Macedonia starts screening process for EU negotiations today

Today, Thursday Sept.27, Macedonia starts the screening process for EU accession negotiations.

Vice Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani is heading the Macedonian delegation in Brussels, which on Sept. 27 will begin screening related to Chapter 23 — Judiciary and Fundamental rights. The delegation counts about 40 people from the country’s institutions and includes Justice Minister Renata Deskoska.

Osmani called the screening process a turning point that formally puts Macedonia on the last stretch of the road to EU membership. A total of 33 delegations from Macedonia will visit Brussels until June 2019, when the screening process of all chapters ends, according to Osmani.
In April this year, Macedonia received a clear recommendation for the start of the EU membership negotiation. Negotiations, if all necessary conditions are met, should start in June or after June next year.
Meanwhile, the government issued a public call for external experts to contribute in the screening process.

The aim is to create a database of experts from one or more EU law chapters, chief technical negotiator and head of the negotiating team Bojan Maricic said, adding that experts could be brought in temporarily or throughout the whole process.
This is a historic moment for our country and a great honor for me as the chief negotiator to launch the screening process as the final stage in the preparations for the European Union accession negotiations, said Vice Premier for European Affairs Bujar Osmani in Brussels on Thursday.

Vice Premier Osmani referred to the timeline of Macedonia’s EU path, starting from the Stabilization and Association Agreement in 2001, the candidate status in 2005, up to the European Commission’s first recommendation in 2009.

“The country’s European and Euro-Atlantic orientation has been the unifying point in our society since the country’s independence, whereas all previous governments have contributed to the approximation process,” stressed Osmani.

He highlighted the inclusiveness of the process, thanking the administration, civil society, experts…

“We are aware that we are launching a complex process, which will develop in several stages, with thousands of pages from the Acquis to be transposed in the Macedonian legislation. Let me assure you that the motivation and enthusiasm among the administration, the civil society, business community and citizens in general is at an exceptionally high level. I assure you that we are prepared to cope with this challenge,” added Osmani.

He said the administration has successfully implemented the obligations arising from the Stabilization and Association Agreement and is in preparations for the process of negotiations.

“The country will be committed to implementing the agreements with Bulgaria and Greece, but also maintaining the reform momentum in implementing the remarks and guidelines from the Council conclusions in June, as well as focus on fulfilling the obligations from the explanatory screening. These three processes will develop in parallel, towards the start of the accession talks in June of next year,” said Osmani.

Justice Minister Renata Deskoska and Director-General for EU Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Christian Danielsson also addressed the event.

The presentation of Chapter 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights resumes throughout the day, but also on Friday, when Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn is expected to join the discussions.