North Macedonia: Gov’t presents “European Agenda in the Interior” project

North Macedonia: Gov’t presents “European Agenda in the Interior” project

“European Agenda in the Interior” constitutes a comprehensive plan with clear tasks and deadlines for all state institutions, in order to ensure the focus and responsibility of the reform measures for 2021 and for society to be Europeanized, said North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev during the presentation of the project.

At the press conference held by the Government for the presentation of the plan, Zoran Zaev noted that “the agenda and the commitments that have been set as a priority for 2021 government action translated into the ‘European Agenda in the Interior’. Through this, citizens will receive better services and an elevate life quality, proving once again that North Macedonia deserves its place in the EU and definitely belongs to the European family of nations.”

The new government action focuses on electoral reform, justice, the fight against corruption and organized crime, fundamental human rights, media reform, economic governance and public administration reform, as well as environment and climate change.

The project was prepared by Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov with the team of the Secretariat for European Affairs, and was subjected to consultation with non-governmental organizations working in the field of European integration, but also with the EU delegation. It was drawn up on the basis of recommendations from the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission, GRECO, taking into account the new trading methodology and focusing on the Temeli complex, which also dictates the dynamics of the negotiations.

“European Agenda in the Interior” represents our sincere contribution to the European agenda as our core commitment. The Europeanization of Macedonian society should not wait, and we expect our plan for the final processes of this agenda to produce the same positive report in 2021. ‘European Agenda in the Interior’ is based only on the file of North Macedonia in Brussels and the unreserved message for the commencement of negotiations that derives from the 2020 report,” Zaev said.

As he stressed, the government has managed to put the country on the path of security and protection and has made significant progress in key political and economic areas. “We became the 30th NATO member and received an unanimous, unconditional recommendation from the EU Council to start accession negotiations, with the first intergovernmental conference for the formal kick off of negotiations yet to take place.”

“The process has been ongoing for a long time now, and we will definitely not stop. We are facing challenges, but we will not be discouraged. Political and diplomatic efforts, alongside endeavors to lift the Bulgarian veto continue. When we are committed and united, results will come,” Zaev said.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Dimitrov, the “European Agenda for the Interior” reflects the government’s reform efforts and the attempt to enable the mapping of key steps and monitoring vigilance, combined with pressure to meet these obligations.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I and the Secretariat for European Affairs and the Government are ready to put the institutions to use and break the myths that strategies and plans are made only when one wants to evade the real work. Our goal is to provide focus, traceability and accountability of the steps of the reform so that visible and concrete results are produced,” Dimitrov said.

He stressed that the Secretariat for European Affairs, as the central authority of the Europeanization process, would start reviewing the mechanism for managing and coordinating the accession negotiations, in order to harmonize it with the new EU negotiation methodology.

“This means that we will review the structures of the negotiations, taking into account the proper coordination and inclusion of the process, so that all social institutions and actors find their place and be ready when the kick off is announced,” said Deputy  Minister of European Affairs Dimitrov.

In turn, the VMRO-DPMNE opposition party claimed that “European Agenda in the Interior” is a new unsuccessful “Plan 3-6-9”, “Plan 18”, “Action 21”.

The implementation of the “European Agenda in the Interior” will be monitored by the Secretariat for European Affairs on a weekly basis, and Deputy Prime Minister Dimitrov will brief the government at each meeting. In addition, based on the implementation data, reports on the execution of the agenda will be prepared and will be submitted to the government in May, September and December this year, which will monitor the pace of preparation of the EU report. /ibna