We work to promote, evaluate and support the EU membership aspiration of Macedonia and the profound societal, political and economic change brought upon by the process. This programme is oriented towards designing policies, improving institutional capacities, and advancing processes modelling them in accordance with EU standards and best practices.
The goals of the programme are to strengthen democratic aspects of the integration process; gain public support for EU related reforms; streamline the existing administrative setting of the EU integration process and improving its efficiency and effectiveness; enable an efficient transfer of knowledge accumulated in the Southern and Central Europe region in matters relating to the EU integration process, and develop more tangible and concrete EU perspectives for Macedonia.
The programme activities include enhancing transparency, participation and consultation with civil society actors and individual experts in the approximation process; raising awareness among the population and decision-makers on the adjustments imposed by this alignment; developing innovative mechanisms and platforms for institutional data sharing and coordination; facilitating networks for regional cooperation and research in Southern and Central Europe.
Coordinative mechanisms for development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the justice sector reforms (2016)
This publication provides an overview on the key inter-institutional platforms for development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the justice sector reforms in Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia, and then compares and assesses the bodies for implementation of the justice sector strategies in accordance with the following six aspects:
- Competences of the bodies for implementation of the justice sector reform strategies;
- Composition of the bodies;
- Appointment and term of the members, as well as organization of the bodies;
- Working procedures of the bodies;
- Monitoring, evaluation and reporting on the implementation of the strategies;
- Strategic planning and justice sector reforms.
This analysis provides guidance on further development of the Council for justice sector reform in Macedonia, based on the regional experiences. By preparing this paper, the Association Zenith, with generous support from the Macedonian office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, aims to provide professional contribution to more successful implementation of the future and long-awaited justice sector reform strategy in Macedonia.
Analytical report assessing Macedonia's Legal Alignment with the EU acquis in the Sphere of Independence, Impartiality, Professionalism and Efficiency of the Judicial System (2014)
This report is a résumé of a broader analysis with a complete and detailed analytical examination of the alignment with the standards set forth by the EU on independence, impartiality, professionalism and efficiency of the judiciary, as policy areas under chapter 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental rights. In the absence of a formal screening process, it provides an overview of the level of alignment at the end of 2014, and a comprehensive list of recommendations for priority actions that the relevant institutions should take.
Increasing the efficiency of Macedonia’s and Montenegro’s Justice System: Introducing an Innovative EU Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism in the sphere of Administrative Law (2014)
The quality, transparency and efficiency of justice systems of EU candidate countries are important structural components for a sustainable track record in the area of rule of law and thus, are fundamental to the effective implementation of EU law. Accordingly, the paper aims to analyse Macedonia’s and Montenegro’s judicial performance monitoring and evaluation systems and initiate their alignment with innovative EU mechanism in this sphere. Additionally it seeks to compare and benchmark judicial performance and efficiency of administrative courts of the two countries’ with those of EU Member States.
Judicial Independence in Macedonia: How Effective is EU Rule of Law-Conditionality in the Accession Process? (2014)
This policy brief examines the effectiveness and appropriateness of European Commission’s approach in bolstering judicial independence in Macedonia. Consequently, it elaborates on how EU conditionality can be adapted to grasp the opportunity which arose with the introduction of the new approach in EU accession negotiations introduced in 2012, and influence deeply rooted and irreversible reforms in Macedonia in the realm of judicial independence.
Accession of Macedonia to the European Union: Mapping of constitutional implications and options related to the political criteria (2014)
The policy study, endorsed by the Macedonian Academy for Sciences and Arts and the Ministry of Justice of Macedonia, examines constitutional amendments implemented in the EU Member States, which, among other things, enabled the unhindered implementation of the Community acquis in the national legal system and defined its range in the legal hierarchy of the country. Based on this, the study defines options and provides recommendations that can be applied to Macedonia on its path towards EU membership.
Embedding rule of law in the enlargement process: A case for EU political conditionality in the accession of the western Balkan countries (2013)
The policy study sheds light on the EU political conditionality’s application in the accession processes of the western Balkan countries, concentrating on instruments of benchmarking and monitoring. It looks for patterns of consistency in the application of political criteria and related conditionality in the judiciary and fundamental rights policies (Chapter 23) and examines whether they acted as a driver enabling the countries to advance in the accession process. Identifying innovations and principles governing the negotiation process of Croatia and Montenegro the study projects potential benchmarks which Macedonia could expect prior and during negotiations.
Short analytical report assessing Macedonia’s legal alignment with the EU acquis in the sphere of judicial cooperation in criminal matters: State of play and future steps (2013)
The report, endorsed by the Ministry of Justice of Macedonia, summarizes the results of a wider assessment of Macedonia’s legal alignment with the EU acquis in an area of Chapter 24, namely, judicial cooperation in criminal matters. In the absence of a formal screening process, it provides an overview of the level of alignment at the end of 2013, and lists recommendations for priority actions that the authorities should take.
Policy Brief: Bolstering the Rule of Law in the EU Enlargement Process towards the Western Balkans (2013)
Developed by a Zenith visiting research fellow to the Netherlands Institute of International Relations “Clingendael”, the Brief argues that enlargement and deeper European integration are not mutually exclusive. It claims that the adoption of a new, rule of law centered enlargement strategy for the western Balkan would likely increase the credibility of the enlargement process and the potential for improving the accession countries’ performance, particularly in these times of crisis of confidence and identity provoked by the economic downturn. However, it should not keep the prospect of EU membership at arm’s length, since this would jeopardize the even greater necessity to stabilize the western Balkan.
Tackling Constitutional Challenges on the Road to the European Union: Perspectives from South-East European Accession Countries (2012)
The compilation of papers aims to maintain, deepen and further expand the debate on the impact of the process of European integration on national constitutions in South-East European accession countries, namely Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It provides critical insights on country-specific issues and experiences, and draws valuable parallels in an effort keep the topic on the agenda of decision-makers and the expert public.
Constitutional Challenges of EU Accession for South-East Europe – A Comparative Approach (2011)
The comparative study analyses the constitutional “integration clauses” in “old”, “new” and future Member States with the aim to draw conclusions for the EU accession candidates in the western Balkans. Thus, the clauses are distinguished according to their approach (general, EU specific, comprehensive or specific) and purpose (transfer of sovereign powers, procedures, substantial requirements, specific matters). Further adaptations for improving the participation in the EU decision-making process and the implementation of EU law are also addressed (in particular relating to the role of Parliaments). Finally, the policy study examines the role of Constitutional Courts and their relationship with the European Court of Justice.
Conference Report: Constitutional Challenges of EU Accession for South-East Europe (2011)
The conference report provides an account of research, views and opinions related to the Regional Conference entitled “Membership in the European Union: Constitutional Challenges for South East Europe Applicant Countries” organized by the Association Zenith which was held on December 2, 2011 in Skopje, Macedonia. In its five parts, the report outlines the aims of the Conference, provides short overview of the flow of the debate, displays the addresses of limited number of participants in a summarized form as well as it presents the main conference conclusions.
We contribute to advancing the democratic governance in Macedonia, moving beyond the mere procedures of democracy and the establishment of democratic institutions and free elections. This programme is oriented towards incorporation of democratic and good governance principles in the managing of decision-making and power allocation.
The goal of the programme is to promote the development of sustainable democratic mechanisms which will include means to foster citizen participation in decision-making and in formulating public policies on national and on local level; enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of public institutions; advance the responsibility and accountability of the public, private and civil sector to their stakeholders and the general public; as well as development of equitable legal and regulatory framework.
Adopting an integrated approach to sustainable democratic governance for and by the people, the programme activities are focused on introducing new mechanisms and advocating for transparent and increased participation of the civil society in the policy making process and monitoring of implementation; introducing EU-modelled formats and standards in public institutions and improving the inter-institutional communication and coordination; advocating for greater availability of information to citizens and the public and improving their intelligibility, accuracy and completeness; endorsing a responsible and impartial civil service, media and judiciary; building an enduring capacity for exercising powers in accordance with the rule of law.
In addition, recognizing the increasing role of the private sector in the provision of public services and in addressing social and environmental challenges, we strive to encourage the development and uptake of corporate social responsibility as a vital segment of good corporate governance.
Report from the consultation on priorities for the Public Administration Reform Strategy 2017–2022 (2016)
Organized by the Association Zenith and the IPA2 Mechanism, in co-operation with the Ministry of information society and administration (MIOA), on June 30, 2016 in Skopje, a public consultation with civil society was held on priorities for the new strategy for public administration reform. This reports summarizes the views of the participants in the consultations which were given in person or by e-mail,including of 60 civil society representatives, higher education institutions and the business community which were all present at the event. The report was submitted to MIOA, to the experts from SIGMA which lead the process of preparation of the strategy, the Delegation of the European Union in Macedonia and other development partners. The report is segmented in six parts, which cover the five thematic areas of the Strategy, as well as the general issues regarding the management and coordination of the public administration reform:: Policy development, strategic planning and coordination; Human resource management; Public services and IT support for the administration; Organization of state authorities, national government and local authorities; Anti-corruption, transparency, accountability and responsibility; and Management and coordination of the public administration reform
Mechanisms used by Macedonia's executive authorities to ensure stakeholders’ participation in policy-making: Evaluation and recommendations (2013)
The paper presents existing mechanisms used by the executive authorities in Macedonia to ensure stakeholders’ participation in policy-making at national level, provides a critical overview of their application, puts forward alternative solutions and assesses their impact on the basis of two criteria: feasibility and democratic approach. The analyses shows that the level of systematic participation of stakeholders in policy-making in Macedonia is very low, where participation is understood as providing information, conducting consultations, entering in -dialogue and building partnership relations with the stakeholders.
Rules of Procedure for Macedonia’s Working Group 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights (2013)
Zenith researched models and guidelines for stakeholder involvement in policy making related to the EU accession process, and conducted a qualitative assessment of challenges and needs related to the operations of Macedonia’s Government working group for alignment with the Chapter 23 of the acquis – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights. This served as input for developing Rules of Procedure for the Working Group, with mechanism for information-sharing, consulting and inclusion of civil society representatives. The endeavor was recognized by the European Parliament Resolution on the 2013 Macedonia progress report, welcoming the possibility for making the EU integration process more transparent, accountable and inclusive.
We develop capacities and provide research to design effective and efficient policy actions that would address and balance the interests of various key stakeholders. This programme recognizes the limits of traditional policy methods to achieving policy goals, putting forward a number of alternative approaches to the development and enforcement of public policies.
The goal of the programme is to contribute to identifying and addressing public problems with adequate policy instruments, which includes means to enhance citizen participation in formulating public policies on national and on local level and promote basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The programme activities include strengthening the capacities for public policy design, especially the impact assessment of various policy alternatives; structuring and shaping the inclusion of the civil society in policy making, implementation and monitoring; assessing the implementation capacities of relevant institutions and proposing supportive actions, and monitoring the implementation of policies. A special focus is placed on providing mechanisms and opportunities for vulnerable/marginalized groups to voice their interests and concerns.
The "Analysis of the Law on Donations and Sponsorships in Public Benefit Activities and its Implementation" (available in Macedonian language) provides a thorough overview of various aspects of this Macedonian law, its impac, challenges and options to improve its implementation and to achieve the goals that legislators had in mind when it was adopted. The analysis also depicts the drawbacks in the administrative procedure and related bylaws, and puts forward reccomendations for policy-makers.