NUTS Classification Training for the Inter-institutional Working Group on Chapter 22 and ADF

As part of the support provided by the SDC funded RDPA Phase IV project to the members of the Working Group for Chapter 22 and the Albanian Development Fund (ADF) two international experts delivered a three days training programme on the NUTS classification, its implications for Albania in the next decade and on Regional Smart Specialisation.

Two members of the team, Gerry McAlinden and Sylvia Indjova, presented the programme to the WG and ADF members, over three days, on the 27th,, 28thand 29th of March 2023.

The objective of the training programme has been to enable members of the Working Group (and ADF)

  • to understand better the NUTS classification and its purpose in regional development and cohesion policy planning;
  • to draw lessons from experiences of its use in EU Member States, relevant to Albania;
  • to consider future options for NUTS classification in Albania;
  • to take part in a strategic planning workshop for a regional development OP based on the ‘smart specialisation’ in a NUTS II region. 

The first session quickly introduced the NUTS classification system, its logic and construction. It examined its importance as a policy planning tool, particularly in the context of EU Cohesion and Structural Policies. Participants had the opportunity to see how NUTS classification has shaped the Structural Fund and Cohesion Policy experience of some member states over the years for better or worse, and draw lessons for future reference in the Working Group. Finally, they explored the NUTS classification in Albania today, the background and rationale, and weighed in on possible options for its evolution (over the period of Ch22 negotiations) taking into account the role of the development regions in the context of Law 120/2020 and implications for the future Cohesion Policy in Albania.

After the presentation concerning the Smart Specialization concept, building blocks in relation to Cohesion Policy and Governance, the second part of the training took the shape of a strategic planning exercise based on the ‘smart specialisation’ of a NUTS II region. It focused on making the case for the use of EU and national/private sector matching to support investment in innovation and R&D in economic sectors which have the greatest potential for growth, competitiveness and job creation in three of the regions. The participants dealt with issues related to EU Competition regulations and state aid – making effective and legitimate use of public funding into the private sector. Participants also examined the potential for smart specialisation of regions in Albania.