The newly elected Albanian government is claiming to advance market and business-friendly reforms by simply deregulating the market. The new policies will consists in less administrative bureaucracy, but at the same time, the government introduces a special ministry that will be at the forefront of the business community in order to advance their interests within the government policies agenda.
Although in social sciences ‘regulation’ has been given a bewildering variety of meanings, to lawyers, however, it has a specific definition. It is that area of public law by which the state and its agents seek to induce individuals and firms to outcomes which, in the absence of such inducements, they would not freely reach.
In practice, this covers mainly health and fiscal regulation, financial regulation, licensing and also professional regulation. In my view, something crucially important is missing in the government's approach: A benevolent will to advance a packet of reforms that will lead to fair and greater competition in the market. What Albania needs is not ideological neoliberalism which assumes less government interference in the economy. Instead, a new legal stand which reduces social inequalities generated by a distorted and unequal application of legal rules in the economy and based on democratic capitalism could be a more realistic approach.
Phenomena like the excessive corruption, illegal and criminal economy, traffic of influence, are generating destructive competition and are still present in the reality of the Albanian economy. Thus, the government intervention is needed to remedy them. The belief in the superiority of the private sector over the state, as is exemplified in the “private concessions” does not necessarily leads to greater efficiency and national welfare.
The system must be bound by a sound legal and institutional framework that prevents the public property to become a source of fraudulent enrichment for state officials.
The government should adopt new perspectives and legal policies on how to combat and prevent economic crime and illicit enrichment. The government should also consider imposing criminal penalties on senior management in state institutions and private companies. The breach of fiduciary duty in public service for personal gain should be considered a multifaceted offense and not just bribery as it is in the current criminal code. The recent scandals in the Bank of Albania’s supervisory board pose a serious challenge to the traditional criminal justice system in Albania which has failed in achieving efficient deterrence when it comes to corruption, serious fraud, and white-collar crime.
In conclusion, Albania needs a different set of laws for the economic crimes.
Nowadays, this offense is committed by individuals with a certain degree of reputation. Hence, these individuals assess the risk factor, the probability and the severity of punishment before engaging in illegal activities. Understanding the model of the economic crime and using it as a framework in our criminal jurisprudence, is important to explain institutional and corporate crime.
Contrary to some political analysts, I would argue that the general welfare of the people is not worse off by the overload of bureaucratic regulations in place. In fact, it is seriously damaged by the distortions of the Albanian market and economy, and led by an incompetent and corrupt administration which is a common characteristic for all political denominations. As much as we need “deregulation”, we need to enforce first the present regulations. On that note, we need to have less administrative discretion that can lead to corruption, more transparency in state's action. Finally, we need to enforce the criminal law on state officials and corporate executives who abuse the regulatory framework.