European corruption watchdog calls Macedonia ‘disappointing’
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia’s performance on preventing corruption is “clearly disappointing,” the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group has said, calling on authorities to take action.
A compliance report by the GRECO group Thursday noted Macedonia “made no substantial progress” in implementing recommendations made over four years ago on preventing corruption among parliament members, judges and prosecutors.
GRECO said only six of its 19 recommendations in fighting corruption have been implemented satisfactorily, and none regarding lawmakers have been implemented even partially. The report did however find that the country has made some limited progress regarding judges and prosecutors.
GRECO noted that new advisory and supervisory bodies are being created for judges and prosecutors to support the implementation of their rules of conduct in daily practice, but said authorities will need to reassess these improvements when more specific information becomes available.
The report concluded that the current very low level of compliance with recommendations is “globally unsatisfactory” for Macedonia.
Macedonia’s conservative main opposition VMRO-DPMNE party on Friday sharply criticized the leftist government in response to the report. It said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev should know the country “would not get into NATO and the EU” unless it tackles crime and corruption.
After Macedonia signed a deal with Greece settling a decades-old dispute on Macedonia’s name, the European Union indicated Skopje could start the accession process, but urged authorities to deliver results in reforms, particularly in fighting corruption.