Organized by the European Policy Institute , a debate titled “Monitoring the Rule of Law for EU Member States and Candidates: Bridging the Gap” was held in Skopje, with the participation of our Executive Director, Ms. Anja Bosilkova Antovska, together with prominent researchers in the field of EU integration and the rule of law in the region, Mr. Ivan Novosel from the House of Human Rights from Zagreb and Mr. Marko Kmezic – representative of the BiEPAG group. The issue of the Rule of Law, in the context of European Union membership, was again placed in the public focus.
Before the official start of the debate, the representative of the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Frosina Tasevska, who welcomed and emphasized the role of civil society in the pre-accession process, especially in the field of monitoring the implementation of reforms, as well as the joint efforts with the institutions to prepare quality roadmaps for the process.
Mr. Novosel in his speech pointed out that the rule of law in EU member states, in order to be maintained and nurtured, must be constantly monitored to intervene in the detection of the truest fluctuations, while that mechanism should be set as the desired standard in the countries aspiring for membership. Mr. Kmezic emphasized the existence of double standards in achieving and maintaining the status of the EU’s rule of law towards the member states of the union, as opposed to the countries in the pre-accession process, adding to the weight and need for unambiguous and regular use of the conditionality mechanism.
Focusing on the civil society perspective, Ms. Bosilkova-Antovska discussed the key challenges for civil society and the rule of law in the Enlargement countries, shared the experience from the work of the Monitoring Matrix and discussed the importance and role of the supporting EU instruments such as the Guidelines for support to civil society. Ms. Bosilkova-Antovska noted that the EC should immediately publish the new Guidelines, and that an official policy and performance framework for civil society development should be adopted, focused on establishing long-term partnerships and support, that would have a stronger political weight and will provide the much-needed backing for civil society’s national advocacy efforts in protecting the democracy and the rule of law.
The full video from the event is available here.