Saturday, May 05, 2012

Roadmap on goals from Macedonia-EU accession dialogue presented in Parliament

Vice PM in charge of EU integration, Teuta Arifi presented on Thursday a three-month report on past and future achievements made with respect to the process of EU integration. The report was presented before members of the National EU Integration Council and Parliament's European Affairs Commission.

Arifi underlined the launch of a high level dialogue with the EU as the most important event in recent months, announcing that EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule was due to visit Skopje where he was to hold a working meeting with members of the Macedonian Parliament.

Referring to the roadmap on goals stemming from the Macedonia-EU accession dialogue - which can be found on the web site of the Secretariat for European Affairs - Arifi focused on topics included in chapters 23 and 24 covering issues such as freedom of expression and media, rule of law, measures to combat against corruption and economic criteria.

The operational roadmap consists of over 140 targets related to the five key areas from the high level accession dialogue with the EU. Some of them need to be completed by June i.e. September and the rest should be closed by year's end.

Considering freedom of expression and professional standards, it is envisaged the dialogue with media representatives to continue, consultation meetings to be held with Council of Europe experts about changes to laws involving freedom of expressions. Special training are also planned to be organised for judges working on defamation cases.

With respect to rule of law, Vice PM Arifi pledged that the efficiency and capacities of the courts would be improved through various activities.

In view of anti-corruption measures, provisions have been envisaged for checking the contents of declarations of interests and a plan and dynamics for checking previous declarations for conflict of interest on elected and appointed persons. This segment also covers issues on the financing of political parties.

Advancement of the dialogue amongst communities is also envisaged, which is under the jurisdiction of the Secretariat for the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement.

Several issues stemming from the roadmap refer to reforms in administration, electoral regulation and revision of the voter's list.

Vice PM Arifi stressed that the government was not the sole responsible institution in the process and that the parliament, NGOs, citizens and other factors in the society needed to take part. "As soon as we become a member of the EU, each and everyone of us will feel the benefits. This is a great chance that needs to be used and a motivation for reforms needed to be implemented," Arifi noted.

SDSM's Jani Makraduli said the Parliament should be more involved in the drafting of the roadmap.

VMRO-DPMNE's deputy Antonio Milososki assessed the report as an objective picture pointing out that Macedonia had made a positive step in the EU integration process.

The chairman of the European Affairs Commission, Hajrula Mesini welcomed the pre-accession dialogue saying the process showed that Brussels had once again lent a hand to Skopje.

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