Negotiations’ Fundamentals Shaken

Brief analysis of the EC North Macedonia 2023 Report

The key points of this year’s Enlargement Package are the conditional recommendations for the start of negotiations with Ukraine, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the candidate status for Georgia, as well as the growth plan announced by the Commission.

The analysis of the Commission’s assessments for North Macecdonia leads to two conclusions:

  • Compared to last year, the level of preparedness to take on the responsibilities of EU membership has increased in one chapter. This is an expected development considering the Commission’s approach over the last decade that we touched upon in last year’s analysis.
  • The progress assessments are weaker than last year, and instead of “some progress”, the prevalent grade is “limited progress”. What ought to concern us in particular are the assessments of the judiciary and the fight against corruption as key areas that the overall course of the negotiations as part of the Fundamentals
    cluster depends on.

These conclusions are concerning on several points. On one hand, the country has repeatedly underlined its high level of alignment with the EU acquis. This general stagnation in combination with the lack of progress in Chapter 23: Judiciary and Fundamental Rights undermines this argument that is put forward by the supporters of our EU integration. On the other hand, the long-awaited growth plan, announced by the Commission this year, makes reform progress a prerequisite for the availability of EU support, which should make us take the findings of this year’s report especially seriously

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