The protection of fundamental human rights and better access to an efficient justice system for the citizens of North Macedonia is essential to build a more democratic and inclusive society. The European Union and the Council of Europe through their joint programme “Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022”, support the continuous efforts of the authorities in North Macedonia to further align with European standards in this area.
At the occasion of the First Beneficiary Steering Committee Meeting of Horizontal Facility II held today in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Skopje, all the partners of the programme confirmed their commitment to continue joining their efforts in advancing key reforms in the country.
Director of Multilateral Affairs and Security Co-operation, Toni Pavloski who welcomed the meeting in the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed confidence in the institutional capacity to implement project activities thus, contributing to sustainable change in institutional practices, and effective implementation of the legal framework.
Nicola Bertolini, Head of Co-operation, Delegation of the European Union to North Macedonia focused on the importance of the programme for §North Macedonia. “The Horizontal Facility is a crucial instrument to boost human rights, increase the capacity of judges and prosecutors, awareness for crime and terrorist actions, improve prisons management and treatment among others.” said Bertolini in his address.
In her remarks Pilar Morales Fernandez Shaw, Head of the Programming Department, Office of the Directorate General of Programmes at the Council of Europe tackled the sustainability of the actions through continuing with the results achieved under the first phase of the Horizontal Facility. “The ownership by the authorities, further commitment and the institutional follow up will stay to be crucial for the sustainability of the results of our co-operation. This is a way to ensure that not only laws are adopted in line with European standards but also that in reality they are effectively implemented.” emphasized Morales.
The second phase of the Horizontal Facility programme, to be conducted between 2019 and 2022, funded with €41 million, will continue to develop important initiatives in all the Western Balkans beneficiaries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, as well as Turkey. In North Macedonia, €4.1 million have been allocated for six actions, covering all the main areas of the Horizontal Facility II including: combatting human trafficking, strengthening freedom of media and freedom of expression, addressing radicalisation in prisons, fighting discrimination, providing access to Free Legal Aid, improving the penitentiary system and fighting economic crime.
More information on the Horizontal Facility Programme
Marija Simic – Regional Communication Officer - Horizontal Facility II
Tel: 00381 63 60 13 37 ; email: Marija.SIMIC@coe.int;
Besnik Baka – Communication Officer for the Horizontal Facility II
Tel: 00355 69 21 78 430, email: Besnik.BAKA@coe.int
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.