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The challenges for Macedonia's membership in EU.

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Generally about Western Balkan's Membership in EU

The enlargement made the European Union what it is today--a huge power for the promotion and support of peace, democracy, and prosperity, as well as a force for projecting the European values and influence on the rest of the world. It is this enlargement that enabled the European Union transform former dictatorships into democracy of the member states. There were reservations during every enlargement but in all the cases the Union proved its institutional, financial, and political capacity for including new members in the family.

The latest enlargement in 2007, experienced the historical dimension of a repeated unity of Europe, and this was just another economic success that enhanced the European economic dynamics, the growth and creation of new jobs, and boosted investments and free trade. (1)

However, while the majority is waiting for the enlargement, many European citizens have doubts with regard to its speed and achievement. The Union must respect the existing commitments. At the same time, there is a need for an informative debate on the future expansions and their importance for the Union as a whole. The issue concerning the way in which the EU can endure the access of new members while expanding its main goals is not new. In Copenhagen in 1993 the European Council became famous for its "absorbing" capacity, while the "Agenda 2000" proposed a package for institutional reforms, politics and budget, which opened the road to a successful expansion in May 2004. (2) In this way the European Union proved to be capable of accepting new members and remain efficient. In order to prove that it can do this again, there is the necessity to ensure joint spirit in the sense that further expansion will help the common European project. So, the process for a country's membership in EU is long and complicated.

As for the EU access of the Western Balkans, there are at least two vague questions: the first is whether they will become members of the EU individually or as a group and the second is whether the EU will commit to expand within its financial framework distributing the main budget (financial perspectives for the period 2007-2013).

With reference to the first question, according to the analysis of the International Crisis Group (ICG), the "Thessalonica Statement of 2003" of the European Union about the Western Balkans is treated as a signal according to which there will not be a group expansion for the five states (3) and that each one of them will be separately ranked according to individual achievements.

However, although the latest expansion in 2004 was done on the same basis, the final result was a group membership. The integration of the Western Balkan countries in EU, one by one, can rather create problems than give a solution for the region as an entity. The learned lesson from the latest expansion was that the individual approach has limits. In any way, it seems impossible for all Western Balkan countries to become members of the EU together. Macedonia can hope to gain scores from the success of Croatia; as an alternative, there is the risk for it to join the group of Western Balkan countries that have not applied for membership yet. (4)

The promise for membership was made based on all the conditions of the EU for the region of the Western Balkans, starting from cooperation with the Hague Tribunal to the institutional strategic questions as is the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement in Macedonia.

With the enlargement from 2007, which covered Bulgaria and Romania, the Balkans has been thoroughly surrounded by member countries of the EU and thus the Balkan states have remained as a framed ghetto in the core of Europe. It seems as though the influence of the EU in the region is decreasing only when the Balkan political elite does not believe that membership in EU is something that can come true. This will definitely not leave enough room for initiatives of the governments in the region to undertake difficult reforms and there is the probability that this may return the region back to the destructive politics from the past. If this happens, the European Union will find itself in a position of spending more time on stabilizing strategies--related to wars or political missions--and less on the development of the institutional differences. This would be a disaster not only for the region and it might also be the most difficult test for Europe's foreign politics.

The certainty of a probable strategy for the integration of the region in EU and the prevention from the formation of a Balkan ghetto is a solution not only for the region but also for the EU itself. Without taking into the account the tiredness of the EU from expansions, a minority believes that the Balkan success remains the main interest of the EU not only because it can represent the most impressive successful politics of Europe (or its biggest and most expensive failure) but because it is a far cheaper and better alternative than to see the region go back to a political instability. (5)

Concerning the second question--the financial aspects of the further EU expansion, the European Commission has prepared the Rule Book of the Council for Enhancing the Assisting Instrument for Pre-Approaching (IPA), which will define the quantity, and what is more important--the kind of EU support to be given to the Western Balkan countries in the period 2007-2013.

In December 2006 the European Commission decided to reinforce the EU Enlargement Agenda. A consensus on enlargement was reached that was based on "3 Principles C" (2005); reinforcement, conditioning, and communications. By the day they get the approval, the states must be prepared to fulfill all the conditions for membership in the Union. The speed of the accession process particularly depends on the reforms of each negotiating state.

Macedonia's Membership in EU

The information in 2003 that Macedonia would apply for membership in EU was accepted with an evident lack of enthusiasm by the member countries and institutions of the EU. At that time, the European Union welcomed with astonishment the preparedness of the Irish chairing for accepting the official application from the then Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski on 26 February 2004 (6).

The High Commissioner for Foreign Politics and Security (CFSP) Javier Solana described the Macedonian application as a "signal for great achievements and hope for the entire region". Stability Pact coordinator Erchard Busek called the application an indicator for the resoluteness of the countries from the region to integrate in Europe. However, European Parliament's President Pat Cox pointed out that the "goal of the country to accession and to the road to Europe is also the vision of the European Parliament". (7)

On 17 May 2004, the EU Council of Ministers asked the European Commission to prepare the public, the so-called avis, in reference to the Macedonian application (which was handed in September 2005). In the meantime, the Macedonian authorities were asked to prepare the all-encompassing Rule Book presented by the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi in Skopje in September 2004. (8)

The EU avis was structured based on the so-called Copenhagen criteria (1993) for evaluating the capacity of the former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe for membership in EU. (9) On the basis of the positive avis from the end of 2005, Macedonia was given the candidate status (10), but by the end of 2008 it had not yet been given the date for negotiations for membership in EU.

The importance of this decision, not only for Macedonia but also for the region, was emphasized by some international analyses and it was said that this decision had a positive and demonstrative effect on the other countries from the Western Balkans, as was the case with the avis of Croatia. Practically, the additional access to the EU Fund and the publication of the annual reports on the process made by the EC would have been implied instead of the reports on stabilization and association.

The same international analyses attracted the attention by saying that Macedonia remained a vulnerable state imperiled by the low capacity of its institutions and the weak confidence of the citizens in them. The political process in Macedonia is controlled by special strong interests and by the "undemocratic nature of the political parties that remain in the center of the crisis of political representation". (11)

All right, but according to Mark Beunderman, the negotiations for membership in EU will be focused on the persuasion for an improved and professional civil service, so that we can expect, as in the other countries in transition, the key sectors of the state administration to improve their performances. In the meantime, the result of the process of the avis will, in any way, depend almost totally on the development here, while the exterior factors will affect the EU schedule.

This approach, according to the "merits", was reaffirmed by the European Commissioner for Enlargement Oli Ren, who said that the Macedonian candidacy does not imply automatic beginning of the negotiations for membership. However, according to former Dutch Foreign Minister Bot, the next step might be very far away. (12)

The Republic of Macedonia started the relations with the European Union at the beginning of the 90s in the last century. In the first year of the new millennium, it became the first state from the Western Balkans that signed the Stabilization and Association Pact, and at the end of 2005 it received the candidate status. This is a dynamic development of one of the rare examples where a country, from a war situation, in only four years became an EU candidate. This is why the written history (further in the text) about the relations between Macedonia and the EU is truly a history with positive results in the post-conflict process with European dimensions, exactly as was the very European idea after the Second World War: reconciliation and integration. Since 2004, the Stabilization and Association Pact has represented the basic legal framework for the relations between the Republic of Macedonia and the EU. From a normative aspect, here are some parts of the Pact: preamble, main text, seven annexes, five protocols, and four joint speeches. The text of the Pact itself is divided into ten chapters: general principles, political dialogue, regional agreement, free flow of goods and workers, foundation of companies, services and capital, harmonization of legislation and implementation of laws, courts and internal affairs, politics of cooperation, financial cooperation, and the tenth chapter--institutional determination, basic and definitive. According to Article 1 of the Pact, "an association is formed between the Union on the one and Macedonia on the other side". (13) The association (according to Article 5) "will be fully accomplished not further than in ten years". (14)

As regards the implementation of this Agreement, Articles (108)--109 define the institutions and the process of implementation as are the Stabilization and Association Council composed of representatives from Macedonia and the Council of the European Commission as the highest institutional structure that meets once a year. (15) After the EU-Macedonia Stabilization and Association Pact had come into force (April 2004), its implementing bodies were formed.

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Beside the Stabilization an Association Council, there also operate the Stabilization and Association Committee and seven multidisciplinary sub-committees, covering various spheres, like: courts and internal affairs, commerce, industry, borders, taxes, agriculture, fishing, internal commerce, competition, economic and financial questions, researches, technological development, social politics, transportation, energy, and politics of the region. (16)

There is the joint parliamentarian committee of the Macedonian and the European Parliaments (JPC)(17) in this institutional structure of the stabilization and association process, and starting from 2006 Macedonia received the status of observer in the Conference of the Commissions for European Questions in the National Parliament (COSAC). (18)

In the frameworks of the preparations of Macedonia for integration in EU, the "Strategy of the Republic of Macedonia for Integration in EU" was adopted in 2004. (19) According to this Strategy, the "Integration of Macedonia in EU represents a clear and undisputable strategic interest and a priority goal in the politics on all administrative levels". (20) This strategic and voluminous document of the Republic of Macedonia did not just define exactly the general framework of the entire process of integration of Macedonia in EU, but also the implementing aspects of this long-term vision.

As mentioned before, after the adoption of the "statement for submitting request for membership of the Republic of Macedonia to EU" (21), the Government of the Republic of Macedonia submitted an official request for full membership in EU (22 March 2004). Upon the request of the Council of Ministers, in May 2004 the European Commission started the procedure of the so-called "avis" according to which the Macedonian Government had to fill in the voluminous questionnaires of the EC in order to depict the adequate situation in Macedonia in context of the fulfillment of the EU criteria.

Beside the classical criteria of the EU, the Republic of Macedonia had to fulfill additional political criteria that were simplified in the implementation of the peace agreement. This implied that on its road to integration in EU Macedonia had to fulfill only one more precondition: full implementation of the Ohrid Agreement (22). This Agreement covers many EU standards that are also standards of the stabilization and association process. By the end of 2005, Macedonia had implemented most of the Ohrid Agreement and thus it fulfilled the main political precondition for receiving the status of candidate, while some parts of this Agreement remained not implemented in the period 2006-2008. (23)

After a very laborious work, but with the shared responsibility of all the parties of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, 14,000 pages with 1,921 questions of the EC questionnaire were filled in an express deadline (14 February 2005), which were officially delivered to EC President Jose Manuel Barroso. Finally, as a confirmation for the responsible and serious work of the Macedonian Government and based on the EC positive opinion (9 November 2005), the European Council, backed by the decision of 17 November 2005, gave Macedonia the status of candidate.

This was an encouraging development for Macedonia, which was expected to consolidate its stability by focusing on the development of the institutions, improvement of the implementation of the law, good administration, de-centralization, consolidation of trust among the ethnic communities, and normally, economic development and foreign investments attraction. The implementation of the reforms requires consolidation of the administrative capacities by transforming the public administration into a service trusted by the citizens, which will guarantee the general interest but will not affect the economic decisions in which the private sector should be free to operate and create wealth without intervention. The capacity of Macedonia in facing these challenges in a successful way should enable the state consolidate its stability and show further understanding for a common administration with the EU.

The Macedonian authorities are trying to fulfill the political criteria for membership particularly via the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement, the reforms in the judiciary system, the public administration, the police, and the war against corruption and organized crime. Yes, but there are many things left to be done, as is for instance the full implementation of the Ohrid Agreement or the rule of the laws and the judicial reforms as foundations of the political criteria.

However, according to the Annual Report of the EC on its progress, in the period 2006-2008 Macedonia was stagnating in settling down these political criteria.

It is necessary to say that Macedonia's attempts on its road to the implementation of the European Agenda were strongly supported by the EU with the efforts of it special representatives (24) located in Skopje. The European Commission is giving its support through stabilizing processes and joint mechanisms, also assisted by the CARDS Program (since 2008 with the assistance of the IPA Program), thus forming an adequate framework for institutional reforms accompanied by a package of concentrating projects in legal questions and internal affairs which encompass management of border integration as well. (25)

Normally, however, the assistance is not sufficient unless there is a high level of engagement of the state institutions and the Government. In the EC annual reports on the advancement of Macedonia in the last few years it is concluded that there is a "stoppage on the road to the reforms".

Without resoluteness and without attempts for identifying yourself in order to follow the general interests, you cannot make reforms that are of a more advanced development or prepare the terrain for further reforms in the field of economy, in the general and special sectors, as well as in the field of legal reforms and greater efficiency of the judicial system. The efforts regarding economic reforms is of special importance in fulfilling the criteria for membership, particularly the main criteria for commercial economy, and therefore it should not be taken as something granted without taking into the account that, in the past, Macedonia used to be more developed than many other states that managed to pass the test and are now becoming EU members.

The judicial reform is also becoming an imperative, because as international monitors observe, as well as experts and citizens, the existing defense system of the legitimate rights and the compensations are not on the necessary level. This goes for both criminal and civil felonies. This was definitely a result of the lack of cooperation in the exchange of information, lack of independence, and lack of a clearly defined system of defense of the judges and prosecutors, but also a result of the lack of proper distribution of the funds of the new legislative system that is not playing the role of the third authority of the state vis-a-vis the Government and the Parliament.

The consolidation of the process of European integrations with the demonstration of the will of the Government aimed at abiding to the principles of the stabilization and association process will hopefully obtain the role of a catalyst in the internal stability, in the relaxation of the inter-ethnic relations, as well as in the realization of the economic and institutional reforms necessary for the advancement of the Republic of Macedonia.

If we were to make a sum out of this complicated process, we could draw the final result, which is that the stabilization and association process in the case of Macedonia had developed into two phases before it received the candidate status (the end of 2005):

1. The first phase or the implementation of the more important parts of the rapprochement, stabilization, and legal approximation of Macedonia with EU acquis. (26)

2. The second phase that led to the end of this preparatory process with the desired epilogue--for Macedonia to receive the candidate status.

Well, after the candidate status was received, as stated in the preparatory elaborates, according to the EC assessments in the last few years Macedonia has reduced progress in many fields, particularly as regards the fulfillment of the political criteria. Macedonia continued its preparations for membership in EU with all that. (27)

Macedonia's progress in this preparatory process was assessed not only through the complete fulfillment of the political and economic criteria from Copenhagen, but also through the degree of the adoption of the EU right (acquis). The latter had to confirm its capability not only for harmonizing Macedonia's legislation with the one of the EU, but also its implementation. (28) This implies administrative and legal capacities for its implementation.

The Stabilization and Association Pact is definitely the basic legal framework in the Republic of Macedonia-European Union relations until its full membership. Together with the Stabilization and Association Pact, the main weapon that will be used in monitoring the implementation of the entire process of the membership of the Republic of Macedonia in EU remains the "European Partnership" that came in force on 30 January 2006. (29)

In November 2007, the Commission proposed a change from European Partnership into Accession Partnership that the Council approved of for the first time for the Republic of Macedonia on 18 February 2008.30 The Government of the Republic of Macedonia had previously adopted the Action Plan for European Partnership (31), but at the beginning of March 2008 it approved the Action Plan for the implementation of the Accession Partnership.

We may say that the complete and continued implementation of the defined priorities with the Accession Partnership (32), particularly the "8 benchmarks" (33), should remain Macedonia's main commitment on its road to the EU membership because the progress of the general integration process will be measured based on the progress in this process.

The translation of about 100,000 pages of the "acquis communautaire" (34) is the obligation of the government of the candidate country (and not the Union) that in the end must prepare the national version of the "acquis". This implies that it has to do with a very responsible and complicated process that, according to the experiences of the so-far member states, can last for years. The translation of the EU legislation is not just a linguistic and information material, but also a legally-committing document and a precondition for further progress of the general integrating process of the Republic of Macedonia in EU.

In conformity with the Stabilization and Association Pact and the Accession Partnership, the Republic of Macedonia has now adopted the National Program for the implementation of the EU acquis. (35) However, ahead of it there are many preparations, first of all the previous preparations for membership, (36) continuation of the negotiations for visa regime liberalization with the EU and creation of working groups composed of experts for every chapter of the EU "acquis".

Setting the date for the onset of negotiations on accession

In its decision for candidate status given to the Republic of Macedonia on(17) December 2005, the EC did not set a date for starting accession negotiations as it was the case with other countries. As it was pointed out the date was to be defined later depending on the achieved progress in realization of the priority activities, first of all the political criteria: implementation of the Ohrid Agreement; free and democratic elections, sustainable reforms in the public administration, judiciary, police, and the struggle against corruption.

This is why the later phase associated to the relations with the EU was supposed to start after the decision on starting accession negotiations. The two consecutive years--2006-2008--showed a stagnation in Macedonia's approximation to EU because 2006 was an election year, 2007 was the year in which many of the requests noted in the EC annual report were not accomplished (37), and especially because of stagnation in the implementation of the political criteria, while 2008 was again an election year due to the early parliamentarian elections.

At the beginning of 2008, following the encouraging messages of EC Vice President Franco Frattini and Commissioner for Enlargement Oli Ren (during their visits to Skopje in February and March 2008), there appeared hopes that the Republic of Macedonia could catch the step with the acceleration of the reforms after a two years' stagnation.

However, later (for the third time in April 2008) Greece blocked the invitation to Macedonia for NATO at the NATO Summit in Bucharest because of the issue with the constitutional name. For that reason, the Macedonian authorities handed over the memorandum against Greece to the International Court of justice in The Hague. The document, which contains statements of Greek politicians given after Athens put a veto to the country's entry into NATO in Bucharest in April 2008, would serve as an evidence that Athens violated the interim agreement with Skopje not to block the country's integration in international organisations.

Following the adjournment of the Macedonian Assembly (12 April 2008) and the scheduling of early parliamentarian elections (1 June 2008), as well as the signals sent during the beginning of the election campaign, it seems that it was difficult for Macedonia to get a positive statement about the progress that could open the road to setting the date for starting negotiations for accession to EU. In the period between 2006 and 2008, after the fulfillment of the three Copenhagen criteria, there always came an additional one for the Republic of Macedonia, which was "to find a commonly acceptable solution for the name with Greece" (38). Although this condition was not a part of the Copenhagen criteria, it became so strong that it was presented as a serious obstacle to the Euro-Atlantic integration of Macedonia. This was also evinced by blocking the invitation to Macedonia for membership in NATO by Greece, at the Summit in Bucharest, on 3 April 2008 and the continual threats that Greece might use the veto in setting the date for starting EU accession negotiations. (39)

If we add the fact that the Macedonian Parliament was adjourned (40) and early elections were scheduled, (41) it seems that the probability for setting a date for starting accession negotiations with Republic of Macedonia somewhere in mid 2008 became smaller. This was because the implementation of priorities emerging from the Accession Partnership and especially from the eight referential points requires time and utmost engagement of all the administrative capacities.

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Arta Ibrahimi Alibasic--South East European University--Tetovo

(1) COM (2006) 200,3.5.2006

(2) Copenhagen criteria 1993 Agenda 2000, http://ed.europa.eu/agenda 2000/index_en.

(3) Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro

(4) International Crisis Group 2005b

(5) European Stabilization Initiative, ESI, www.esiweb.org

(6) Yes, but when this was just about to happen, the news arrived in Dublin about the fatal air crash carrying President Boris Trajkovski and the ceremony was postponed for 22 March 2004.

(7) International Crisis Group 2004b

(8) The Rule Book encompasses questions related to a number of issues connected with the political system, the economy, the legislation, the administration, and the social questions.

(9) The three Copenhagen criteria are: 1) Stability of the institutions that guarantee democracy, implementation of laws, human rights, and respect for the minorities; 2) commercial functional economy, including the capacity for dealing with the pressure of the competition and the commercial forces within the Union; and 3) Ability for taking over the duties for membership, including monitoring of the goals of the political, economic, and monetary union. In 1997, in Luxembourg, the European Council gave the status of candidate to all the candidate members (without taking into the account the defects related to the political criteria of Slovenia and Turkey), but the negotiations only began with those that were evaluated to have a functional commercial economy; after the reshuffle of the authorities in Slovenia, the negotiations started with all the other states in 1999 except with Turkey. The eight former communist countries became members in May 2004. The other two countries, Romania and Bulgaria, were expected to become members in 2007. (International Crisis Group 2004b).

(10) The European Commission, "Commission Opinion on the application from the Republic of Macedonia for membership for the European Union" Brussels, 9 November 2005: http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/fyrom/key_document. htm. (In the original text the author is using the provisional reference for addressing the Republic of Macedonia as used by the EU institutions.)

(11) International Crisis Group 2004b; similar was also the part regarding the political criteria of the Annual Report of the EC for Macedonia published on 6 November 2007 (see Republic of Macedonia 2007 Progress Report, Commission Staff Working Document, November 2007; Enlargement strategy and main challenges, COM (2007) 663, Brussels 6.11.2007).

(12) Mark Beunderman, "Macedonia fells enlargement blues as Paris blocks EU status", http://euobserver.com/9/20529.

(13) See: Stabilization and Association Pact between Macedonia and EU.

(14) Ibid.

(15) The first meeting was held on 5 June 2004 in Skopje, the second on 18 July 2005 in Brussels, the third on 16 October 2006 again in Brussels, and the fourth on 23 July 2007 also in Brussels.

(16) After the first meeting in 2004, the Stabilization and Association Committee held its second meeting on 10 June 2005, the third on 19 June 2006 in Skopje, an the fourth on 19 June 2007.

(17) The first meeting was held in 2004, the second on 5 December 2005 in Brussels, and the third in April 2006.

(18) The Commission for European Questions of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia participated in the conference held in Vienna from 22 to 23 May 2006.

(19) The national strategic plan for integration of the Republic of Macedonia in EU (The Government of the Republic of Macedonia, March 2000); see the Government of the Republic of Macedonia n. 541, Skopje, 10 March 2004; see the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, legal council, n.44/4273, Skopje, 16 March 2004.

(20) Ibid, p. 13; finally, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted this Strategy on its session on 6 September 2004.

(21) Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia n. 07/04.

(22) The highest authorities of the EU have repeated this view many times with the famous formulation: "The road of the Republic of Macedonia to EU passes via Ohrid". OSCE representative De Gut, during his visit to Macedonia in April 2008, stated that Macedonia needed a strategy for proportional participation of the ethnic minorities, and he particularly pointed out the fact that in the judiciary system of Macedonia there is only 6 percent Albanians (see for more in the interview of De Gut for "Fakti", 28.04.2006).

(23) Efforts are made for a full implementation of the Annexes B and C of the OPMD, which implies adoption of laws on the use of the languages and national symbols, as well as mechanisms for confidence building by improving the national participation in the administration, police, army, judiciary system. De Gut made concrete remarks about the judiciary system, and during his latest visit to Skopje in April, he said that the ethnic participation of the Albanians in the judiciary system of the Republic of Macedonia needed improvement, which was at the moment only 6 percent; the problem of making the Albanian language official and of giving social support to the victims of the 2001 conflict was neither solved inside Gruevski's Government (August 2006-April 2008) nor following the May Agreement between BDI and VMRO-DPMNE or after the March Agreement between these two parties.

(24) Macedonia is the state in which, for the first time, EU Ambassador Ervan Fuere had a double mission: special EU envoy and Head of EC Delegation.

(25) With the new financial program IPA, the first project financed by this instrument is for the police reforms.

(26) The legal aspects in connection with the preparation of the laws in harmony with the EU legal standards.

(27) Republic of Yugoslavia 2007. Progress Report, Commission Staff Working Document, Brussels 6.11.2007. Proposal for a Council Decision on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Macedonia and repealing Decision 2006/57/EC, Brussels 6.11.2007.

(28) It is assessed that Macedonia has translated into Macedonia approximately 20 percent of the EU legislation.

(29) The Government of the Republic of Macedonia--Sector for European Integrations: "Information connected with the process of membership of the Republic of Macedonia in EU for 2005", Skopje, February 2006, p. 11; also, "National Draft Program for the Adoption of the EU right (Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje, March 2006, p. 17)".

(30) Council Decision on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Macedonia and repealing decision 2006/57/EC, Brussels, 6.11.2007; and Council decision 18.02.2008.

(31) Ibid p.12.

(32) The priorities emerging form the Accession Partnership that the Council presented to Macedonia cover short-term priorities (1-2 years) and mid-term priorities (3-4 years). There are 120 in the first group, 34 of which are connected with the implementation of the political, two with economic criteria, and 84 with the implementation of the EU acquis. There are 52 priorities in the mid-term priorities; seven are connected with the political criteria, five with economic, while 40 with the implementation of the acquis. Council, GAERC: "The Republic of Macedonia 2007, Accession Partnership, adopted on 18.02.2008.

(33) These eight referential points of priorities for Macedonia were published by EC on 5 March 2008.

(34) This voluminous material covers 15,000 pages of the EU Official Gazette and 850 key decisions of the European Court of Justice.

(35) After the "First Program for Approximation of the national legislation to the EU acquis" (2001), which was monitored on an annual level, in March 2006, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia presented the "National draft Plan for implementing EU acquis". This draft was viewed by the EC and was adopted in April 2007, while the Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted the final version at the beginning of 2007. The National Draft Plan for implementation of the EU legislation. (The Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje, March 2006, pp. 1-2; until May 2008.)

(36) One of the preparatory tasks (before starting the negotiations for access to EU) is the process of translation of the Union's legislation and the preparation of the version of the Republic of Macedonia for the acquis. For this purpose, the experiences of the other states as is the case of Slovenia prove that a special class has to be formed, composed not only of linguists, but of lawyers, too, because parallel with the translation it has to be revised and then transformed into national legislation.

(37) Daily newspaper "Dnevnik", 20 July 2009

(38) The EC decisions, Brussels, 13.12.2007.

(39) "Karamanlis is threatening with veto for EU, too" (according to A1 Television on its news at 7 p.m. on 12.04.2008).

(40) On 11 April 2008, the Macedonian Assembly dissolved itself with 72 votes in favor.

(41) The former Macedonian Assembly Chairman set the date for the early parliamentarian elections (on 1 June 2008).
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Author:Alibasic, Arta Ibrahimi
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Date:Jul 1, 2009
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