Harmonisation of the legislation of the Republic of Macedonia with the EU acquis communautaire is a process of approximation of the solutions in the national legislation to the EU law. Harmonisation and unification of the law in the EU should enable creation of a single area of freedom, security and justice, and a single market with unobstructed exercise of economic and other functions of the Union.
The obligation for harmonisation of the legislation of the Republic of Macedonia with the EU acquis has been incorporated in Article 68 of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The new Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, in its Article 135 stipulate that the draft laws harmonising our legislation with the EU acquis should contain information relating to the original acts of the European Union with their full title, number and date along with a statement on the harmonisation status. Once these laws enter parliamentary procedure, they are given European flag indication distinguishing them from the other acts.
With a view to ensuring successful approximation process and consistency, coordination and clear picture and monitoring of the legal approximation, a Methodology was adopted in 2000 for harmonisation of laws and technical regulations of the Republic of Macedonia with those of the European Union.
Pursuant to the Methodology, the harmonisation process is divided in four stages.
1. Preparatory stage - establishment of the necessary institutions for the realisation of the process, and a series of technical activities including distribution and presentation of the European legal acts in particular areas and presentation of the harmonisation principles in general.
2. Analytical stage - translation of the necessary European legal acts in Macedonian language and their incorporation in the National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis Communautaire in line with the previously defined priorities;
3. Transposition - operational elaboration of the new legislation in line with the previously defined plan. At this stage the actual approximation of the Macedonian legislation with the EU acquis is achieved. At this stage, namely, national and EU experts have to prepare new draft laws or propose amendments to the existing laws and by-laws, in order to attain compatibility between the legal order in the Republic of Macedonia and the EU acquis, and
4. Implementation - not only adoption of the new laws or amendments of the existing laws in the Assembly, but also their adequate implementation in practice and management of their effect over the existing institutional infrastructure.
The process of harmonisation with the Acquis Communautaire covers many legal acts. The harmonisation refers to the following chapters:
1. Free movement of goods
2. Free Movement of Employees
3. Right to establish and freedom to offer services
4. Free movement of capital
5. Public procurements
6. Right of trade unions
7. Right of intelectual property
8. Competitiveness policy
9. Financial Services
10. ICT Society and media
11. Agriculture and rural development
12. Safety of Food, veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy
14. Transport policy
17. Economic and monetary policy
19. Social policy and employment;
20. Companies and industrial policy;
21. Trans- European networks
22. Regional policy and coordination of the structural instruments
23. Judiciary and fundamental rights
24. Justice, freedom and security
25. Science and research
26. Education and culture
28. Consumers protection and healthcare
29. Customs union;
30. Foreign relations;
31. Border security and defence policy
32. Financial support
33. Financial and budgetary provisions
35. Other affairs
Pending the adoption of the Constitution of the European Union that would unify the entire legal system, the European Union legislation consists of primary and secondary legislation and other sources of the Community law.
The European Union’s ‘primary legislation’ is based on the treaties establishing the European Community along with their protocols and additional changes and amendments (including the subsequent accession treaties). They lay down the fundamental features of the Union, in particular the responsibilities of the various actors in the decision-making process, the legislative procedures, and the major part of its economic legislation.
The EU's 'secondary legislation' are legal acts that are also considered sources of the Community law - Directives, Regulations, Decisions, Recommendations and Opinions.
- Directives do not aim at unifying the laws in member states, but rather harmonise in a way that the diversity of national institutions and legal structures may continue, on the account that there is a guarantee that throughout the Union equal material conditions exist. Directives are binding for member states in terms of the objectives that are to be achieved, while the national authorities are left to freely choose the shape and methods of the legislation by which they are going to achieve the desired effects within set period of time.
- Regulations are instruments for unification of the legal order in the EU and are directly applicable throughout the Union. They are binding in their entirety for all legal entities and persons, without the need for any legislation in the member states. Member states have no right to intervene, choose, interpret or make any exemptions. Furthermore, in case of a conflict with a provision in the national legislation, the courts in the country are obliged to simply ignore the national legislation and fully implement the Regulation.
- Decisions are binding directly in the same way as regulations, but they only apply to those to whom they are addressed . With the decisions, the EU may ask from a member state, a company or an individual to take or refrain from certain action, or approve specific rights or otherwise impose particular duties.
- Recommendations and opinions are non-binding legal acts by which the institutions of the Community may express their position before member states or individuals, but they do not impose any obligation or responsibility to those to whom they are addressed.