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The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Employment and Social Policy
Candidate countries conduct negotiations with the European Union (EU) in order to prepare themselves for accession. The accession negotiations cover the adoption and implementation of European legislation (acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.
Commission Report – [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1203 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was granted candidate country status for European Union (EU) membership in 2005. The Accession Partnership, adopted by the Council in 2008, supports the country’s preparations in view of its future membership and the alignment of its legislation with the Community acquis. In 2008, the accession negotiations had not yet been opened, as some progress still needed to be made on the objectives and conditions set out in the partnership.
In its 2011 Report, the European Commission outlines the limited progress made towards aligning the national legislation with the acquis. Unemployment remains high and social inclusion policies are still ineffective.
EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)
The acquis in the social field includes minimum standards in areas such as labour law, equal treatment of women and men, health and safety at work and anti-discrimination. The European Social Fund (ESF) is the main financial tool through which the EU supports the implementation of its Employment Strategy and contributes to social inclusion efforts in the fight against social exclusion (implementation rules are covered under Chapter 22, which deals with all structural instruments). The Member States participate in social dialogue at European level and in EU policy processes in the areas of employment policy, social inclusion and social protection.
EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)
Limited progress was noted in aligning with the acquis on social policy and employment. The implementation of the framework law on anti-discrimination has commenced. Full alignment with the acquis remains to be achieved. The high unemployment rate and the low labour market participation remain worrying. Inclusion of Roma, people with disabilities and other socially excluded people is slow. Effective employment and social inclusion policies are should be further implemented, and the social dialogue should be further strengthened. The overall administrative capacity is not sufficient.
- Website of the Directorate General for Enlargement: Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports 2011