Germany signs the Protocol for Macedonia’s accession into NATO

Berlin, 31 January, 2019 - 14:36 (META) 

The German Federal Government has agreed to sign the North Atlantic Treaty Protocol for the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia, the German Embassy announced.

“We are convinced that the accession of North Macedonia to NATO will contribute to the security and stability not only in the Euro-Atlantic area and will not only strengthen the transatlantic community, but it will be an important impulse for the further stabilization of the Western Balkans. So, it really is good news for Europe and for the transatlantic alliance,” said German government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

According to Seibert, accession to NATO will happen after all NATO member states have individually submited the information that they have ratified the Accession Protocol.

“For this purpose, in Germany, a Law of Agreement is required. The Federal Government will advocate the speedy adoption of this Law of Agreement. From the moment the Accession Protocol is signed in Brussels, North Macedonia will have ‘observer’ status in the Alliance,” he added.

Seibert explained that the European Council at the earliest in June, 2019, will decide whether EU accession negotiations will begin with North Macedonia, with the basic criteria for a positive decision being visible and sustainable reforms, the fight against organized crime and corruption.

Zaev – Tusk: If Macedonia continues at this pace, it can make up for lost time for EU integration

Brussels, 19 December, 2018 - 19:08 (META) 

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, accompanied by Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, started their working visit to Brussels with a meeting with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

At the meeting, it was concluded that the country’s determination to resolve the major political issues with neighbours and bringing reforms in the key areas of the judiciary, security services, public administration, the media, the fight against corruption, has put Macedonia on the right track towards European integration.

“The message is that if Macedonia continues at this pace, if the Prespa Agreement is implemented and if key reform priorities are implemented, it can make up for some of the lost time in the integration process and hope for the start of the negotiations to be in June 2019,” reports the government.

At the meeting with Tusk, Zaev informed that the state is working hard to fully implement the Prespa Agreement and expects equal efforts from Greece.

“We expect, with two-thirds support in Parliament, by the end of January 2019, to adopt constitutional amendments that will complete the process in our country and will enable Greece to begin their process of ratification of the Prespa Agreement and the adoption of the accession protocol to NATO. The process of joining NATO is our main focus in 2019. We are also working hard on key reform priorities, which emerged as a message from the European Council in June 2018 as a condition for an effective start of EU membership negotiations in June 2019. We know that implementation is important in the process and we will do everything to ensure it, especially in the area of the rule of law,” Zaev said.

Zaev is on a working visit to Brussels and is scheduled to a hold aworking lunch with the leaders of the Western Balkan countries and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

Large reform of the security-intelligence system will “hit” foreigners as well

Skopje, 12 December, 2018 - 21:40 (META) 

The Ministry of Interior (MOI) is preparing new laws and changing several existing ones aimed at reforming the security-intelligence system in Macedonia. The Unique National Electronic Registry of Regulations has published the preparation of several regulations, and among others the proposal to amend the law on foreigners with the aim to synchronize the proposed laws regarding the reform of the security-intelligence system.

At the same time, a new law on the Agency for Internal Intelligence is being prepared.

“By adopting the draft law, it will be possible to reform the Administration for Security and Counter-Intelligence, ie the establishment of an Agency for Internal Intelligence in order to establish a model for reform of the security-intelligence system in the Republic of Macedonia,” reads the explanation published from ENER.

The Ministry of Interior is preparing a draft law for amending the Law on the Interception of Communications, which is said to be part of the set of regulations envisaged within the framework of activities for reform of the security-intelligence system in the Republic of Macedonia.

In the preparation phase is a law on internal affairs, as well as a new proposal on the Law for the coordination of the security-intelligence community in the Republic of Macedonia.

Reforms of the security-intelligence system have begun with the establishment of the new Operational-Technical Agency (OTA) which is meant to guarantee the prevention of any abuse of communications monitoring systems. The OTA has already begun operations.

Priebe expects a change in the behavior of the judicial institutions

Skopje, 7 December, 2018 - 16:55 (META) 

Reinhard Priebe and a group of high ranking experts on the rule of law who were evaluating the situation with the rule of law in 2015 and 2017, in the period between 5th and the 7th of December were visiting Skopje in order to asses the implementation of the recommendations that the group gave regarding the judicial reforms, informs the EU’s delegation in Skopje.

Priebe had meetings with stakeholders and government officials in the justice field in order to assess progress made and advise the authorities about the delivery of tangible results.

He has recalled inter alia the need for the next package of amendments to the Law on Courts and Law on the Judicial Council to fully reflect the already issued and upcoming recommendations of the Venice Commission and EU experts.

“Priebe underlined once more the need to rebuild the trust in the judicial institutions in particular by taking concrete measures to increase transparency and changes in behavior. Furthermore, the inspections of the Automated Court Case Information Management System (ACCMIS) should yield concrete results through the investigations by the Public Prosecutor and the audit by the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council and the Council of Public Prosecutors should address the recommendations of the group of senior rule of law experts, in particular on defending the independence of the judiciary and ensuring its accountability. Priebe also stressed the need to implement the recommendations of the peer review on judicial training regarding the Academy of Judges and Public Prosecutors” said the EU’s delegation.

They also said that Prieb’s visit was complementary to the EU assistance provided to on-going reforms in the Judicial Council and Council of Public Prosecutors, together with EU experts assisting these bodies.

Priebe will report back to the European Commission in the context of the preparations for the next regular report on the country to be published in the spring of 2019.

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.