TIRANA – The Delegation of the European Union to Albania signed today a financial agreement of EUR 3.5 million which will go to support the consolidation of the Territorial and Administrative Reform in Albania. The EU contribution to the STAR 2 project is part of an enhanced cooperation between the EU and Albania in the field of local governance.
Yngve Engström, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of European Union to Albania signed the agreement with Brian Williams, UNDP Resident Representative.
This funding will go to strengthen institutional and administrative capacities of local governance units, increase quality of local service delivery and enhance good governance through citizen oriented and participatory decision-making. The STAR2 interventions will contribute to the strategic objective of advancing Albania’s European Union accession process.
“Local and regional authorities are vital to the democratic life of the European Union and are key actors in the conception and implementation of common European policies. It is our expectation that this EU contribution will result in improved quality of local democracy and service delivery for the citizens and businesses,” said Engström of the EU Delegation, adding that in order to achieve successful decentralization of powers, the government needs now to provide the local level with sufficient financial resources, predictable for planning purposes, and transparent in terms of funds allocation.
Brian Williams, the UNDP Resident Representative highlighted: “This is the last contribution for this year, so it means that all partners have contributed by their own funds. We are very pleased that EU has joined STAR 2 and we think this is a vote of confidence in the vital importance of this program and this reform”.
Bledi Cuci, Minister of Local State for Local issue, present at the signing ceremony underlined: “We feel more secure now that the European Union has joined STAR 2 project, in the most important moment, that of implementation and the EU will contribute in what is perhaps the most key component, that of continuing training of the local administration to exercise their new functions, transferred due to decentralization”.
“Support to Territorial and Administrative Reform” (STAR) 2 enjoys support by a number of international development partners through a pooled funding mechanism. International partners include: the European Union, the Government of Sweden through Swedish International Development Agency, the Government of Italy through Italian Development Cooperation, Swiss Government through Swiss Development Cooperation, the United States through the United States Agency for International Development and UNDP.