Osmani presents “Plan 18”: We must separate reforms from daily politics

Skopje, 31 October, 2018 - 18:24 (META) 

Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani today presented the content of the reform “Plan 18”, which was adopted yesterday by the Government.

“The implementation of the Prespa Agreement is one of the most important commitments undertaken by us. In the next period, I expect an increase in political support and building consensus on all issues of supranational interest, among which is of course the implementation of “Plan 18” – Osmani said.

He cited key areas of “Plan 18”: reforms in the judiciary, security services, public administration, and the fight against organized crime and corruption.

“The reform priorities defined in “Plan 18″, besides the essential advancement of society, are also a key parameter through which the success of our European integration will be measured,” concluded Osmani.

Hahn: I am satisfied with the current implementation of reforms but there is much work to be done

Brussells, 28 September, 2018 - 13:52 (META) 

Macedonia is irreversibly moving towards a full-fledged membership into the EU and this time there is no returning back, stated today in Brussels the Vice Premier for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani at the joint press conference with the EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Osmani, who is leading the Macedonian delegation consisting of 40 people that began the screening process, at the press conference spoke in Macedonian, Albanian and English languages.

-Macedonia is writing a new chapter in its history these two days. This is the moment that we waited for so long and we were preparing, all of the previous governments. Allow me to state that we did it. Macedonia is irreversibly moving towards a full-fledged membership into the EU. This time there is no going back – said the Vice Premier.

Hahn is satisfied with the current implementation of the reforms but he stated that there is much work to be done. He also said that there are no specific dates until when the reforms will have to be implemented, especially in the judiciary.

-I don’t have any specific dates, but I’m pleased about the process of what has been accomplished so far. There lies so much work to do until next year. This includes a strong dedication to deliver results and that is the reason why we don’t want to lose more time. That is why we are here – said Hahn.

Zaev brings Merkel up to date on preparations for the referendum

Skopje, 23 August, 2018 - 12:33 (META) 

In a telephone conversation yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding Macedonia’s efforts towards European and Atlantic perspectives and preparations for the referendum, the Macedonian government announced.

Furthermore, according to the statement, Merkel emphasized Germany’s support for the Agreement between Macedonia and Greece.

“The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, offered her support regarding efforts made by the Government and society – the political public in Macedonia to strengthen the European and Atlantic perspectives of the citizens of our country. Chancellor Merkel reiterated Germany’s support for the agreement reached between Macedonia and Greece, which resolves the long-standing name dispute and was a major obstacle to EU and NATO membership of the Republic of Macedonia. In this regard, we all agree that the referendum is the highest democratic act and a true reflection of the peoples’ determination concerning the future of the country,” the government reported.

Zaev also spoke about preparations for the referendum, saying that the Macedonian government “is strongly committed to organizing fair, democratic and transparent conditions for the realization of a democratic citizenship”.

The Macedonian Prime Minister also emphasized that the government is continuing its efforts in reforms to meet the requirements of the conclusions arrived at by the European Council in June 2018, especially in the areas of ​​rule of law, the fight against corruption and crime, as well as reforms in public administration and the intelligence services.

Government announces, the protocol for NATO membership will be signed in January 2019

Skopje, 22 August, 2018 - 9:34 (META) 

In January 2019, the protocol for NATO membership will be signed, meaning that Macedonia will start to participate in NATO structures – but without the right to vote, and the accession negotiations with the Alliance begin in the second half of this year, the government announced today.

After signing the protocol for membership, the Government informs that ratification in all 29 parliaments of the NATO member states begins in accordance with their domestic procedures. The ratification takes time – about a year, after which Macedonia will become a full member of NATO.

During the accession talks, the Republic of Macedonia will have to confirm that fully accepts the provisions of the NATO founding treaty and all political and legal standards of the Alliance, and also to confirm and accept the NATO defense planning process and the connection with the military structures.

In addition, one of the tasks will be the elaboration a program for the continuation of domestic reforms such as the rule of law reforms, independence of the judiciary, fight against corruption and organized crime, security and intelligence services reforms, as well as full implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and full implementation of the agreement with Greece.

Civil associations propose limitation of funds from donations to political parties

Skopje, 13 August, 2018 - 17:12 (META) 

Civil associations have reacted regarding the recent adoption of amendments to the Law on the Financing of Political Parties.

They say that “the harmonization of the legal solutions took place in a non-transparent manner and although it is stated that the legal solution draws legitimacy from the recommendations of the civil society given in the document “The Blueprint – A Proposal for Urgent Democratic Reforms “, those recommendations are only selectively and partially used in law. ”

From the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” Skopje, the Centre for Economic Analyzes, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia, “Eurotink”, the Association of Journalists of Macedonia, the Institute for European Policy Skopje, have all recommended a limitation on the total amount of funds which can be obtained from individual donations.

“An improved mechanism for compulsory checking the origin of funds for each donation should be introduced. To specify that the land or real estate administered by the parties should refer to the place where the party buildings are located. There is a mandatory obligation for all proponents of the law at all stages, including the submission of amendments, “said the associations in their recommendations.

Justice Minister announces new model for Anti-Corruption Commission

Skopje, 3 July, 2018 - 16:33 (META) 

A working group has been set up at the Ministry of Justice who are working on the amendments to the Law on the Prevention of Corruption, and soon a new model for an anti-corruption commission is expected, said Minister of Justice Renata Deskoska at the Second Session of the Working Group – III (Principles of Judiciary and Fundamental Rights – Chapter 23) of the National Convention on the European Union of the Republic of Macedonia (NCEU-MK), which was held at the MPs Clubhouse in Skopje.

“The idea is that the new commission be composed of experts, people who do not have any political affiliation, and we believe that this will bring some kind of advantage – knowledge, but also political disloyalty as an advantage, in terms of fulfilling certain tasks that this anti-corruption commission should have. Within this working group, along with the model of the anti-corruption commission, the jurisdiction of this department is also to be reviewed, because for effective competences, clear legal norms will certainly contribute to the better performance of the activities of this body within its jurisdiction”, emphasized Deskoska.

Speaking on the topic of “Mechanisms for Effectively Combating Corruption”, she said that the law on lobbying will be under review. Deskoska referred to reforms in the judiciary, stressing that there are two tasks facing the judiciary: to fight corruption in other bodies, and to fight corruption within their own ranks.

“Corruption is not just receiving cash benefits or gifts, corruption is the absence of all kinds of influences in decision-making, and this is especially important for the judiciary, as it is explicitly stipulated that they must judge on the basis of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Macedonia, which unfortunately was not always the case in the past period”, said the Minister of Justice.

Priebe: All resources and strength in Macedonia should be directed at the Rule of Law

Ohrid, 5 June, 2018 - 13:41 (META) 

I do not have a detailed insight into what has been happening over the past two years in terms of the two reports we drafted as an expert group, those of 2015 and last year. The EU Progress Report on Macedonia points to significant progress in certain areas, but there are also many areas with much yet to be done, to implement the necessary reforms in the EU integration process. It is obvious that the report focuses on the central issue and priority of the rule of law with all aspects that it implies, said Reinhard Priebe, who is participating in the International Scientific Conference on Security System Reforms held in Ohrid.

Priebe, who led the EU’s five-member EU expert group responsible for systemic issues, said in a statement to the media that he is no longer an EU official, but personally hopes that Macedonia and the countries of the region will make a step forward in the EU integration process.

“In any case, the reforms we have pointed out and pointed out in the EU Reports should be made, not only for the progress of that EU integration process, but more for the countries themselves and the citizens,” said Priebe.

He refused to set aside an area where politics, the state, and institutions should direct their reform processes.

“It’s a series of recommendations. Rule of law is key to bringing the EU closer, all resources and strength in society should be directed and targeted towards that goal”, added Priebe.

Osmani presents “18” plan to EU Ambassador Žbogar

Skopje, 1 June, 2018 - 0:16 (META) 

Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani presented the government’s new reform plan “18” to EU Ambassador Samuel Žbogar and representatives of the EU Delegation to Macedonia, which, according to the Secretariat for European Affairs (SEA), the public will be informed after the next week’s government session.

At the beginning, Osmani expressed satisfaction with the “implementation of the “3-6-9″ plan”, in particular his valorization in one of the most positive reports for the Republic of Macedonia, which was accompanied by a clear and unconditional recommendation for negotiations by the European Commission,” read the statement from the SEA.

“The government is very determined to keep the reform agenda at the top its priorities and after the completion of the implementation of the “3-6-9″ plan, for which the Secretariat for European Affairs undertook the duty to prepare a new reform plan for 2018, whose implementation should end with the release of the new report by the European Commission, at the beginning of next year”, said Osmani.

He emphasized that the “18” plan, which is still in its final stages, is expected to be passed at a Government session next week, followed by a review by experts in the public and the civil sector, who are also expected to participate in its finalization.

Roth: Investigations must continue, SPO should be part of the prosecution

Skopje, 10 May, 2018 - 20:51 (META) 

State Minister of European Affairs at the German Foreign Ministry, Michael Roth, said that investigations related to wiretapping conversations must continue, and the Special Prosecutor’s Office should be integrated into the regular structures of the prosecution.

At the meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in Government, he was informed that the opposition was against continuing the mandate of the SPO.

“I must point out that the two-thirds of majority is a prerequisite for extending the mandate of the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office, but I was informed that the opposition is against the extension of the mandate, and therefore the SPO should be integrated into the regular structures of the prosecution. It’s a problematic solution, but if it works, it’s good”, Roth said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Zaev also said that the Strategy for Judiciary Reforms has been planned for the SPO to be part of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, as a separate unit which will continue its work. Roth said that it is important for the state to achieve concrete results in terms of good governance and the rule of law.

“Implementation and concrete results are essential. This is a government task, but not only is the government responsible for changes, but everyone in the country has the task of contributing to change, especially the opposition. A truly independent judiciary, along with law enforcement authorities, both have a key role in the fight against corruption”, Roth said. Today he will meet with the opposition and non-governmental organizations.

Šekerinska: Last year on April 27 we reached rock bottom and were on the brink of civil war

Washington, 27 April, 2018 - 15:38 (META) 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Radmila Šekerinska launched her official visit to the United States by taking part in a round table organized by the American Atlantic Council on the topic “The Balkans and NATO membership through the prism of Macedonia: High stakes in terms of global security and the fate of democracy in a small country “.

Šekerinska talked about the Balkans and the challenges it has faced in the past, the political crisis in Macedonia and the new reform processes, as well as the return of the country on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration.

“In these 10 months we have seriously focused on domestic reforms and on improving good neighborly relations. We focused on issues at the heart of Euro-Atlantic integration – free media, rule of law, interethnic relations and institutional resilience. We ask you to support Macedonia to receive an invitation to join NATO this year, because such a breakthrough can have a positive impact, which will create a new hope in the Balkans”, said the minister.

Turning to the events in Parliament that occured on the present day last year, Šekerinska said that last April, Macedonia “reached rock bottom”.

“The incident could have completely spun out of control and threatened to take the country a step closer to civil war. We had formed a majority in Parliament and everyone expected a new, reform-oriented government to be elected, and the people who wanted to stay in power saw that violence was their only way of staying. Fortunately the attempt was unsuccessful”, she said.

The Brdo-Brijuni process was first held in 2013 on a joint initiative of the presidents of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia, in Brdo near Kranj, Slovenia.