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The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Internal market

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.

ACT

Commission Report – [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1203 – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was granted the status of candidate country for accession to the European Union (EU) in 2005. The Accession Partnership, adopted by the Council in 2008, supports the country's preparations for its future accession and the aligning of its legislation with the Community acquis. In 2008, negotiations for accession had not yet started since some progress still needed to be made with regard to the objectives and conditions defined within the framework of the Partnership.

The 2011 Report highlights different progress made concerning free movement of goods, freedom of movement for workers, right of establishment and freedom to provide services. However, on matters of investigation, prosecution and convictions of piracy and counterfeiting, significant progress still needs to be made.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

The principle of the free movement of goods implies that products must be traded freely from one part of the Union to another. In a number of sectors, this general principle is complemented by a harmonised regulatory framework, following the "old approach" (imposing precise product specifications) or the "new approach" (imposing general product requirements). The harmonised European product legislation, which has to be transposed, represents the largest part of the acquis under this chapter. In addition, sufficient administrative capacity to notify the restrictions to trade and to apply horizontal and procedural measures in areas such as standardisation, certification, accreditation, metrology and market surveillance is essential.

The acquis in respect of the free movement of workers states that citizens of an EU Member State have the right to work in another Member State. EU migrant workers must be treated in the same manner as national workers with regard to working conditions, social benefits and tax allowances. The acquis also provides a mechanism for coordinating national social security provisions for those tax contributors and their families who move to another Member State.

Member States are required to remove all restrictions with regard to the free movement of services. Member States must ensure that the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services anywhere in the EU is not hampered by national legislation. In some sectors, the acquis prescribes harmonised rules which must be respected if the internal market is to function; this concerns mainly the financial sector (banking, insurance, investment services and securities markets). Financial institutions may carry out their activities throughout the European Union according to the principle of ‘home country control’ by opening branches or by providing cross-border services. The acquis also provides harmonised rules for some specific professions (craftsmen, traders, farmers, commercial agents), for certain information society services, and matters relating to personal data protection.

Member States must remove all restrictions on the free movement of capital between themselves, within the European Union, but also with third countries (with some exceptions) and adopt EU rules applicable to cross-border payments and to credit transfers concerning transferable securities. The money laundering and financing of terrorism directives require banks and other economic operators to identify their clients and be aware of certain operations, particularly in the case of cash transactions for high-value items. In order to tackle financial crime, it is essential that administrative and enforcement capacities are put in place, particularly by establishing cooperation between those authorities responsible for surveillance, implementing law and carrying out criminal proceedings.

The acquis on public procurement covers the general principles of transparency, equal treatment, free competition and non-discrimination. In addition, specific Community rules apply to the coordination and granting of public works, supplies and services contracts for traditional contracting entities and specific sectors. The acquis also defines the rules relating to the court procedures and means of action available. Its implementation requires specialised bodies.

The acquis relating to intellectual property rights defines the harmonised rules for the legal protection of copyright and related rights. Specific provisions are applicable to the protection of databases, data processing programmes, topographies of semi-conductors, satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission. In the field of intellectual property rights, the acquis details harmonised rules for the legal protection of trademarks and designs. Other specific provisions apply to biotechnological inventions and to pharmaceutical and phytopharmaceutical products. The acquis also establishes a Community trademark system and a Community design system.

The acquis on company law includes rules applicable to the constitution, registration, merger and division of companies. In the field of financial information, the acquis specifies the rules to be complied with regarding the presentation of consolidated annual accounts and provides simplified rules for small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular. The application of international accounting standards is obligatory for certain entities of public interest. Furthermore, the acquis also includes provisions relating to the approval, professional integrity and independence of persons responsible for legal controls.

The Customs unionacquis consists almost exclusively of legislation which is directly binding on the Member States. It includes the Community's Customs Code and its implementing provisions; the Combined Nomenclature, Common Customs Tariff and provisions on tariff classification, customs duty relief, duty suspensions and certain tariff quotas; and other provisions such as those on customs control of counterfeit and pirated goods, drugs precursors and the export of cultural goods and on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters and transit. Member States must also have the required implementing capacities, particularly connectivity with the EU’s computerised customs systems. Customs authorities must also have sufficient capacity for implementation and compliance with the specific provisions established in related fields of the acquis, such as foreign trade.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

There has been some progress in the area of free movement of goods. The budget for the implementation of the comprehensive strategy on the horizontal institutions has increased however the framework legislation is still not fully aligned with the horizontal acquis.

There was little progress in the area of freedom of movement for workers and alignment with the acquis is still at an early stage.

In the area of the right of establishment and freedom to provide services the country is on track, particularly in the area of postal services. The level of coordination among the various bodies responsible for authorising cross-border services has also improved.

On mutual recognition of professional qualifications, the country is at an early stage.

Progress on free movement of capital was focused on enforcement in the area of combating money laundering and financing of terrorism. There are restrictions on short-term portfolio investments and on cross-border payment transfers, pending the passage to the second stage of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

There has been progress in the area of public procurement. Procurement procedures are more transparent and enforcement was stepped up. The legislation on concessions and Public Private Partnerships remains to be aligned with the acquis. Administrative capacity in the field of remedies and concessions, as well as at the level of contracting authorities, remains weak.

Good progress was made in the area of Company law, especially on further legislative alignment with the acquis. The legal framework in the area of auditing remains only partially aligned.

Some progress was made in enhancing the legal framework for intellectual property. The track record on investigation, prosecution and judicial handling of piracy and counterfeiting is not satisfactory and the level of awareness of intellectual property rights among the public remains low.

RELATED ACTS

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2010 Report outlines uneven progress made by the country. Institutional reform is required to ensure the freedom of movement for workers. Similarly, few preparations have been made concerning the freedom to provide services and the right of establishment. Reform is also required regarding the free movement of goods and capital.

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final - SEC (2008) 1436 - Not published in the Official Journal].
The November 2008 Report relates to the free movement of goods, freedom of movement for workers, the right of establishment, freedom to provide services and the free movement of capital in particular. Continuous efforts must be made in order to align the country’s legislation with the acquis, and to implement and apply it effectively.

Last updated: 21.12.2011

See also

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