Challenges: A NATO ally, Albania struggles with wide-spread corruption, weak institutions, and a limited economy, but continues to be an active and willing partner for the United States in regional security efforts.
Transnational organized criminal networks based in the Balkans and abroad have a direct impact on the United States through criminal activities, some internet based and some through trafficking.
Goals: The United States. seeks to foster a democratic and stable Albania that is fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community and adheres to the rule of law. INL programs work to strengthen the rule of law and build the capabilities of Albanian law enforcement to more effectively interdict crime and serve as capable partners on transnational criminal threats. Programs also promote judicial accountability and the long-term development of the criminal justice system through improved legislation reforms and the successful prosecution of organized crime, corruption, and financial crimes.
Accomplishments: INL assistance to the Government of Albania contributed to the following successes:
- Establishment of the Joint Investigative Units (JIU) comprised of police and prosecutors tasked with investigating corruption cases. This successful model from Tirana has been replicated in six other cities.
- Adoption of constitutional amendments and legislation necessary for investigating and prosecuting corruption and organized crime: a constitutional amendment limiting immunity for high officials and judges; an anti-Mafia civil asset forfeiture law, and a witness protection law.
- Removal of Albania’s ports from the US Coast Guard’s “black list” of ports that did not meet international security standards. The 2009 US Coast Guard inspection found Albania to be in compliance with the International Ship and Port Security Code (ISPS) standards.
- Establishment of a Marine Administration to oversee the operations of port facilities and vessels operating under the Albanian flag.
- Improved transparency in hiring practices in the Albanian State Police (ASP)- widely publicized vacancy announcements; standardized, anonymous written testing; physical and psychological screening; and physical agility testing