Key findings of 2019 Report on Macedonia

Macedonia has continued to maintain a steady pace of implementation of EU reforms throughout the reporting period, according to the key findings of the European Commission’s 2019 Report on the country. “The government has taken steps to restore checks and balances, and to strengthen democracy and the rule of law. The country has continued to undergo fundamental changes in an inclusive and open political atmosphere. The country has continued to deliver tangible results in key areas identified in the Council Conclusions such as the judiciary, fight against corruption and organised crime, intelligence services reform and public administration. The culture of compromise in the political landscape has improved by the government’s efforts to reach out to all stakeholders, including the opposition and civil society, in an inclusive and transparent manner. Following the signature of the historic agreement reached with Greece in June 2018 (also known as the ‘Prespa agreement’), a consultative referendum was organised in September 2018, whereby an overwhelming majority of voters who cast their ballots supported EU and NATO membership by accepting the Prespa agreement. The presidential elections were well organised and the fundamental freedoms were respected, allowing the citizens to make informed choices between the candidates. The Parliament has improved its performance as a forum for constructive political dialogue and enhanced its oversight and legislative functions, including by limiting the use of fast-track procedures. The inter-ethnic situation remained calm overall, despite some occasional tensions. The government pursued its commitment to increase trust among communities. The Ohrid Framework Agreement, which ended the 2001 conflict and provides the framework for preserving the multi-ethnic character of the society, is mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution and continued to be implemented. The climate in which civil society organisations operate has continued to improve. Civil society continued to play a constructive role in supporting democratic processes. Strategic documents have been adopted, providing guidance on the cooperation between government and civil society. Both governmental and non-governmental actors should aim at a meaningful consultation process. On intelligence services reform, North Macedonia has made good progress. Following the reform of the system for interception of communications, the new Operational Technical Agency is fully operational. The country has also embarked on the reform of its intelligence services in cooperation with NATO and other partners. A model has been selected and the legal framework for establishing a new National Security Agency has been adopted,” it was added, among other things, in the text.