The 14th meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Committee between the Republic of Macedonia and the European Union (SAC) was held on June 29, 2017 in Brussels. The Committee was co-chaired by Ms. Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for the Western Balkans at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission, and Bujar Osmani, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in charge of European Affairs. The Minister of Justice Bilen Saliji and the Minister of Information Society and Administration Damjan Manchevski also participated.
The Stabilisation and Association Committee noted the situation regarding the political and economic criteria, the approximation with the European legislation (acquis) and the implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
The European Commission welcomed the Government"s intention to dynamise the reform agenda for EU and to ensure proper consultation with the civil society and other stakeholders. The European Commission called on implementation of the obligations from the Przhino Agreement and the Urgent Reform Priorities and expressed its willingness to help the efforts of all stakeholders in this regard.
The Government expressed its satisfaction from the support of the European Commission for the most important short-term reform priorities that need to be implemented and also demonstrated readiness and full commitment to the implementation of the reforms in a transparent, inclusive and coherent way, as well as further strengthening of the inter ethnic relations, inter alia, through full implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.
The Government expressed its expectations, as soon as the conditions are met, for future concrete steps by the European Commission and the Member States, which will be a positive signal and a strong impetus for the country"s EU integration process.
Both sides agreed that visible results should be made in important areas, such as judicial independence, determining responsibility for wiretaps, respect of fundamental rights, freedom of the media, and public administration reform. Regarding the questions of the systematic rule of law, the European Commission addressed the recommendations of the high-level experts on rule of law, who will visit the country again in July 2017.
The European Commission stressed the importance of achieving progress in approximation with the EU legislation, especially in regard to the internal market, as well as the need to meet other international obligations, for example, on energy and transport connectivity. The Government stressed the importance of the upcoming Trieste Summit, including the signing of the Treaty on the Transport Community and support for the regional economic zone and infrastructure projects.
The parties expect to continue the discussions on the progress made in these key areas during the Stabilisation and Association Council on 18 July 2017.