The European Commission’s report about Macedonia’s advancement for 2019 is the most positive to date with positive words about the reforms, but there were comments about areas where more work is needed.

Stressing that North Macedonia has continued to maintain a steady pace of implementation of EU reforms and the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law, it also states that fundamental changes were conducted in an inclusive and open political atmosphere

“The country has continued to deliver tangible results in key areas identified in the Council Conclusions such as the judiciary, fight against corruption and organized crime, intelligence services reform and public administration. The culture of compromise in the political landscape has improved by the government’s efforts to reach out to all stakeholders, including the opposition and civil society, in an inclusive and transparent manner.” states the report

Regarding the Parliament, it states that it has improved its performance as a forum for constructive political dialogue and enhanced its oversight and legislative functions, including by limiting the use of fast-track procedures.

When it comes to special reformatory areas, EC’s report states that the reform of intelligence services North Macedonia has made good progress and that the new Operational Technical Agency is fully operational. A model has been selected and the legal framework for establishing a new National Security Agency has been adopted. The judicial system has reached some level of preparation i.e. it is moderately prepared and good progress was made in addressing the ‘Urgent Reform Priorities’ and recommendations from the Venice Commission and the Senior Experts’ Group on systemic Rule of Law issues.

As regards the fight against corruption, the report states that this country has some level of preparation and that good progress has been made through the changes to the legislative framework. Still, it stresses that the corruption is still prevalent in many areas and remains an issue of concern.

Regarding the freedom of expression, the country is moderately prepared but it has made good progress over the last year.

The climate for media freedom and freedom of expression continued to improve. It is essential that public officials and the political elites demonstrate a higher level of tolerance towards criticism, thereby upholding freedom of expression. The country needs to make sustained efforts to improve the independence and professional standards of the public broadcaster as well as its financial sustainability.