The European Commission’s 2023 Report on North Macedonia includes fierce criticism over several areas, including the judiciary and corruption.
“The country is in between some and moderate level of preparation in the prevention and fight against corruption. No progress was made. Corruption remains prevalent in many areas and is an issue of concern. Delays and reversals in trials of high-level corruption cases increased, resulting in some cases in the expiration of the statute of limitations.
The Criminal Code was amended through an expedited parliamentary procedure. The maximum legal penalties for specific corruption-related criminal offences were reduced, having implications on the application of the statute of limitations and affecting, halting or even terminating a large number of high-level corruption cases, including from the former Special Public Prosecutor’s Office (SPO).
The amendments also hamper the authorities’ ability to investigate and prosecute such offences. This is a matter of serious concern,” the document says.
Regarding Parliament, the Commission points out its work was marred by political polarisation.