• Monday, 22 April 2024

Marichikj: North Macedonia makes progress in 80 percent of chapters, no setbacks notes

Marichikj: North Macedonia makes progress in 80 percent of chapters, no setbacks notes

Skopje, 9 November 2023 (MIA) - An important message can be derived from the initial analysis by the European Commission - North Macedonia made progress in 80 percent of the chapters, with no noted setbacks, Deputy PM for European Affairs Bojan Marichikj said on Thursday.

At a joint press conference with EU Ambassador David Geer on the 2023 North Macedonia Progress Report, Deputy PM Marichikj said they accept the findings and consider them an important indicator for what is currently happening and should be done.

According to him, North Macedonia has achieved appropriate level of preparedness in most of the chapters, meaning that the overall score for 2023 is "good level of preparation," which has been solid and constant throughout the years. He also stressed that delaying or suspending EU negotiations and membership can bring uncertainty to the reform process.

The Deputy PM noted that adoption of the constitutional amendments remains a prerequisite that cannot be avoided, and there are no doubts that the decision is in the country's hands.

"It is a false story, a myth, an irresponsible and dangerous political position that North Macedonia has the luxury of waiting or that it can reach a better agreement in the future. I am confident that all stakeholders will fulfill their tasks and prepare to achieve full EU membership by 2030 through national consensus and the government's full commitment, as the main negotiator," Marichikj said.

He said that an important message from the European Commission is that the screening process proceeds smoothly and successfully, and that the country and Government are showing a high-level of commitment.

"Despite the opposition’s obstructions noted in the report, North Macedonia continues to meet the conditions for resuming membership negotiations,” Marichikj adds.

Regarding the Fundamentals chapter, the European Commission stated that North Macedonia continued its efforts to strengthen democracy and showed its commitment to deliver results.

"Being the Deputy PM for European Affairs and chief negotiator, I want to highlight the Commission's conclusion, which we also share, that ‘the Government and administrations mobilized significant resources to actively engage in the screening process.' The screening process provides the basis for defining future reform priorities from the EU agenda, which should be implemented and require a broad public consensus. Therefore, we are working on preparing roadmaps for the rule of law, administration reforms and functioning of democratic institutions," Marichikj stressed.

The report notes topics that are familiar to the Government, he added, and they are working on solutions.

"For example, the Judicial Council should work on the challenges detected. However, we noted issues in the work of the Judicial Council, which is why we asked the EU for a peer-review mission, which is currently underway. Now we have to wait for the findings and recommendations, which will be implemented by every affected institution within their framework in the judiciary," Marichikj said.

Regarding the functioning of democratic institutions, the European Commission points to the need to adopt constitutional amendments and obligations from the Jean Monnet Dialogue.

"In terms of basic human rights, the report assesses that the legal framework is generally aligned with the EU Acquis. However, there are challenges in the reinforcement of capacities of independent bodies (Ombudsman’s Office and the Commission for the Prevention and Protection against Discrimination), improving the rights of persons with special needs, prison conditions for convicted persons," Marichikj noted.

On the economic criteria, the country is at a good level of preparation in developing a functioning market economy. Although in 2022, the economy was severely affected by the fallout from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, North Macedonia still managed to ensure financial and microeconomic stability.

He added that the recommendations, like every year, will be used as a basis for the implementation of reforms for the period to come.

"We are fully aware that the parliamentary and presidential elections will take place next year, but also that the EU will have the European Parliament elections. Therefore, the moment to seize this opportunity and go through the open door is now. I implore all political subjects to take responsibility. Let us show that we are worthy of the challenge in order to take the next step to EU integration," Marichikj stressed. ssh/ik/