4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities
The most important reforms in the field of culture took place after 1997. For the past 5 years, the main emphasis has been on developing legislation. The Albanian parliament has approved some important laws on cinema, theatres and libraries. The latter has been considered a cornerstone of cultural communication in Albania and, therefore, greater emphasis has been placed on the promotion of reading.
In preparation for the Council of Europe National Cultural Policy Review, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport organised a special seminar on decentralisation in Tirana in March 2000, a topic which has been neglected in the overall cultural policy strategy. Other recent debates have focussed on the legal, political and economic aspects of multicultural societies, creativity and networking. On 23 November 2005, the Albanian government approved the Integrated Planning System (IPS), which means a series of functional principles that guarantee an effective implementing process for public policies. It contains two important processes such as mid-term and long-term strategic planning, the so - called National Strategy for Development and Integration (NSDI) and the Mid-Term Budgeting Programme. On 16 March 2006, The Committee for Strategic Planning, the high level decision-making authority on the IPS, decided to include all the sectoral and intra-sectoral strategies of different ministries in the planning. These strategies have to meet the EU financial framework 2007-2013 period in order to facilitate the National Plan for SAA (Stabilisation and Association Agreement) that the Albanian government signed with the EU on 12 June 2006. The SAA has replaced the previous Trade and Cooperation Agreement of 14 May 1992 which established the institutional relationship between Albania and European Union. SAA is part of the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) that EU adapted for the Western Balkans countries during its own European Summit of 29 May 1999 in Köln. In this framework, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Youth & Sports is involved in the design and drafting of a series of strategies which are related to its own policy areas such as tourism, culture, youth and sport.
The draft Sectoral Strategy for Culture (2007-2013) is being prepared by a working group appointed by the Minister and is currently available for public consultation with all the stakeholders and groups of interest related to the field of arts and culture.