European Western Balkans

Screening meetings with Albania and North Macedonia completed

European Commission; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations stated that screening meetings with Albania and North Macedonia are completed. They explained that as soon the roadmaps on chapters 23 and 24, and on public administration reform, are finalized by the countries’ authorities, the European Commission assesses the fulfillment of the opening benchmarks.

“On 24 November and 7 December, the last screening meetings were held respectively with Albania and North Macedonia. 167 meetings took place for a duration of about one year, with the involvement of more than 1000 experts of the European Commission and more than 2000 experts from Albania and North Macedonia”, the statement said.

Director of DG Near, Gert Jan Koopman, congratulated to Albania and North Macedonia on the end of the screening meetings.

Screening is the analytical examination of the EU acquis and has been divided in two phases: explanatory and bilateral meeting sessions. It represents the first step in the accession negotiations process.

During the explanatory sessions, Commission’s officials thoroughly informed about the main principles and standards of the EU acquis, chapter by chapter, grouped in six clusters. In the bilateral sessions, authorities from Albania and North Macedonia presented their level of alignment with EU rules and policies (also known as EU acquis) and their preparedness to implementing the remaining parts and fulfil the criteria for EU membership. The Commission assessed where both Albania and North Macedonia stand in their preparations to join.

The outcomes of the screening sessions are reflected in the “screening reports”, through which the Commission informs the Member States on where it thinks each country stands and how negotiations should be conducted in the covered policy areas. The Commission has presented to the Council the screening report on cluster 1 Fundamentals and the Council has communicated to each countries the conditions for the opening of this cluster, also known as benchmarks. The benchmarks require each country to prepare plans called roadmaps identifying key reforms they will undertake under the rule of law chapters of the EU acquis – chapter 23 and 24, and a roadmap for public administration reform.

Albania and North Macedonia will also need to prepare a roadmap on the functioning of democratic institutions, and progress on its implementation will be monitored through the inter-governmental conferences. The roadmaps aim to make the process simpler and more strategic.

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