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carried out by other employees ‘as is specified in the internal regulations’; Article 77

says that the Parliament elects standing Committees, it may establish special Commit-

tees, and it may designate special investigatory Committees. The Parliament has set up

Committees, written Rules of Procedure and internal regulations, and acquired employ-

ees for the ‘other services necessary.’

The Constitution promulgated in 1998 was written with Western assistance.

Hence, it is a ‘Western Constitution’; it presents principles and essentials. It is concise

but it can be cryptic. A study on transparency and accountability in South East Europe,

in the section on Albania, comments on some legal gaps. There is no clear call in the

Constitution, laws, or normative acts for the Government to ‘reveal, explain and jus-

tify’ what it is doing or intends to do. It does not explicitly oblige the authorities to

inform and consult elected representatives in the course of the security and defence

policy planning and implementation. Thus the lawmakers must content themselves with

ex post facto policy accountability. The text of the Defence Policy of 2000 states that

transparency in the defence planning process and the civil democratic control of the

Armed Forces are among the main principles underlying policy. But it does not say

what this involves in practice.

For Albania’s circumstances, the legal provisions are not always sufficiently de-

tailed. Members of the Parliament have little experience in conducting their business.

Their Western peers rely just as much on experience, precedent, and tradition accumu-

lated over the centuries as on Constitutions and laws. On the one hand, countries like

Albania should possess a body of legislation which, with well-considered detail, can

take the place of missing experience and practice. On the other hand, even then, prop-

erly constructed Constitutions and explicit Parliamentary rules are not enough to estab-

lish effective relations. We shall survey the connection between the Government and

the Parliament looking at defence affairs. What other Albanian Ministries do is not

necessarily less important. Nonetheless, there are particular features of defence that

require well structured and continuing relations between the Defence Ministry and the


The Committee on Defence, the Committee on Public Order and Security, and the

Finance Committee are the most important for the purposes of this study. The Defence

Committee is expected to oversee the implementation of the defence budget; to check

and assess the efficacy of existing laws and to recommend changes if necessary, to ex-

amine reports, to ask for explanations by the Minister of Defence or other officials, and

suggest measures to be taken by Parliament or the Council of Ministers. The Rules of

Procedure establish how Committees work, how the budget is approved, and how de-

fence requirements are assessed. In everyday practice, the two bodies responsible for

security policy, the Committee on Defence and the Committee on Public Order and

Security, do little effective work. Partly this is because they have little time for delib-

erations. The time available depends on when the Government submits the budget to

the Parliament, allowing only some four weeks for its consideration and approval. Even

experienced Committees would be hard-pressed to comment on defence and security

issues, let alone the entire budget. In the circumstances, the two Committees have abdi-

cated much of their responsibility, which has been assumed by the Finance Committee.

In any event, most of the process is consumed by general debate on the floor, often

unrelated to the budget but to political squabbling among parties.

Even if the Government and the Parliament would mutually observe their respon-

sibilities, this does not necessarily bring about effective common work. There are few

J.A. Trapans / Government Reform and Internal Cooperation: A Study of Albania 91

Page 103

parliamentarians in any country today—not many in the old democracies, few in Alba-

nia—who have sufficient expertise to deal, on their own, with defence affairs. This is

no disparagement of their abilities. Western Parliamentarians have expert staff, for

committees and for individual Members, civil servants who have the knowledge, skills,

and tools to support the elected representatives so that they can hold defence officials

and the military accountable in affairs. Parliaments in the transition countries do not

have such assets. Staff expertise is a prime requirement and few Parliaments in the new

democracies have developed it. Albania’s Defence Committee has one staff member

and so does the Finance Committee. The political determination of the parliamentarians

to hold the government accountable is indispensable in order to ensure parliamentary


Essential to long-range defence planning is a sound estimate of funding the De-

fence Ministry can expect over a number of years. This requires the defence establish-

ment to work with the Parliament, first to make its case for the annual budget and sec-

ond (but equally importantly) to inform, explain, and justify its mid-term programmes

and the long-term plans. So that the Minister is ready to meet the Parliament, for

Committee hearings or Parliamentary questions, the Ministry must have an organisa-

tional structure. Without responsibility in the Parliament as well as in the Defence Min-

istry, without a knowledgeable civil service staff in both, without continuous collabora-

tion between the staffs in the two institutions, there can be no proper exercise of power

in the Parliament or effective planning in the Ministry. It does not matter how effective

in theory the democratic structures for control are if there are no competent civilians in

the Ministry of Defence who can talk to the military on equal terms. There can be no

real understanding in the Parliament of the Armed Forces’ justifiable needs as long as it

has no competent staff to deal with civil servants in the Ministries.

The work of building a political bridge which defence officials cross to meet par-

liamentarians can start at the Ministry; it need not be initiated by and for the Parlia-

ment. ‘Democratic control brings a responsibility for the military to educate civilians in

the government, parliament and media on military affairs, and it is incumbent upon

civilian officials to be prepared to learn, so that civilians and the military can collabo-

rate effectively.’

Albania’s Defence Ministry needs a well-staffed department, dedi-

cated to parliamentary liaison so that principles, mechanisms, and practices work as

they should. In fact, Albania’s Ministry of Defence is creating a ‘special staff’ that will

administer its relations with the Parliament, composed of senior civilian experts and

military personnel from the Defence Ministry and the General Staff. Moreover, provid-

ing information on a regular basis would establish good relations between the Ministry,

the Defence Committee, and the Parliament as a whole. The Defence Ministry intended

to prepare and present a defence White Paper by the end of 2002. However, no such

document has been issued so far. In 2000, Latvia’s Defence Ministry began a periodic

Report of the Minister of Defence to the Parliament, informally called the White Paper.

There is no legal requirement that requests the Minister to prepare a Report; the Minis-

try decided that it would be a good thing. The Report gives a detailed presentation of

the Ministry’s activities in defence reform: priorities and planning methods, force

structure and force development plans, defence budget forecasts, international and re-

gional co-operation, assessment by foreign experts, and relationship between the

Armed Forces and society. It certainly has been an excellent means for the Ministry to

present its case. The Report is also disseminated to other Ministries, to society at large,

and to international institutions.

J.A. Trapans / Government Reform and Internal Cooperation: A Study of Albania92

Page 204

Security Sector Transformation in Southeastern Europe and the Middle East 193

T. Dokos (Ed.)

IOS Press, 2007

© 2007 IOS Press. All rights reserved.

Author Index

Bumçi, A. 71

Cizre, Ü. 101

Cole, E. 145

Dokos, T. v, 39

Donnelly, C. 1

El-Dandarawy, O. 113

Fluri, P.H. 145

Friedrich, R. 121

Gill, P. 31

Homan, K. 183

Lutterbeck, D. 133

Muresan, L. 51

Park, B. 13

Tanner, F. 133

Trapans, J.A. 85

van Eekelen, W. 21

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