Albania Unitary state


In recent years, additional competences have been transferred to Albanian towns and municipalities which have strengthened the role they play.

Already under way, a territorial reform plans for the transfer of certain competences in favour of towns and municipalities. This concerns water distribution, waste management and forest management. The local level is thus strengthened, in keeping with a desire for greater integration of the country at European level.

At the same time, and even though the country’s local and regional authorities do not seem to have suffered from any major consequences as a result of the economic and financial crisis, they have usually set up programmes to streamline activities, improve efficiency and reduce costs. In addition, the government has been trying to encourage inter-municipal cooperation, a solution increasingly favoured by towns and municipalities for the management of certain local public services.

Lastly, it should be noted that a project is currently being discussed, the purpose of which is the consolidation of the 12 existing regions into around 4 to 6 larger entities. The immediate objective of this project is to bring the size, organisation and competences of these entities into line with European NUTS-2 standards, used in managing the structural funds.

Local self-government in Albania:

The reforms currently being carried out strengthen the self-government of local and regional authorities by assigning them new powers, while also allowing them to better fulfil their duties through transfers of sufficient funding. The country is also seeking to comply with the European principles behind the principle of subsidiarity and self-government.


  • The decentralisation process began in 2000 with the adoption of the “Decentralisation Strategy”, which divided the country into counties, municipalities and communes.
  • The “Inter-Sectoral Strategy for Regional Development” was adopted in 2007, but has yet to be implemented.
  • In 2015, there were further local government reforms, municipalities were given new powers, and the number of municipalities was cut from 373 to 61.