EU-Albania 13th Subcommittee on Internal Market and Competition

by Cristian Florescu

The 13th Subcommittee meeting on Internal Market and Competition between the EU and Albania took place on 5 May 2022 in Brussels. Representatives from the European Commission (Commission) discussed with relevant Albanian authorities the most recent developments in these areas. The meeting was co-chaired for the EU by Mr Zbigniew Zach, Permanent Secretary for the Subcommittee at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, and for Albania by Mr Besart Kadia, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economy.

In the area of competition policy, the Commission welcomed plans to further align the legal framework with the EU acquis. Particular attention was given to State aid, where the Commission emphasised the need to ensure the operational independence of the State Aid Commission and to develop a robust enforcement record.

As regards intellectual property rights, the Commission welcomed the alignment of the legislation with EU Directives on certain permitted uses of orphan works, the Marrakesh Treaty and in the area of trade secrets. Albania was encouraged to continue making progress in the enforcement of intellectual property rights, particularly in the fight against counterfeit goods.

In the area of public procurement, the Commission welcomed the progress achieved by the Albanian authorities in the past year, particularly regarding the launch of e-appeals and e-complaints systems. The Commission reiterated that all legal and financial instruments used in the area of public procurement and concessions, including those coming under inter-governmental agreements concluded with third countries, should comply with the principles of transparency, competition, equal treatment and non-discrimination. The Commission encouraged the Albanian authorities to further align their legal framework with the Concessions Directive.

On the freedom to provide services, the Commission noted the progress made in the screening of legislation with a view to aligning it with the Services Directive. As regards postal services, the Commission welcomed adopted amendments to align the legislation with the EU Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services. Significant efforts are still needed to prepare for the EU system of mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

On financial services, the Commission noted good progress in alignment with the legal framework with the Payments Services Regulation and continued efforts to align the Albanian banking supervision with international and EU standards and address the problem of non-performing loans. On company law and corporate reporting, the Commission encouraged the authorities to continue the process of aligning the legislation with the EU acquis.

In the area of health protection, the Commission informed on EU initiatives to strengthen the resilience of the health systems. The Commission urged Albania to make further progress in the alignment of its legislation with the EU acquis on tobacco control, substances of human origin, medicinal products and cross-border health care. The Commission also encouraged Albania to adopt an antimicrobial resistance action plan and to continue reforms, in particular, to improve access to public health services for vulnerable populations. The Commission noted the plans of the authorities to further align the legal framework with the EU acquis in the area of consumer protection.

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