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Renewed EU support for key Albania reforms

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imageOn 13 November, the European Commission adopted the 2013 national programme for Albania under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). The €82 million programme will finance 19 programmes tailored to the specific needs of the country, supporting reforms and investments in key areas such as governance, justice and home affairs, transport, environment, employment and social inclusion, as well as agriculture and rural development.

"Albania has shown its commitment to the integration process, which was reflected by the recent Commission's recommendation to grant the country candidate status. Reforms, however, need to be sustained and I am confident that this year's programme will help Albania do that and bring positive change to the lives of its citizens," said Commissioner Füle.

As a strategic priority, the programme will help strengthen the independence and efficiency of justice and improve the fight against corruption and organized crime. The funding will support concrete reforms in the area of public administration, with the ultimate aim of increasing the trust of the Albanians in their own State administration.

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Support will also go to environmental protection, including the management of waste, which is one of the most important challenges Albania will have to cope with in the years ahead. Socio-economic development will be supported with dedicated measures to uphold SMEs and to improve the performance of the government's labour and social policies.

The funding will further help the country prepare for the future national management of EU funds for agriculture and will finance small and medium scale investment measures to support farmers. Strategic infrastructure projects in rural areas will be implemented to rehabilitate the network of secondary roads and construct efficient water supply systems.

For the first time, the IPA annual programme includes a set of projects, which will be directly implemented by the Albanian administration through grant and procurement procedures, as soon as the country gets the green light by the Commission to manage IPA funds.

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Kazakh president sets out five priorities for #Kazakhstan’s 'Third Stage of Modernization' 

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In his annual address to the nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, announced five main priorities as part of what he described as “Kazakhstan’s third stage of modernization”. The priorities are aimed at ensuring economic growth and supporting the country to become one of the top 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050.

The five priorities are: Acceleration of technological modernization of the economy, improved business environment, macroeconomic stability, improved quality of human capital and institutional reforms, including improved security and more action to tackle corruption.

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President Nazarbayev said in his annual address: “I am setting the task of ensuring the implementation of the Third Modernisation of Kazakhstan. It is necessary to create a new model of economic growth that will ensure the country's global competitiveness.”

He added: “This modernization is not a plan to combat current global challenges, but a reliable bridge to the future, to meet the objectives of Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy. It will be carried out on the basis of the 100 Concrete Steps Plan of the Nation.”

The Head of State also instructed the Government to developa package of measures for the technological re-equipment of basic industries by 2025.

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The annual address followed a special announcement given by the President last week, in which he set out bold plansto increase the powers of parliament. President Nazarbayev stated that these constitutional reforms are aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan, as the Government will be accountable to parliament.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has proposed a constitutional reform aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan. During a special televised address to the nation on 25 January, the President announced a number of functions that would be transferred either to the Government or Parliament. Public discussions on the proposed constitutional reforms will take place for the next month, concluding on 26 February. After this, the reforms will be presented to Parliament.