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Macedonian prime minister meets with EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Mogherini

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The President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, accompanied by Vice President and Minister of Defense, Radmila Sekerinska, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov and State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Viktor Dimovski , met Monday with the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and the Deputy EC President, Federica Mogherini, chaired by EU Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Samuel Zbogar. High Representative of the EU Mogherini said at the meeting that the main message that she conveys is congratulations to Prime Minister Zaev personally to the Government, the opposition, the Parliament and the citizens, for the received clear recommendation to start Macedonia’s EU membership talks.

This, as High Representative Mogherini said, is the result of a well-done job in overcoming the political crisis achieved in the reform process, constructive policies with all political actors and the opposition, good neighborly relations, and that all these processes should continue through implementation of the reforms and the further unification of all, around the national and strategic goals of the state. In a press release, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Mogherini announced the EU’s assessment that the Republic of Macedonia has been restored on the European Union’s path, unlike a year ago, that a great deal has gone by, that the pure recommendation is the result of the joint work and that the government and the opposition should retain the forces to work together in the next steps.

BiH needs cooperation to maintain peace and stability

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH, Mladen Bosić, claimed that BiH needs firmer and better cooperation as well as more talks and negotiations in order to preserve regional peace and stability. Bosić also pointed out the importance of a more determined fight against crime and corruption, and the problem of rising populism, “strong leaders” and undermining democratic institutions. In BiH, organized crime, corruption and money laundering are a major problem. Stronger European support, exchange of experiences and better regional cooperation in the fight against crime, corruption and other deviations that are eroding BiH’s society, according to Bosić, are necessary. Therefore, accession of the country to the European Union would be much more than membership. 

Montenegro: Police intensifies patrol near border due to increase in the number of migrants

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Due to the increasing presence of migrants in the area, police has intensified patrols in villages that gravitate towards the state border between Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, police forces did not confirm the number of migrants residing in the territory of Pljevlja municipality, nor how many of them managed to cross the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina. When migrants enter the country they are not punished for illegal entry but are directed to submit the requests to the competent Ministry of Interior and accommodated in the competent centers where they can stay until the end procedure. However, many of them do not wait forC the asylum procedure to be terminated but try to illegally leave the territory of Montenegro via Bosnia or, seldom, through Croatia. Migrants enter the abandoned houses of the villages they cross to find refuge.

The Police Administration affirmed that four such cases were reported to them. Indeed, The Pljevlja Security Center has so far registered four citizens’ reports concerning breakouts in four family houses, in which no one lives in the winter. Police also claimed that since August 2017, there has been a slight increase in the number of illegal migrants from the neighboring Republic of Albania. Illegal migration in Montenegro is mainly of an individual and transitory character, mainly for economic reasons. The majority of migrants registered come from Algeria, Syria, Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, as well as citizens of neighboring countries such as Albania, Kosovo, and Serbia.

The EC supports the opening of negotiations with Albania

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The European Commission will recommend that the European Union open membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia, according to a first draft document by RadioFreeEurope and RadioLiberty. 

This document is part of the enlargement European Union package for enlargement to be published on April 17 in Strasbourg and which sets out how far non-EU Western Balkan countries and Turkey are on their way to European Union membership. The European Commission has recommended negotiations with Macedonia every year since 2009, but the European Union member countries in this council, particularly Greece, have blocked talks due to the name issue, which tensed relations between Athens and Skopje, since Macedonia was declared independent in 1991. Athens has opposed its northern neighbor in using the name Macedonia, claiming it implies territorial claims in its northern province of the same name. Also, the draft document confirms that the commission for the first time recommends the opening of Albania’s accession negotiations in the EU, which became an official EU candidate country in 2014. The document emphasizes that public administration reform has been consolidated, with the goal of increasing its professionalism and depoliticisation. He also adds that further action has been taken to strengthen the independence, efficiency and accountability of legal institutions, especially by advancing in the implementation of a comprehensive justice reform. 

Zaev-Gerberich: Germany supports Macedonia’s bid to join NATO and EU

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The Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, met with Thomas Gerberich, Ambassador of the Republic of Germany to the Republic of Macedonia.The meeting welcomed the reform steps of the Republic of Macedonia and the good neighborly relations that lead to the realization of the strategic Euro-Atlantic goals of the country. German Ambassador Gerberich conveyed support from the Republic of Germany for the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Republic of Macedonia, informing that Macedonia has the majority support from the German Bundestag for joining the country in the European Union. Ambassador Gerberich announced that the German Bundestag MPs returned to Germany with positive impressions of the visit to Macedonia for the constructive policies through which the issues important for the progress of the Republic of Macedonia are being addressed.

Montenegro became the 150th member of the OECD Global Forum

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Montenegrin Minister of Finance Darko Radunović announced that Montenegro became the 150th member of the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Automatic Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. Thanks to technical support provided to the Member States by the Global Forum, Montenegro will be committed to full harmonization of national tax legislation and practice with international standards in the future, and sign the Multilateral Agreement for the implementation of measures aimed at preventing erosion of the tax base and transferring profits, relate to double taxation avoidance agreements.

This will enable the availability and automatic exchange of information between the member countries of the Forum. Minister Radunović announced that Montenegro will work together with other members to fight tax evasion and claimed that membership in the Forum will bring the best standards and practices, as well as a partnership with the most developed countries in the world.

Macedonia tops list of energy reform implementation in the region

in ENERGY/EUROPE by

Macedonia is highly ranked in terms of energy reforms implemented by the Government and the Ministry of Economy. In the Report on Sustainable Development of the Energy Community, dedicated to the countries of the Western Balkans, the Republic of Macedonia is ranked first in the region in terms of progress in the implementation of energy reforms. Macedonia has the highest ratings on the list of six Western Balkan countries, in the area of energy efficiency, renewable energy, environmental protection, transparency and investment conditions in the field of energy.

Thanks to the dynamics of the energy reforms, Macedonia this year ranks first, and in the Report for Sustainable Development of the European Energy Community for June 2017, it was ranked in the group of countries with significant stagnation in relation to sustainable energy reforms. By the end of March, the Macedonian government approved the new Energy Law, proposed by the Ministry of Economy, and the adoption of this law mainly has an economic impact, since it marks the end of the monopoly and the granting of the right to choose consumers, which means that small and medium enterprises, as well as households, will have the right to choose a supplier of electricity and natural gas.

Bosnia Herzegovina: amendments to the BiH’s Election Law

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President of the Democratic Croat Union (HDZ) of BiH Dragan Čović believes that the agreement on amendments to the BiH Election Law will be reached by May 7, when the General Elections in BiH will be announced. BiH Presidency Member Čović stated that there is little time left to find an agreement and that this amendment is necessary for the state. He further claimed that it is only necessary to uphold the decisions of the Constitutional Court of BiH to change the Electoral Law. He stressed that the attitude of the Croatian People’s Assembly regarding the amendments to the Election Law should change legitimately the representation of Croats in the Presidency of BiH and in the homes of the people. Čović attempted to make an appointment with US Ambassador to BiH Maureen Cormack to discuss the above-mentioned amendments, but they still have not met. 

Albania: the justice reform as a signal of progress

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Germany’s ambassador to Tirana, Susanne Schütz says that the successful implementation of the justice reform is an important signal, first of all for the people in Albania who want to see progress in the irreversible transformation of Albania over democracy and the rule of law in its road to EU membership. 

During a joint reception with the EU Delegation and the EU countries participating in the EURALIUS consortium – it is a European Union project for technical support to justice bodies aiming to approximate their operational capability to EU standards -, the German diplomat thanked the EURALIUS IV mission (European Assistance Mission to the Albanian Justice System). 

Finally the Ambassador voiced the conviction that the Vetting process is the key to overcoming the widespread corruption and a more effective fight against criminality in Albania. 

Meeting of APPRM Angjushev and MTV Sugareski with Mihajlovic

in ECONOMY/EUROPE by

Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in charge of Economic Affairs Dr. Kocho Angjushev together with Minister of Transport and Communications Goran Sugareski met today in Belgrade, R. Serbia with Dr. Zoran Mihailovic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Construction, Infrastructure and Transport discussed the key infrastructure projects that connect the two countries. At the meeting an agreement was reached to facilitate all procedures for the transfer of goods and passengers at the border crossings.

Deputy Prime Minister Angjushev said that the parts have reached an agreement first in the region to facilitate all procedures for the transfer of goods and passengers at border crossings. He added that it is important to say that diplomats have found understanding within their cooperation to establish a customs office in Tabanovce, at the railway crossing between Macedonia and Serbia at the railway crossing. The countries will fund such a station jointly and at the same time ask for funds from the Western Balkans Investment Fund, which has already been discussed. Finally he stated they agreed to start such projects as soon as possible in the interests of the citizens of both countries: he thinks that in 2019 they can start building.

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