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Parliament of Macedonia holds a public hearing on the new IPA Programme

November 17th and 18th 2014, Skopje, Macedonia

On 17th and 18th of November, the Committee on European Affairs of the Assembly of Macedonia held a public hearing on “IPA 2 (2014-2020): Perspectives and possibilities for utilization”. With over 20 speakers coming from the government, the Assembly, civil society, as well as the parliaments from the region, the discussion covered the basics of the upcoming funding scheme.

“The fact that at today’s public hearing we have representatives of the national Parliaments of the region shows that our Parliament, but also our state, are very clear in demonstrating our responsibility and our contribution to the realization of the European perspective of the region.” – stated Mr Trajko Veljanoski, Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia. 

From left to right: Mrs. Liljana Petreska, Mr. Fatmir Besimi, Mr. Trajko Veljanoski, Mrs. Nora Aliti, Mr. Zoran Stavrevski and Mr. Aivo Orav

The discussion was the first public event, under the mandate of the Commission for European Affairs, to be dealing with the challenges of the new and revised Instrument for Pre-Accession of the European Union. The Assembly of Macedonia has already organized successful public hearings on the absorption rates of the previous IPA period 2006-2014.

The public hearing was organized with the support of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and and its Western Balkans programme. WFDs Western Balkans  programme supports the Network of Parliamentary Committees of Finance, Economy and European Integration of the Western Balkans (NPC). One of the goals of the  Network  is to promote and support transparent oversight of IPA funds by parliaments in the Balkan region, through effective parliamentary hearings.

The Head of the delegation of the European Union to Macedonia, Mr Aivo Orav, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, Mr Fatmir Besimi, and the Minister of Finance, Mr Zoran Stavrevski were the key note witnesses on the first day of the hearing

“We should organize other, more frequent meetings of the commissions, which would be a forum for discussing our oversight function, but also an opportunity to expand creatively on our advisory and oversight role.” – suggested Ms. Nora Aliti, Deputy President of the Commission on European Affairs in the Assembly of Macedonia. 

Mr Vladimir Marinkovic, Deputy Speaker of the Serbian Assembly, drew a parallel between the priorities of the current government, and the IPA 2 priorities: “The focus of our work is to develop other regions in Serbia, and develop strategic sectors that would make these regions competitive. Our strategic sectors in the upcoming period will be energy development, rural development, economic development, and development of human resources.

The hearing was the culmination of efforts by WFD and the NPC to share best oversight practices in the region on IPA funding. These included a regional parliamentary conference in Macedonia in October 2013, training in B&H in 2014 on IPA2, bilateral and multilateral exchanges between MPs from Macedonia, Serbia B&H and Montenegro, parliamentary staff training on IPA for staff from 8 parliaments from the Balkan region and the support to members and staff of the  three parliaments in Bosnia and Herzegovina to hold  a public hearing on IPA oversight earlier this year.

The recommendations that were result of this public hearing can be found HERE.

WFD is supporting the Network through a three-year programme, from 2012 to 2015, aimed at strengthening the role of the parliaments in the Western Balkans in promoting competitiveness and economic growth as well as strengthening their oversight role.

From left to right: Mr. Shukrija Baksic, Mrs. Dusica Stojkovic, Mr. Emil Atanasovski, Mrs. Nora Aliti, Mr. Vladimir Marinkovic and Mr. Slaven Radunovic