THE ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
The political dialogue between the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia and the European Parliament started in the early 1990s through the parliamentary visits and meetings in Skopje and Brussels.
On 17 November 1994 the European Parliament constituted a Delegation for relations with South-East Europe. The delegation was responsible for interparliamentary relations with five countries in the region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now Serbia-Montenegro), and Republic of Macedonia.
A separate Group of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia for cooperation with the European Parliament was set up on 17 July 1996. In the period 1996-2004 nine interparliamentary meetings with were held between the two bodies. Its establishment was of particular importance for the possibility for direct exchange of opinions and positions relating to the progress of our country in various areas on its way to its full integration in the EU.
In April 1997, the Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the European Communities was signed, and entered into force in January 1998.
In 1998, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia adopted a Declaration on the Development of Relations between the Republic of Macedonia and the European Union, and in 2000 a Declaration on Upgrading the Level of Relations with the European Union. While stressing the membership of the European Union as a strategic objective of the Republic of Macedonia, the Declarations emphasised the commitment to harmonising the Macedonian legislation with the acquis, ensuring parliamentary scrutiny of the executive in the process of the approximation to the Union, reaching agreement among the political parties in the Assembly on the key issues of the integration in the Union and raising public awareness for the significance and real implications of the integration process.
On 9 April 2001, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union was signed, which the European Parliament approved on 3 May 2001, and the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia ratified on 12 April 2001.
On 18 April 2003, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia set up the Committee on European Affairs, as a working body authorised for examining the issues relevant for the process of the European integration of the Republic of Macedonia and giving opinions on the draft acts harmonising our legislation with the acquis.
Republic of Macedonia being a candidate country for EU membership, the Committee on European Affairs of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia takes part in the Conference of Community and European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC).
The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia was one of the initiators for the establishment of COSAP. In 2006 Skopje hosted the Third COSAP Conference.
On 22 March 2004, Republic of Macedonia submitted an application for EU membership to the Irish Presidency of the Council and on 1 April that same year, the SAA between the EU and its Member States and Republic of Macedonia entered into force.
The structured dialogue of the states having signed association agreements with the European Union is conducted at various levels and thus, once the Stabilisation and Association Agreement entered into force in 2004, the Republic of Macedonia established direct bilateral relations with the European Parliament, through the establishment of the RM-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee. It was set up in accordance with Article 114 of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, and its functioning is in practical terms identical to all the other EU JPCs.
In 2003, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, at its session held on 11 June, adopted a Declaration on the Role of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia in the Parliamentary Dimension of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
On 13 February 2004, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia adopted a Declaration on the Submission of an Application for Membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union, which was followed, in April the same year, by an official application for EU membership. On 17 December 2005, the Republic of Macedonia acquired a candidate status for European Union membership.
At its session held on 19 November 2007, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia passed a Decision for setting up a National European Integration Council which is the sole body in the country bringing together parliamentary, governmental and non-governmental officials.
Its main goal is keeping up a high-level political support of the Republic of Macedonia's European integration process, continuous and genuine dialogue and stable political consensus.
On 27 November 2007, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia adopted a Resolution on the Priorities for the Accession of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union and Opening of Negotiations for EU Membership. In the document, the Assembly gave full support to the Government in fulfilling the necessary criteria for EU membership and expressed readiness of the Assembly to promote the reforms and accomplishments of the Republic of Macedonia with a view to a quick start of negotiations for EU membership.
On 15 December 2008, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia adopted a Resolution on the Priorities in 2009 for the Accession of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union, giving account of the country's main priorities and priority actions of the Government and the Assembly necessary for fulfilling the criteria on the path to a full European Union membership.
The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, during its session held on 4th February 2010, adopted with large majority a Declaration to support the EP Resolution on Srebrenica, adopted on 15 January 2009. In the Declaration forwarded to the President of the European Parliament and to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Assembly expresses its strong commitment and belief that reconciliation and lasting peace among the nations in the region are the preconditions for integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures. The Assembly decided to appropriately commemorate the 11th July, the day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide, in honor of the victims of the massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Joining to the EU member states and the EU in the marking of - 9th February, the European Day on Safer Internet, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, on the basis of the conclusions from the public debate organized by the Joint Parliamentary Committee - European Union and the Republic of Macedonia, on its session held on 1st March 2010 adopted a Declaration for Safer Internet. In the Declaration, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia calls on the state institutions, the civil society and the educational institutions to work on the awareness raising among the citizens for protection of their privacy on the Internet, in accordance with the practice of EU member states, as well as on creating a greater protection for children and young people from the access to Internet contents harmful to their morals and health.
The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, at is session held on 1 March 2010 adopted a Resolution on Climate Change. Following the conclusions of the Copenhagen Summit, and the information for the climate change in the Republic of Macedonia for a period of 30 years, the Assembly called for coordinated activities with the Government and other state institutions and for cooperation with the interested NGO's for mitigation of the effects from climate change. In the adopted text, the Assembly pointed to the need that the Government submits annual reports to the Assembly on the measures undertaken to decrease the effects from the climate change. The Assembly also considered as necessary to continue informing the relevant international institutions about the effects of climate change in the Republic of Macedonia, and to take action for more adequate presentation of the problem on international level. With this Resolution, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia expressed willingness for the measures stipulated therein to be one of its priorities in the decision-making process.