FORMAL DECENTRALIZATION OF LOCAL GOVERNANCE IN ALBANIA
This article presents an argument on the regional effects of migration on Albanian administrative-territorial reform and its consolidation. Many researchers of local politics support the thesis that an important demographic change is accompanied by a change related to the quality of service at local governance level. Compare to the Western and Eastern European countries, only in the early 1960s, Albania witnessed the introduction of the first regional and urban strategies. The strategy was used to limit the expansion of large towns and to encourage the development of small and medium-sized towns. Furthermore, there are a limited number of case studies based on migration data at regional level. This is why territorial reforms should often reflect ongoing demographic changes to minimize the effects caused by overpopulation, or significant reduction of the number of population in a local unit, with respect to quality of service offered to the citizens. We discuss the research question of “how will the demographic development, i.e. natural development of population as well as internal migration, affect different types of Albanian regions?” as well as “what is the impact of demographic movements on the quality of local governance?”
Based on the interpretation of some regional units, i.e. Tirana, Durres, and Fier, it is confirmed that the demographic movements in the last twenty years in Albania have brought about some changes. In some local units, the number of inhabitants is significantly reduced, while some other local units are overpopulated. This new reality leads to implications in economic, social and cultural aspects; and most importantly, we noticed an increasing dependency of local government on the central government. We further claim that local and regional authorities must participate in accordance with the “partnership” principle. Under these conditions, it is necessary to plan a new territorial division.
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