Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia
The “Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia” project is supporting the Secretariat for European Affairs in determining and prioritizing the technical assistance that is needed for EU accession negotiations and in streamlining short-term expertise in critical reform areas.
It also provides support for the active engagement of Civil Society Organizations and media in the EU accession process, through a grant scheme that will support their lobbying, advocacy and oversight activities at the national and local level.
The “Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia” project is implemented in coordination and with the active participation of institutions at the national and local level. These partnerships enable the achievement of the sustainability of project results through shared responsibility, enabling long-term realization of citizens' interests.
Since declaring its independence in the early 1990’s, European Union membership has been set as a strategic priority for North Macedonia’s government. Upon receiving the status of EU candidate country in 2005, the country has been taking steps for preparation of the public administration and the public’s awareness for opening negotiation talks. However, the latest EU progress report notes that additional focus is needed on increasing administrative capacity, effective implementation of legislation and implementation of key reforms in certain sectors.
The project supports balanced socio-economic development by providing infrastructure grants in the less developed regions of the country, as well as providing employment and training opportunities for unemployed persons in these regions. Even with the steady trend of gradual decrease of unemployment in the country, the current unemployment rate of 18% is still considered high. Higher unemployment rates exist in the lesser developed regions of the country, which are also dealing with underdeveloped infrastructure. Additionally, the project also supports the national and local administration in addressing long-lasting environmental issues, by working on preparing the clean-up of the site for a waste water plant in Tetovo and the dislocation of the lindane waste from the OHIS factory.