On December 17th, 2005, the Presidency of the European Council in Brussels granted candidate status to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Macedonia) for European Union membership. The status of candidate country opened the door for transposition and implementation of the EU Acquis, including the Environment and Climate Change Acquis. The process of approximating is a huge task, that requires careful planning and management on an ongoing basis. As deadlines for implementing certain provisions from Directives and Decisions arise after EU accession, the current national efforts need to ensure that measures proposed and adopted are adequate to meet the future compliance demands that Macedonia will face as a Member State. The sector has achieved high extent of transposition of the EU legislation (approximately 80%), but the implementation of provisions is not satisfactory. Transposition in the area of climate change is low due to the status of the Republic of Macedonia in the frames of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which is different than the one of the EU Member States and obligations differ accordingly.
By signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement in April 2004 and acquiring the status of a candidate country, the Republic of Macedonia has clearly indicated its policy on the way towards the European Union. Existing policy documents developed in environmental sector, such as the second National Environmental Action Plan, defines the environmental problems and the measures and activities required for their settlement thus establishing a flexible framework for achievement of the main objectives: continuation of the process of approximation with the EU environmental policy, management of an integrated policy as a unique manner of proper overcoming the challenges, establishment of directions for environmentally sustainable approach, enhancement of the extent of compliance with the obligations deriving from regional and global agreements and opening of new perspectives and involvement in international systems for environment protection.
The National Programme for Adoption of the Acquis Communautaire (NPAA) was adopted in April 2005 being subject of review and supplementing on annual basis. It comprises the plans for harmonization of the national legislation with the EU legislation, the necessary dynamics of institutional strengthening for implementation of the legislation, the necessary resources for realization, and Action Plan. The NPAA is a powerful instrument for monitoring the whole association process, to be used by the Government as well as by the European Commission. It helps to answer questions posed by the Commission based on which, the Commission prepares annual progress reports.
Chapter 27 of the NPAA addresses the achievements and the remaining obligations in the field of environment. Several important policy strategic documents in various environmental sectors have been adopted, including:
- National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2009-2030;
- 2nd National Environmental Action Plan 2006;
- National Strategy for Environmental Approximation – 2008;
- National Environmental Investment Strategy – 2009 - 2013;
- Second Environmental Performance Review - 2011;
- National Plan for the Protection of Air - 2012;
- National Strategy for Waste Management 2008-2020;
- National Waste Management Plan 2009-2015;
- National Strategy for Waters – 2012 -2042;
- National Biodiversity Strategy and Action plan – 2004 (in phase of revision);
- Third National Communication on Climate Change;
- National Strategy for Clean Development Mechanism 2008-2012;
- Strategy of Improvement of Energy Efficiency by 2020;
- National Implementation Plan for reduction and elimination of POPS in RM - 2004; Plan for Institutional Development of the National and Local Environmental Management Capacity 2009-2014;
- Strategy for Regional Development.
The country priority towards EU integration and accession poses the attention and pressure on the production and update of the legislation and policies to EU standards. This means that most of the already limited resources both financial and human are mainly devoted to policymaking rather than on its implementation.
Since monitoring of the implementation of Strategies as a mechanism is missing, it is not possible at this stage to evaluate whether the Strategies are implemented and the investment made. In particular due to the financial crises, which particularly hit the country, the availability of planned funds for environmental investments and implementation of priorities identified in policy planning document is at low level at the moment. Yet, implementation of the measures under the planning documents is partially achieved through budgetary programmes, donor community support and Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance of the European Union, as well as through soft credit lines of international financial institutions.
MACEDONIA AND EU INTEGRATION PROCESS
October 1992: the Republic of Macedonia appointed its representative in Brussels;
December 22nd, 1995: the Republic of Macedonia and EU established diplomatic relations when EU opened negotiations with Republic of Macedonia aiming at signing the Agreement of wide ranging cooperation in the fields of the trade, financial operations and transport;
March 10th, 1996: the Republic of Macedonia became a full partner in the PHARE Programme;
June 20th, 1996: in Brussels, the Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the European Communities and the Transport Agreement were concluded;
March 21st and 22nd, 1998: in Skopje, the first meeting of the Common Cooperation Council was held. The Council was established for the purpose of monitoring realisation of the Cooperation Agreement, achievements and development of the structural reforms as well as providing suggestions and instructions relating to certain specific issues;
January 24th, 2000: the European Commission Directives proposed to the EU Council were adopted, concerning the elevation of the cooperation level between the Republic of Macedonia and EU as well as commencing the official negotiations for prospective EU membership;
April 5th, 2000: pursuant to the Lisbon Decision of the European Commission, the first round of negotiations between Republic of Macedonia and EU officially commenced relating to the SAА. Negotiations on the SAА were realised in significantly short period (April – November 2000) through 3 rounds of main negotiations and 5 meetings on expert level, i.e. technical negotiations;
November 24th, 2000: on the margins of the Zagreb Summit the SAА was initialled;
February 16th, 2001: Interim Agreement on Regulating SAA Trade Provisions was initialled;
April 9th, 2001: in Luxemburg, the SAА was signed. At the same time Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-related Matters between the European Communities of the one part, and the Republic of Macedonia, of the other part was signed, entering into force on 1 June 2001;
June 20th, 2003: the Member States leaders adopted ‘Thessaloniki Agenda for Western Balkans’, thus verifying the European perspective of the countries from the region. This document has defined the accession instruments in the stabilisation and association process;
April 1st, 2004: following the ratification by all EU Member States, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement entered into force, so far the ninth cycle of meetings of institutional bodies established under SAA has been completed;<br>
March 22nd, 2004: on formal ceremony in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia submitted the application for EU membership;
September 6th, 2004, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted the National Strategy for European Integration;
October 1st, 2004: the European Commission President, Romano Prodi submitted the Questionnaire to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia;
February 14th, 2005: in Brussels, delegation of the Republic of Macedonia submitted to the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, the Answers to the European Commission Questionnaire;
November 9th, 2005: the European Commission published the opinion on the candidacy of the Republic of Macedonia for European Union membership. The opinion recommends granting candidate status for EU membership;
December 17th, 2005: the Presidency of the European Council in Brussels granted candidate status to Macedonia for European Union membership;
October 30th, 2007: Financial Agreement for 2007 National Programme within the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and the Framework Agreement were signed between the Republic of Macedonia and the Commission of the European Communities on cooperation for financial assistance. The Republic of Macedonia was the first country in the region whose projects were approved by the EC and the first country in the region to sign the Financial Agreement thus enabling use of IPA funds;
February, 2008: the Council adopted the Accession Partnership for Republic of Macedonia, identifying key priorities for progress and areas where efforts are required in the accession process;
Since October, 2009: following the progress made in achieving full compliance with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the progress in fulfilling the political criteria, the progress in the implementation of the acquis, as well as the progress made regarding all areas covered by the visa liberalization dialogue, the European Commission has recommended start of the accession negotiations for full-fledged membership of the Republic of Macedonia;
October, 2009: the European Commission made a proposal on the transition to the second stage of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement;
March 15th, 2012: it was created the High Level Accession Dialogue led by the Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and the Commissioner for enlargement Stefan Fule, the dialogue brought dynamic in the reform process for accession to the European Union by strengthening confidence and increasing the European perspective of the country, and it is focused on the key challenges on these 5 areas: freedom of expression in media; rule of law, reform in public administration, electoral reform and strengthening of the trade economy. so far four meetings of the accession dialogue have been held.
National environmental legislation framework
(Chapter 27: Horizontal legislation/ Air Quality / Waste Management / Water Quality/ Nature Protection / Industrial Management /Chemical Management / Climate Change)
Law on Environment (2005) contains the fundamental environmental protection principles, which are basis for determination of the procedures for environment management and which are common for all laws regulating particular environmental media.
Law on Ambient Air Quality (2004) sets the system for management of the ambient air quality. It includes activities directed towards avoidance, prevention or mitigation of harzadous effects of air pollution. The Law on Ambient Air Quality defines the obligation for the adoption of the National Plan for Ambient Air Protection and Programme for ambient air pollution reduction and quality improvement. According to the Law, the Plan and the programmes should be adopted within six years after the Law enters into force. So far, the country has not complied with this requirement. The elaboration of the national plan for emmission reduction and the national plan for ambient air protection was developed in 2012. On annual basis, MoEPP adopts the Programme for Operation of the Automatic Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network.
Law on Waste Management (2004) establishes the legal framework for waste management Relevant EU directives have been transposed in the Law on Waste Management (LWM), taking also into consideration the local conditions. The Law regulates issues concerning the framework Policy on Waste; Hazardous Waste; Landfills; Waste Oils; PCB/PCT; Incineration of Non-hazardous Waste; Incineration of Hazardous Waste; Hazardous Substances Containing Batteries and Accumulators; Packaging and Packaging Waste; end-of life vehicles; waste from titanium dioxide industry. It also provides grounds for the adoption of several secondary legislation acts: the Law on Management of Packaging and Waste Packaging (2009), the Law on Management of Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators (2010) and the Law on Electric and Electronic Equipment and Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (2012). Most of the secondary legislation based on these laws has been adopted as well.
New Law on Waters (2008) introduces the approach of an integrated water management and harmonisation of the national legislation with the relevant EU legislation. The Law incorporates all the aspects of water management: water resource use and allocation; protection against and control of pollution; protection against harmful effects of water and sustainable water management planning. It regulates issues referring to all surface and ground waters; water management facilities and services; institutional setup and water management financing, as well as conditions for manner of and procedures for the use or discharge into water, and international cooperation in the area of water management. The Law on Waters establishes legal grounds for the adoption of the relevant secondary legislation which is in progress. However, the use of water for irrigation and hydro systems maintenance is under the competence of the Administration of Water Management under MAFWE, regulated by the Law on Water Management Companies (Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia no.85/03, 95/05, 103/08, 1/12 и 95/12) and the Law on Water Communities, Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia no. 51/03, 95/05, 113/07 и 36/11).
Law on Nature Protection (2005) contains provisions which transpose the European Union principles for nature and forestry. The protection of nature is carried out through biological and landscape diversity protection and natural heritage protection, in and outside protected areas.
New Law on Chemicals (2010) establishes system for chemicals management aiming at preparation of the Republic of Macedonia for REACH chemical management system, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants; Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which are integral part of the national legal framework. Relevant strategic and planning documents in this area (National Implementation Plan for reduction and elimination of VOCs; State programme for gradual elimination of the substances depleting the ozone layer) contain strategic goals for chemicals management on the territory of the country.
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