36% were asked for a bribe with 31% saying they had paid a bribe. Therefore, public awareness about the fight against corruption should be raised and all mechanisms to eradicate the issue should be reinforced.
These are some of the points and data presented Thursday at a conference on 'The UN convention against corruption and integrity, transparency and anti-corruption prevention policies', which in fact launches a project on monitoring fight against corruption.
The EU has set it as a prerequisite before the opening of accession talks with Macedonia.
Nicola Bertolini, representative of the EU Delegation in Skopje, said it was necessary to strengthen the role of the civil sector, to protect 'whistle-blowers' after reporting corruption, to introduce an effective model of the anti-corruption commission, etc.
According to him, corruption weakens democracy and rule of law and affects the social and economic development of the country.
Although, Bertolini said, fight against corruption is a priority of the current administration, no progress has been registered for a year. Recent opinion polls show growing public disbelief that corruption could be eliminated.
"The EU expects the country to present evidence for repression and prevention of corruption and to deliver tangible results, which is a benefit for all citizens," he noted.
The government is firmly committed to preventing corruption. "Legal changes are in the works, a strategy is being drafted and the best model for an anti-corruption commission is being sought," stated Deputy Justice Minister Oliver Ristovski.
The country has to work very hard to change perception and awareness about the problem, concluded Aleksandar Krzalovski of the NGO MCMS, the conference's organizer.