Brussels, 12 October 2011
Key findings of the 2011 progress report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The Progress Report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is part of the 2011 Enlargement Package adopted by the European Commission on 12 October. On the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Commission concluded that the country continues to sufficiently fulfil the political criteria and is ready to start accession negotiations. The country has continued accession related reforms, though core challenges remain.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continues to sufficiently fulfil the political criteria. The parliamentary elections in June were generally in line with international standards. The governing coalition was swiftly established. Some progress has been made in the fields of the judiciary and public administration, notably as regards the legal framework. Further efforts are needed to ensure effective implementation, in particular concerning judicial and administrative reform, fighting corruption and freedom of expression in the media. Dialogue between the government and the opposition needs to be strengthened in order to ensure the smooth functioning of institutions and to allow the parliament to play its full role.
The economy started to recover in the second half of 2010, as a result of increased external demand and investment in construction. The country has made further progress towards becoming a functioning market economy, notably by facilitating company registration and further simplifying the regulatory framework. Fiscal policy maintained its stability orientation. The country should be able to cope with competitive pressures and market forces within the Union in the medium term, provided that it vigorously implements its reform programme in order to reduce significant structural weaknesses.
However, weaknesses in the rule of law continue to impede the proper functioning of the market economy. Public administration efficiency is still low and some regulatory and supervisory agencies continue to lack the necessary independence and resource allocation to fulfil their functions effectively. The quality of fiscal governance has remained low, partly due to a strong short-term orientation of public spending. Progress with reducing very high structural unemployment has remained very limited. Deficiencies in the rule of law continue to have a negative bearing on the business climate.
Further progress was made in aligning legislation, policies and administrative capacity with the EU, in particular as regards the single market such as company law, financial services and energy. Good progress was also made on food safety and economic and monetary union. Efforts to address the new rise in asylum applications in EU Member States are ongoing.
Less progress has been achieved in other areas such as taxation, public procurement as well as social policy and employment. Sustained efforts are needed to strengthen administrative capacity for the implementation and enforcement of legislation.
EU-THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA: KEY DATES
2001: Ohrid Agreement signed; Constitution amended
April 2001: Signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA)
March 2004: Application for EU membership
April 2004: Entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA)
December 2005: The status of candidate country is granted
October 2009: The Commission recommends the opening of accession negotiations
December 2009: Visa-free travel to the Schengen countries
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