From: Alice Taylor
Debate Flares over Potential Publication of Albanian Citizen and Resident Salaries

Albanian Deputy Minister of Finance Besart Kadia said that not only could citizens’ salaries be published every year, but that “lifestyle verification” could be carried out on those who appear to live beyond their means. However, he was less convinced when analysts brought up the topic of doing the same to politicians.

Earlier this week, the Albanian government caused controversy when it suggested that the salaries of all citizens and residents could be published annually. This would help improve transparency, they claim and root out employers who are paying either not enough or under the table.

On the TV show ‘Opinion’ on Wednesday evening, Kadia said the government would not verify everyone’s lifestyle but only those where it is suspected there is a big contradiction between what is declared and the way they live.

“The government does not intend to investigate the lifestyle of all Albanians. At least from investigations and discussions, there are somewhere a contradiction has been noticed—that many with a luxury car have salaries lower than 100,000 lek [€8200] a month,” Kadia said.

He reiterated that it was a measure that would also weed out any abuses in businesses where salaries are too low, or there are problems with contracts.

But when questioned by journalist Enton Abilekaj on whether the lifestyles of politicians should be verified, Kadia said they already do annual asset declarations.

Abilekaj said that there are instances of politicians with clothes and bags that are three times their salary, adding rumours of internal orders not to take them to parliament to arouse suspicion.

“Their clothes, their bags are three times their salary. How does he buy it, and with what income? Are they investigated? Domestic orders are given do not get expensive bags that stand out,”  he said.

He also highlighted the “parade of towers” being constructed in Tirana, questioning where those building them get the money from.

“They did not get loans, so where did [the owners] find the money? The [European Commission’s] report emphasizes every year that money laundering is a major concern and nothing is being done.”

Meanwhile, lecturer Arjan Curri said publishing such data will plunge people into class warfare.

“It’s very dangerous, they get people into class warfare. This is a place from which communist culture must be uprooted,” he said.

Exit contacted the European Commission and the EU Delegation in Tirana to ask whether the publication of such data, with or without citizens’ consent, is in line with the EU acquis, but no comment was received at the time of publication.

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But concerns have also been raised by those concerned with human rights. Following the leak of three institutional databases containing private and sensitive information on citizens during 2021, the head of the Albanian Helsinki Committee has spoken out.


Erida Skendaj wrote on Twitter that it is unacceptable that no one has faced justice over the leaks and that such publications are unacceptable.

“While the people in charge of the three databases with massive personal data have not yet been identified and convicted, the government states that the payroll database has reduced informality and citizens will be asked to turn it into an annual practice. What about human rights? Simply unacceptable,”  she wrote.