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North Macedonia marks progress in EU climate and environmental harmonisation

North Macedonia has made progress in harmonising national legislation with EU environmental protection and climate change laws, according to insights from a 5-day bilateral screening on “Chapter 27 – Environment and Climate Change” held at the European Commission headquarters (7 July).

The screening process involves both the European Commission and the EU candidate countries, enabling the latter to assess their level of compliance with EU legislation. This process also helps to identify specific areas of the acquis that require improvement for the candidate countries’ legislation to align with EU regulations, which are divided into separate chapters.

While some areas are at an advanced stage, others are in the initial phase or face significant challenges in harmonising national legislation with European standards. Waste management and water management are particularly demanding areas requiring financial and human resources, North Macedonia’s government said via a press release.

The EU representatives present at the meeting confirmed their readiness to provide financial support to conduct their further reforms, emphasising the need for efficient and purposeful use of the allocated funds.

The screening process featured 75 presentations on the current status of national legislation compliance with EU standards across various areas, including horizontal legislation, air quality, waste management, water management, chemicals, industrial emissions control, nature protection, civil protection, forestry, and climate change.

The country’s plans for achieving full harmonisation in each area were also presented, alongside discussions on the expected challenges throughout the EU accession process.

A significant outcome of the bilateral meeting was the signing of an agreement between North Macedonia and the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries, Virginius Sinkevičius. The agreement enables North Macedonia to participate in the European LIFE programme, granting the country access to new EU financial instruments for environmental and climate projects.

Commissioner Sinkevičius noted progress in waste management and nature protection while expressing expectations for improved water sector performance.

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