Albania has a mixed record of progress which shows the duality between fast institutional changes and actual resistance to implementation: While several major reforms were advanced, many steps have been delayed, obstructed or deformed. The judicial reform has moved to institutionalize a new judicial architecture and vet a significant proportion of members of the existing system.

The state of economic reform is less optimistic, mostly due to the negative effects of the earthquake at the end of 2019 and the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. Specifically, the already low level of tax revenue has deteriorated further, while public debt reached a record high.

The European Union closely monitored the reform processes. In 2020, the European Council voted unanimously to open accession negotiations with Albania. Reform consolidation will require building up bureaucratic expertise through the meritocratic selection and promotion of state officials. Only in this way can Albania break the deep-seated system of political patronage, abuse of public office, and weak and controlled institutions.

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