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Dutch parliament greenlights opening EU accession talks with North Macedonia

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The Dutch parliament blocked the opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania, but it endorsed the launch of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia

The EU summit later this month will decide whether to open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. All decisions concerning the EU accession process are decided at the EU level with unanimity, which means that any member country can block the process. However, opening negotiations with Albania is unlikely after a large majority in the Dutch parliament prohibited such move by the government.

The Dutch parliament passed a motion Wednesday asking the government to block the opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania for 2019.

The motion against Albania’s EU entry bid was submitted by several MPs (Christian Democrats, Liberal-Conservatives, and Christian Union) whose parties are part of the governing coalition in the Netherlands. It got 105 votes in favor out of the 150 MPs of the Dutch Parliament, which is more than a two-third majority.

According to the Dutch government, Albania is not achieving tangible results in the fight against corruption and organized crime. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said that the European Commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations with Albania was premature. He added that Albania has not fulfilled the criteria on fight against organized crime and corruption.

The late Wednesday’s vote in the Dutch Parliament confirms the blocking of accession negotiations between EU and Albania. It comes several weeks after the parliament demanded the government to ask the European Commission to suspend the visa-free travel for Albanians in the Schengen area.

A second motion, asking the government to block the opening of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia for 2019, failed to secure the needed backing. Majority of MPs voted to reject the motion.

The move is seen as a first step towards separating North Macedonia from the Albania-North Macedonia package in the decision-making process within the EU Council, if Netherlands asks the Council to adopt such approach during the June 18 summit in Luxembourg or the next summit in Brussels.

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Macedonia

Designer clothes, jewelry, watches, art objects seized in bribery probe

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The crews of Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption in cooperation with law enforcement officers assigned by the Ministry of Interior, raided the home of the prime suspect in the investigation into bribery allegations.

Search operations were conducted in the home of Bojan Jovanovski alias Boki 13 – suspected of taking kickbacks –  and the home of his parents.

The items that were seized during the late Monday’s search include two PCs, one laptop computer, designer clothes, jewelry, wrist watches, art pieces.

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Macedonia

Osmani-Cavusoglu: North Macedonia, Turkey reaffirm strategic partnership

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Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Bujar Osmani, held a meeting with Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who arrived in Skopje on Monday for a two-day visit.

“Traditionally, the close amicable ties between the two countries set a genuine example of strategic partnership. To this end, I am pleased to say that with the ratification of North Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Turkey has proved the perennial support to our country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community,” Osmani said.

The two discussed about the bilateral cooperation and modalities for deepening the strategic partnership. North Macedonia was pinpointed as positive example in the Balkan region in terms of successful resolution of disputes with neighbors

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Macedonia

Dimitrov: State starts to fight crime, banal exult is not helpful

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The system, for all its faults, has begun to fight crime the right way no matter who the perpetrator is, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov wrote on his Facebook page a day after arrest of Bojan Jovanovski alias Boki13, the head of 1TV and informal director of MBJ Media Group.

Law enforcement officers raided Jovanovski’s home late on Monday searching for evidence amid f an investigation launched by the public prosecutors for organized crime and corruption. Jovanovski and the other suspect, Zoran Milevski alias Kiceec were remanded in police custody for 30 days. The two are suspected of bribery, receiving kickbacks (illegal payment intended as compensation for favorable treatment or other improper services), unlawful influencing, and money laundering.

“Nobody said it would be easy. We can sink into disappointment and despair, we can feed the self-defeating energy that we are a complete failure. What a masochism and incomprehensible joy to welcome bad news. There is no use in showing triumphant elation or jubilation. The glass is always half empty: ‘I’ve told you so, we will never become a state’. The news today maybe like this: the system, for all its faults, has begun to fight the crime no matter who the perpetrator is.”

“The fight against crime will never end. It is a fight of good versus evil. And this fight has just begun,” Dimitrov says on his Facebook page.

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