In early February 2020, the European Commission presented a new negotiating methodology. The key novelty is the grouping of chapters that the previous candidate countries negotiated, in the so-called “Clusters”.
The reason for this is the connection between the chapters and the need to define reforms across multiple sectors. The most challenging cluster is, of course, the first one, entitled “Fundamentals”, which includes, among other things, the rule of law and the fight against corruption.
In North Macedonia, when we talk about these two topics, we are talking about an insurmountable problem. How to achieve success in the fight against corruption, when we have problems with the rule of law? How to condemn the corrupt if we do not have an independent judiciary? How can we expect justice to come to the corrupt ones if they can buy their freedom, or worse, know the right people?
The problems with these two areas highlight the importance of the Assembly. In the process of approaching the EU, it stands against the two authorities with executive powers – the government with its ministries and agencies, and the judiciary. Besides, specialized institutions that it has established are accountable to the Assembly, such as the commissions for prevention of corruption, and protection of competition, and several other regulatory bodies.
Hence, the Assembly can play a crucial role in producing solutions visible to citizens. And exactly visible results for the citizens are explicitly mentioned as a condition for approaching the EU.
The main contribution of the Assembly in the process of European integration is to ensure the sustainability of reforms. On the one hand, lawmakers need to ensure dialogue between the government, the opposition and other stakeholders on the strategic directions and development that reforms should provide for citizens. On the other hand, sustainability is also ensured by achieving success in reforms, which should be subject to constant parliamentary oversight.
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