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Policy Memo - on the release of the EU Progress Report on Macedonia of November 2015 -

Policy Memo
-on the release of the EU Progress Report on Macedonia of November 2015 - 
“Legislation is good, implementation bad” is a mantra that needs to be checked
Of the unexamined preconception about the “alignment with the Acquis”

Excerpt from the memo. (You can find the full policy memo in the attached below)

Of the unexamined preconception about the “alignment with the Acquis”

There is a widespread preconception among the opinion makers, both local and international, that the legislation in Macedonia is “generally in line with the EU Acquis,” or in other words that “the laws are good, but the implementation is poor. We claim the opposite. 
The legislation created by the ruling coalition is detailed to the extent of absurdity leaving it the single example in Europe of a hybrid of law and by-law (the only existing similarities we could note are those with the legislation of Hungary). It is also a hybrid of ordinary law and criminal code, allowing the ordinary law to fine draconically and thereby enabling the government to act as if it were the judiciary. 

The type of legislation the ruling coalition produces leaves no space for the companies, institutions, organizations and other legal persons to make informed professional decisions and act with even a minimum of autonomy. It is also abundant with contradictions which bring in legal uncertainty leaving the implementation utterly arbitrary. Thus the excessive detailing allowing the government to directly control practically all imaginable activities within a company or an institution – and in the cases of the laws on education and media this tendency is most extreme – is coupled by an excessive number of administrative fines paralyzing free judgment. 

The law on audio and audio-visual services is de facto a rulebook for the Agency (and, as a consequence, for the ministry) prescribing in detail the programmatic structure for all media outlets. A technical breach of even trivial prescriptions can lead to draconic administrative fining which can ruin an outlet without recourse to – or corruption of – the judiciary. 

The Law on audio and audiovisual services enables the perfectly legal fact that the government is the biggest media advertiser in the country. The article 3 line 5 of the Law legalizes government propaganda. If Macedonia is a country in which party and state are blurred, government propaganda means party propaganda throughout the year. The government campaigns constantly, prior to any election campaign (something the incumbents do not need in order to win).

According to the European jurisprudence to which the Macedonian legal system has belonged since the beginning of its statehood, the category of laws called leges ordinares (ordinary law) should render the regulating role of the executive branch minimal. The ordinary law does not stipulate penalties except an almost symbolic number of administrative fines. In the case of education, according to our comparative analysis of the Macedonian and European legislation, the ratio between the number of administrative fines prescribed by the European and Macedonian laws is 1:67 respectively. 

POLICY Memo - on the release of the EU Progress Report on Macedonia of November 2015 - - download here