The screening process, the first phase of the EU membership negotiations, has ended

With the closing of the bilateral meeting on "Chapter 31 - Common Foreign and Security Policy" from Cluster 6 yesterday in Brussels, Macedonia's screening process with the EU officially ended, with which the country completed an essential phase that it should introduce in the next phase of the negotiations, continuation with the reforms and completion of obligations in order to become a full member of the Union by 2030.

The screening process started on September 15, 2022 and within its framework explanatory and bilateral meetings were held for all 33 chapters which are divided into six clusters. During this period, 850 presentations were held in Brussels, attended by approximately 1000 representatives from 206 different institutions from the country, as well as 800 experts from the European Commission. During the 15 months that screening lasted, the European Commission presented over 4500 acts, measures, regulations and directives.

On the occasion of the completion of the screening, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski expressed his satisfaction with its implementation in accordance with the established dynamics, saying that the European Commission also gave a positive assessment of the success and timely implementation of the process in the annual Report on the progress of the country on the European path, stating a solid level of compliance of our with European legislation.

At the Delphi Economic Forum, today Prime Minister Kovacevski will hold working meetings with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the United States of America for European and Eurasian Affairs.

- I am really satisfied that the Vice Prime Minister (Bojan) Maricic and his team at the Secretariat for European Affairs went through the whole process successfully and on time. The roadmaps follow, which are our obligation arising from the Negotiating Framework, which in turn are a condition for opening the first cluster, Kovacevski added.

According to him, in addition to the completion of the screening process, the Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, which was prepared by the European Commission at the request of the countries of the region, is of great importance for the country.

– The growth plan is exactly what we expected – elaborate, operational and focused on several priorities that make it achievable, not just another plan with unattainable goals. This Plan will give a new, strong impetus to the European integration process. With its realization, which also depends on the EU, but above all on us, the countries of the Western Balkans will double the size of the economy of the region and the country through increased economic cooperation, Kovacevski pointed out.

I believe that he will be able to give us more information regarding when the adoption of the methodology itself is planned, about the attitude of the member states towards the methodology itself. It is important to me

The Vice Prime Minister in charge of European affairs and the main negotiator of the country with the EU, Bojan Maricic, said that considering our commitment and efforts to become a full member of the EU, he expects the European Council next week to receive a recommendation to continue with the second Intergovernmental Conference.

- With this, every next step in the process of our country's accession to the European Union, as well as the dynamics of negotiations, will depend only on us, on the adoption of the constitutional amendments. We are at a key point in our history that will transform Macedonian society. This is a historic moment for North Macedonia, for the Western Balkans and for the European Union. We must use this opportunity without hesitation, without worries and without fear, but with the conviction that it will contribute to the prosperity of the state and citizens, said Maricic.

According to him, delaying or blocking the process of negotiations and the membership of North Macedonia in the EU represents a danger for our reforms and development.

 

- I am confident that with the majority of Macedonian citizens who want to see the Republic of North Macedonia in the European Union in 2030, together we will succeed. Let's overcome the obstacles together and secure the European future for current and future generations, said the Vice Prime Minister for European Affairs.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani, on the other hand, emphasized that now after the completion of the screening process, our European accession path will be stopped artificially, if we do not adopt the constitutional amendments.

- It will be a historically missed opportunity in this geopolitical situation in the Union when expansion is a priority and a geostrategic necessity. Therefore, I am once again making a call to ensure the necessary majority in the Assembly to achieve the goal, which is of strategic national importance and is the aspiration of the majority of our citizens to belong to the Euro-Atlantic family, which no party can ignore, especially if it claims to heads the future government, emphasized Osmani.

The State Secretary in SEP and Deputy Chief Negotiator with the EU, Drita Abdiu-Khalili, said that during the screening, we realized that as a country we have a good level of compliance of our legislation with the European one, but the implementation remains a challenge.

- In order to achieve the EU criteria, it is necessary to work intensively in the coming period, during the opening of the clusters, closing the chapters, reforming and developing our country, until full membership in the Union in 2030, said Abdiu-Khalili.

According to her, as a country we proved that we are ready to continue the negotiations, to continue opening the clusters and to reach our strategic goal, full membership in the EU by 2030.

During the screening, we realized that as a country we have a good level of compliance of our legislation with the European one, but the implementation remains a challenge, said the state secretary in

The Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for the Promotion of the European Way of Living, Margaritis Schinas, after the meeting with the Vice Prime Minister Maricic, held after the completion of the screening process, said that North Macedonia has already taken great steps towards joining the EU.

We encourage our friends in Skopje to seize the momentum and continue with key reforms, with a focus on constitutional amendments and the rule of law, Schinas said in a post on the X platform.

The American ambassador to the country, Angela Ageler, on the other hand, said that North Macedonia's membership in the European Union is key to the implementation of reforms.

- We, at the US Embassy, ​​certainly find the results confusing, especially after spending millions of dollars in the past years on training prosecutors and others in the justice system.

In any case, our views are clear. The USA, as you know, is not a member of the EU, but we hope that you will become a member of the EU as soon as possible, because we believe that your membership in the Union is crucial for the implementation of reforms, and at the same time we believe that with the possible changes made, become a full member of the EU as soon as possible, said Ageler.

Now, after the completion of the screening process, the preparation of the roadmaps follows, which are our obligation from the Negotiating Framework and are a condition for opening the first cluster. It is about roadmaps for the rule of law, for the reform of public administration and for the functioning of democratic institutions, as well as an Action Plan for the protection of members of minorities and communities.

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