Macedonia parliamentary changes ‘will improve EC report’

The European Commission’s next report on Macedonia will be boosted after the parliament voted to adopt new ways of working, the EC’s office in Macedonia has said.

The comments came after 86 legislators in the 120-seat Parliament voted on Tuesday in favour of changing its legislative practices by endorsing a new Rules of Procedure, while only five opposed the move.

But the EC office pointed out that, although November’s report would be improved by the political changes, the country would also be assessed in other areas in its 36 chapters.

The vote marked an end to a dispute between parliamentarians over the new procedures which had threatened to jeopardise the report.

A general debate on the Rules of Procedures amendments had been concluded before the summer break.

But the first vote was delayed after the opposition refused to attend the session, amid disagreements with the ruling majority over the establishment of a special body that would review the spending of taxpayers’ money through debates on audit reports.

Cvetanka Ivanova, group co-ordinator for the main opposition Social Democrats, SDSM MP, said the party had decided to support the amendments in the interests of the parliament’s democracy and society in general, and to enhance political dialogue.

Silvana Boneva, the group co-ordinator for the ruling VMRO DPMNE, voiced satisfaction at the outcome, saying compromise was the best way of improving political dialogue, an issue that has been deemed problematic in all EC reports on Macedonia.

Macedonia received a positive EC report last autumn which led to the commission recommending the opening of EU accession talks.

But the negotiations were blocked by EU member Greece, over the unresolved “name row”.

Athens has long opposed the use of the post-1991 constitutional name of Macedonia for its neighbour, which is the same as that of its adjacent region.

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