sectors of intervention. Then, on the basis of the results of the gap analysis, a number of technical assistance activities were organized, such as workshops, seminars, conferences and practical training activities, together with study visits to both Banca d'Italia and Banque de France. The Twinning was extended by 2 months beyond the 18 months initially foreseen; during the extension, starting from the results achieved by the Twinning, guidelines were defined for future developments in each sector and additional actions defined that could allow BoA to come closer to EU standards.
The official Twinning closing ceremony was held in Tirana on 16 July 2012, in the presence of representatives of the Albanian government and financial system. The event provided an opportunity to illustrate the contribution of the Project to strengthening the BoA's methodologies and working practices.