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Zaev: Come up with well-conceived vetting plan first, EU says, then proceed

The EU is asking us to first determine how we should scrutinize judiciary employees, and then implement vetting procedures. This way, we'll avoid making the mistakes of Albania, which was left with 200 vacancies after firing staff, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said.

Skopje, 22 November 2019 (MIA) – The EU is asking us to first determine how we should scrutinize judiciary employees, and then implement vetting procedures. This way, we’ll avoid making the mistakes of Albania, which was left with 200 vacancies after firing staff, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said.

Asked whether the EU was against the vetting of the judiciary, PM Zaev said Brussels argued that the focus, first and foremost, should be placed on individual responsibility.

Also, he continued, the EU pointed out there was no human resources center to provide staff that would replace any employees who didn’t pass the vetting.

“But our Academy [for Judges and Public Prosecutors] has already produced 60 candidates,” Zaev said, “and will produce another 60 in early 2020.

“So we’re negotiating with the EU, and we want to provide a so-called ‘fast-track’ so that prosecutors, lawyers, and other legal experts with at least five years’ work experience in the judiciary could—after 3-4 months of testing—pass the exam and become public prosecutors and judges.”

“We’re a small country,” Zaev said, “and if we don’t rely on our human resources who already have this practical experience, then we won’t be able to use all the opportunities our country has to offer.

“I trust all options will be considered, to provide for larger production of human resources for future prosecutors and judges.

“Such fast-tracking will also express our society’s political will for a process that we can then add to.”

The prime minister stressed that politicians should be left out of the vetting process.

“Politicians should be removed from any vetting committees,” Zaev said.

“Instead, true experts must be engaged, and I would recommend they be international ones, who will come in to implement these procedures.

“Our country is facing a serious process, which will take months, and maybe years, of complete societal transformation.

“This is what the negotiation process is. I trust that throughout it all we will find the best solutions for our legal system, too.” mr/

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