After the establishment of a new government in North Macedonia following the political crisis in 2017, and the resulting stabilizing structural development, the General Affairs Council of Europe decided to open the accession negotiations with the country in March 2020. Therefore, new priorities were set to align existing laws and future legislation with the EU acquis and a number of reforms are foreseen, in particular in areas such as the justice system, the public administration and the institutional framework of human rights.
This 5-year project aims at supporting North Macedonia on its way to the EU. The project is built on the revised methodology "Enhancing the accession process - A credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans", endorsed by the Commission Communication in February 2020. It covers the justice sector, law enforcement, anti-corruption and the protection of human rights.
Objectives of the project and expected result areas
The overall objective of the project is strengthening the rule of law in North Macedonia. The project is divided into four specific components, which have several interlinkages and comprise a large number of activities focussing on the following result areas:
- Improving the capacities of justice institutions to deliver justice in transparent and accountable manner
Component 1 includes supporting the judicial sector in terms of advisory support, monitoring and management support in further development of Information Communication Technology (ICT). In order to enhance judicial reform strategies, processes in the civil, commercial and administrative justice will be strengthened. Particular attention will be paid to the capacities of the academy for judges and public prosecutors and to the analysis of specific challenges in ensuring access to justice for citizens.
- Strengthening the capacities to effectively implement modern investigation techniques in fighting organised crime
Component 2 includes improving criminal investigation capacities within relevant sectors in compliance with fundamental rights and EU standards to enhance strategic analyses of the criminal environment and the risk analysis system. Special support will be given to the National Coordination Centre for organised crime control and its role as an effective coordinator among law enforcement bodies.
- Improving the prevention and fight against corruption
Component 3 includes strategic support for ensuring the independence, effectiveness and efficiency in the operations of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption (SCPC) and improving control and verification of assets declarations submitted by elected and appointed public officials and members of Parliament. The law on lobbying will be enforced and the restrictions on gifts improved. Furthermore, the component aims at improving transparency of financing of political parties and election campaigns as well as the prevention of corruption in public procurement.
- Enhancing the protection of fundamental rights
Component 4 includes strengthening capacities within the main human rights bodies such as the Ombudsman Office, the Inter-Sectoral Commission for Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, and the National Commission on the Rights of the Child to enhance the protection of fundamental rights. The contribution of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights mainly focuses on this component. Dieter Schindlauer, associated expert of the institute, will steer the implementation as component leader based in Skopje. Other experts of the institute will contribute as short- and medium-term-experts throughout the 5-year duration of the project. The component will address topics like the prevention of gender-based violence and discrimination, strengthening children’s rights and the child protection system and raising awareness on the importance and role of human rights bodies and institutions. The project will also work towards enhancing respect for human rights in the judicial and home affairs system and probation system and to promote alternative means of detention.
News from project implementation:
Agnes Taibl (email@example.com)