Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth was committed that during 4 year mandate will set reforms and would make visible changes in Albania, during March they continued with many activities notwithstanding posts in social networks. Actual government continuously exposes the willingness to be fair and transparent to public, in context of public information and the “excavation in the depth of transparency”, it was evidenced that in the report of budget for 2015 published by Ministry of Finance, MSWY has the highest expenses more than 25% of the total expanses of all Ministries. Does really MSWY is doing the largest portion of activities to have the majority of expenses from the budget? Therefore, this report aims at improving the work of the Ministry, identification of problems and continuity /not continuity of fulfilment the promises. The main issues identified throughout March 2015 are:
Pension reforms: Retirement age toward European average
New schema of pensions started to be applied in the beginning of 2015, one of the main stimulations that the new schema is expected to achieve are declarations of real incomes from employees that actually are in work relations, this would be the only way to have higher pensions in the future. Ministry Mr Veliaj is expressed that new reform and increasing of retirement age (65 year for female that will be achieved in 2032 and 67 years for male that will start to be increased by 1 month from 2025 and will be achieved in 2052) will benefit retirees and perspective retiree with higher pensions, supported by Head of Health Services (ISSH) Mrs Vjollca Braho, who in the report published in March 2015 qualifies reforms as one of the main important achievements of institutions for 2014.
In the end of last year government made public the details of pension’s reform noting that it will be fulfilled gradually in order to avoid negative effect on society and to make it more acceptable for people. During March Prime Minister Mr Rama and Minister Mr Veliaj inaugurated new offices of Health Services Institution, in the framework of pension’s reform and health services, Prime Minister in his speech said that the services for pensioners will be improved gradually starting with better conditions in the offices of servicing. In March for the first time pensioners started to feel the change in their incomes by benefiting from the reform.
Constructive part of the reform is removal of ceiling of pensions, based on estimation done with the new formula, removal of ceiling leads to increase in pensions for all categories and sectors of retirees (Comprehensive reform and the reformed calculation of pensions will be attached in the references). Added value of the reform are pensions for retirees above 70 years, who do not fulfil the requirements of 15 years work experience, benefiting 6750 leke monthly pensions. Effectiveness and efficiency of reform is still early to be evaluated as the implementation will be seen in future. The biggest challenge of implementation of the reform is the long-time framework of realization of it. Would the reform be implemented if the actual government will lose in next elections? In the other side the government budget of 2015 have given 12 million USD for increase of pensions also agreeing not to apply the increase of the inflation.
Unemployment on the rise?!
In March INSTAT published the last statistical report expressing increased number of unemployed people in Albania. In the last quarter of 2014 unemployment was 18% from 17.4% that is was in the third quarter. In contradiction to this Mr Veliaj in all his speeches in public (one of them personally attended) “boasts” for achievements and realization of reforms, as we all are informed about the priorities that MSWY gives to employment of youth, increased percentage of unemployment and declaration (also from Prime Minster Mr Rama) that total number of employed people is increased and legal employment is increased during their governing its not ethical. Up to this point as unemployment is higher, despite that GDP is increased and the transition report for Albania expresses higher social and economic standards, program of MSWY is toward failure of realization. Productivity of employment program of the ministry is expected to be seen in the report of INSTAT for 2015…
Opening of State Security files, focus on lustration or transparency?!
The issue of opening files and lustration is part of the agenda from the beginning of 1991 when de-communization process started. After election of 1992, a working group part of which was also Aleksander Meksi provided designing a draft law that was later realized with decision no, 407 to Council of Ministers on 9/21/1992 “To recognize the degree of preservation and documentation status of the former Ministry of Internal Affairs’, this was the most important step to continue further in future with opening of the files. A large number of files were destroyed according to law 55 (Law no. 7380 dated 08.05.1990) that were considered unnecessary by the government of that time. In one of our televisions in a debate former head of State Security Fatos Klosi, said that files can be opened but a large number of them does not exist anymore, they were eliminated.
It is not surprising that this issue was reopened now for the public, while local elections are the main focus of political parties. Winning of electorate by exploiting achievements of government was always part of policies of Albania. Declaration of Mr Rama on 22nd of November in the inauguration of Bunkart for the opening of files was the resumption of the debate. Surprisingly opening of files was proposed by Ministry of Welfare, but bleaching of justice on the issues and problems of state security at the time of communism must be resolved by the Ministry of Justice, and if somebody should be involved in this process is Ministry of Home Affairs where files are stored in archive. Question is raised about the initiative and “forced tendency” that MSWY has on this issues and the benefits that can come from this process for them?! Ministry of Mr Veliaj said that; “opening of files and lustration will be done based on the German model”, Germany for 25 years is continuing the process of opening the files of STASS. But we are not in the same situation as Germany was in that time, half of Germany (Western Germany) had passed the problems and were “spiritually clean” but in Albania democracy and transparency are still in transition process.
Necessarily opening of the files is inevitable process, it will happen soon or later, as the separation with the past and facing of the truth of communist period is the only way to continue governing of the state in democracy. But a specific model should be constructed by a group of professionals who know the communist and democratic governing way of Albania and have analysed in details all models of the former communist countries that have completed this process before, to achieve to construct an efficient and specific model for Albania.
Opening of the files
Employment and Budget of 2015