The European Commission will publish the progress reports on Macedonia and other candidate countries tomorrow in Strasbourg. According to the insight of Radio Slobodna Evropa (RSE) in the reports, the rule of law, organized crime and corruption remain synonymous with each country in the region, and sensitive topics in all Western Balkan states. Also, the EC repeatedly uses the term “captured states” with remark that the public administration in the countries of the region remains weak, and there is little or no progress in the field of freedom of expression.
It also reiterates that bilateral disputes remain major obstacles to the EU integration process, and in the previous period, no results have been achieved in resolving open issues among neighbors. This year’s “champion” will be Albania, which after many years of lagging will receive a recommendation for opening accession negotiations, and a clean recommendation will be repeated for Macedonia. As for Montenegro, it is estimated that a lot has been achieved on paper, but nothing in practice. Serbia’s road to the EU continues to depend on the approach to normalizing relations with Kosovo, and BiH and Kosovo have been slowing down in the reform process over the past year.
Regarding Macedonia, the draft report emphasizes that for the further progress of the state, the decisive factor is to maintain and deepen the momentum in the process of urgent reform priorities. The EC expresses its readiness to support that process by applying enhanced access to the negotiating areas for the judiciary, fundamental rights and freedoms and the freedom and security of the state.
Referring to the measures taken in the field of migration, the document concludes that Brussels aid to the region as early as 2017 resulted in a reduced volume of migration waves to 91 percent. The role of Serbia and Macedonia is recognized in the document as qualified partners in this field. But the EC considers there is room for concern when it comes to human and migrant trafficking.