Croatia, 16 November 2019

Learning from the regional EU integration experience

Thirteen representatives of the Secretariat for European Affairs and the Secretariat for Legislation of North Macedonia conducted a study visit to Croatia, to learn from their experience in transposition of EU legislation, as well as the utilization of IT platforms for coordination of the process. The meetings and trainings with the experts in Croatia are being facilitated by the Service for Knowledge Transfer within the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia.

During the two day study trip, the delegation, headed by the State Secretary of the Secretariat for European Affairs, Ms. Kalinka Gaber, was meeting experts from Croatia to discuss the lessons learned in the EU integration process, with special focus on the utilization of the electronic platform, developed in 2007, that was used to speed up the EU harmonization process, by integrating  and coordinating all relevant state institutions in the process. The IT tool showed how digital tools could be helpful in the process of harmonization with EU legislation and the establishment of better EU coordination among national line institutions. This experience is extremely valuable for the institutions in North Macedonia in their preparation stage for the negotiations with the European Union.

During the study visit to Zagreb, the State Secretary Gaber also met her counterpart from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Ms. Andreja Metelko Zgombić. The meeting was used to exchange experiences for the current political situation in the EU and the Region, North Macedonia’s perspectives for opening negotiations and the preparation of the Summit EU-Western Balkans that will be held in May 2020 during the Croatian presidency with the European Union. During this meeting, Ms. Metelko Zgombić reconfirmed that Republic of Croatia remains a sincere supporter of the EU path of the country.

This cooperation visit was organized in line with the project’s Result 3: Support the government reform agenda in the accession process, and the support provided to the Secretariat for European Affairs in determining and prioritizing the technical assistance needed to strengthen  national capacities for EU integration and streamlining expertise in the critical reform areas during the accession period. Since April 2019, the institutions from North Macedonia and Croatia through the Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia project,  have exchanged experience on topics concerning accession negotiation chapters 1, 23, 11 and 27. On six occasions, Croatian experts, Heads or members of former negotiation teams for the specific chapters, shared their experience and knowledge with Macedonian counterparts.