New EU negotiations framework – Challenge or an obstacle to business
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New EU negotiations framework – Challenge or an obstacle to business

The Macedonian economy is enduring a period of crisis stemming from the pandemic that also reflected in the global economies, but on the bright side, opportunities open up for the Macedonian companies. By opening the process of accession negotiations in accordance with the new framework for North Macedonia, approved on the part of the committee of the European Council, and following with the process of approval on the part of the Member States, the expectations are that larger dedicated funds will open as well, which should happen in the course of the negotiations. These funds would represent additional resources for the Macedonian economy to raise competiveness and innovation, harmonize with the European values and standards, but this would foremost demonstrate the fact that the Macedonian economy begins to pave its way to become part of the European family.

According to the revised enlargement methodology for negotiations, the chapters used in the negotiations of the European Commission with third countries are now grouped in 6 (six) clusters, 4 (four) of which are directly related to companies and the Macedonian economy. This necessitates absolute involvement of the business community since the very beginning of the negotiations in order to be able to help in the process with their expertise regarding the adoption of the key decisions in the course of the negotiations. Their engagement foremost results from the fact that they are directly affected by the outcome of the negotiations and they are the actors that should transpose every contractual legislation related to their operation.

Clusters, according to the new sturdier negotiations methodology, will open in packages. Special significance to the companies bears the cluster Competitiveness and Inclusive Growth, which contains the chapters Information Society and Media, Taxation, Economic and Monetary Policy, Social Policy and Employment, Enterprise and Industrial Policy, Science and Research, Education and Culture, as well as Customs Union. Followed by the cluster Green Agenda and Sustainable Connectivity, which includes the chapters Transport, Energy and Environment – areas that directly affect the everyday operations of the companies. The third cluster, which also bears great importance for us, is Agriculture and Cohesion, covering the chapters related to Agriculture and Rural Development, Food Safety, Veterinary and Phytosanitary Policy, as well as Regional Policy and Structural Instruments, chapter of exceptional importance to the development of the further capacities for drawing funds from the Cohesion and Structural Funds of the European Union. The rest of the chapters, that is, clusters are of no less importance to the business, especially the first cluster that will open immediately after the first intergovernmental conference (IGC), one that affects the business because, apart from the chapters on Judiciary and Justice, it would also include Economic Criteria.

The Economic Chamber of Macedonia will continuously inform about the course of the negotiations, constantly consulting the companies on any novelties and changes that become negotiation topic and it will insist upon deeper involvement of the business sector in the negotiations.

Key novelty in the revised negotiations framework of the European Union that provides some satisfaction is the fact that, simultaneously with the chapters, the European funds would also open for project applications, which are first supposed to help the companies harmonize with the new standards and rules or help them adapt to the economic criteria, both as regards European and international standards. We need to always bear in mind that the accession negotiations are not conducted with only the European Commission, but also the EU Member States, while taking into account that the European Commission is in charge of the negotiations and presents the opinions or negotiation positions of the Member States.

Jadranka Arizankovska
Manager at the organizational unit for member representation and networking