November 8 (VoirNews) – North Macedonia has made limited progress in implementing reforms related to EU membership and further efforts are needed in many areas covered by the accession groups, a the European Commission (EC) said on Wednesday.
On political criteria, electoral legislation should be reviewed to eliminate inconsistencies and all parties must start engaging in constructive and inclusive political debate to strengthen the role of Parliament, the EC said in a report on the progress of the countries in the process of joining the EU.
Furthermore, excessive and sometimes inappropriate use has been made of accelerated procedures and the “EU flag” procedure, in some cases due to lack of consultations and poor planning of the legislative timetable, said the THIS.
Limited progress was made during the reporting period with the adoption of the new public administration reform strategy and the accompanying action plan, and no progress was recorded in the judicial area and in the fight against corruption.
“Corruption remains widespread in many areas and is a matter of concern. Delays and reversals in trials in high-level corruption cases have increased, leading in some cases to the expiration of the statute of limitations,” it said. The report.
Furthermore, much remains to be done to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement in combating certain forms of crime, such as money laundering and financial crimes.
North Macedonia has also committed to adopting amendments to the Constitution to include citizens who live within the country’s borders and who are part of other peoples, such as Bulgarians.
On economic criteria, progress has been slow in the implementation of measures aimed at improving the management of public investments. The labor market has seen some improvement, but structural problems persist, including high and long-term youth unemployment and a large gender gap.
The business environment continues to be hampered by the large size of the informal economy, slow progress in rationalizing parafiscal taxes and an opaque and ineffective state aid regime, the EC said.
The EC expects North Macedonia to open the so-called “fundamentals cluster” by the end of the year, it said in a separate statement on Wednesday.
The fundamentals cluster includes the following areas: judiciary and fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security, public procurement, statistics and financial control. It is opened first and closed last.
The Commission launched accession negotiations with North Macedonia in July 2022. Previously, the country had held EU candidate status since 2005.