As part of Albania's path towards EU accession, between October 2019 and January 2021, the Bank of Italy coordinated a twinning project in favour of the Bank of Albania (BoA), aimed at facilitating the BoA's convergence towards EU standards. The Deutsche Bundesbank (junior partner), Banca Naţională a României and Banque de France contributed to the execution of the project, which was funded by the European Union.
The activities covered a wide range of BoA functions:
- In the domain of supervisory and macroprudential regulation, new provisions aligned with EU standards were introduced relating to capital adequacy. In addition, several recommendations issued by the European Systemic Risk Board were implemented.
- A new version of the BoA's Monetary Policy Report and a statistical data warehouse for macroeconomic analysis and forecasting were also introduced. Monetary and financial statistics were refined and expanded thanks to a more robust and efficient data management system.
- Some of the provisions of the Payment Accounts Directive (PAD) were implemented, and significant progress was made towards the adoption of ECB standards in the domain of payment system oversight and in increasing awareness of cyber-risks in online payments. A roadmap was drawn up for adapting the Albanian payment system to the Eurosystem's TARGET2 platform; in addition the indication was given that participating in an already existing IP system like TIPS may be optimal from a cost and time-to-market standpoint.
- As regards the BoA's internal organization, the human resources and internal audit functions were strengthened to harmonize them with ECB/ESCB standards.
- A policy paper was drawn up with recommendations concerning the BoA's European integration process.
The work carried out in recent months, which benefited from the skills and commitment of a significant number of experts from the central banks involved, made it possible to achieve all the objectives set by the twinning projects. Overall, some 73 experts from Italy, Germany, Romania and France were involved in conducting on-the-job training, consultancy and assistance activities. Owing to the global health crisis, which worsened in Europe in March 2020, the activities relating to the twinning project were promptly adapted to the new remote working needs, with no adverse impact on the expected results.
The BoA's strong commitment and the spirit of cooperation of its European partners contributed to the success of the initiative, which reinforces the close relations between the central banks of Italy and Albania and with the other European institutions.