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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 23 July 2013

Statement by Commissioner Štefan Füle following the Stabilisation and Association Council with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Today's meeting was a useful opportunity to jointly review progress in the accession process. We discussed this in the context of the Stabilisation and Association (SA) Agreement and the priority areas of the High Level Accession Dialogue (HLAD)

I would like to highlight a few issues which the EU finds particularly important:

First, the full implementation of the 1 March political agreement is essential. We had welcomed the fact that the Committee of Inquiry was established, so I regret to hear now that the Chair has tendered his resignation. We understand that progress had been achieved. It is therefore important that work continues to reach mutually agreed findings and forward looking recommendations. Recommendations should be translated into action to provide a positive political agenda.

Second, as regards the priority areas of the High Level Accession Dialogue, let me point to freedom of expression, in particular in the media. The Dialogue with the media (including through mechanisms such as the Media Working Group / Round Table) is essential in order to:

  • re-build the trust between the media community and the government; and

  • carry out the reforms necessary for pluralism and freedom of expression in your country.

It is also important that comments and recommendations on the new media law are properly taken into account.

Third, on electoral reform, we welcome that discussions on amendments to the electoral legislation have been launched. It is important that all shortcomings and recommendations are addressed as early as possible in a fully inclusive manner.

Overall, this SA Council was another opportunity to underline our good relations and to confirm that progress is being made and that reforms are being implemented across a wide range of sectors. It is important that the country continues these reforms, focusing on capacity and implementation. It is equally important that outstanding political issues be addressed, in order to create a positive climate later this year when the Member States will next make decisions about the enlargement process.


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