The Eurofocus project is one of the ten projects of civil society organizations and media, enabled with a grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), awarded through the project Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia for their active involvement and support in the EU integration process of North Macedonia.
"The civil society sector plays an extremely important role in society democratization, both as a source of knowledge and as a controller and criticizer of the government," said Nikola Dimitrov, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs. According to Dimitrov, the media freedom is a precondition for the society to move forward.
According to the Swedish Ambassador, Mrs. Forsgren Bengtson, reforms must stem from the public desire for change.
"Sweden remains a strong supporter of North Macedonia on the road towards a shared future in the EU. Sweden's support should be seen as a contribution to the North Macedonia's preparations and readiness for the EU." It is about reforms in different sectors, but also about values - democracy, human rights, equality, fundamental rights etc.," underlined Ambassador Forsgren Bengtsson during her addressing speech.
Freedom of expression is a key indicator of a country's readiness to become a member of the European Union. During the past 38 editions of the Eurofocus TV show, a large number of citizens were provided with relevant facts and information not only on the benefits of EU membership, but also on the negotiation process, challenges and necessary reforms.
"The role of the media in building internal cohesion and awareness among citizens is crucial, not only for the benefits of EU membership, but also for the negotiation process, challenges and necessary reforms," explained Sherife Ismaili Kasapi of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and project manager of the "Nordic Support for Progress of North Macedonia" project.
The Eurofocus project broadcasted 43 hours of information related to the EU accession process, reaching 630,000 viewers, including interviews with around 100 guests and four public opinion polls by presenting 15 third-party surveys, whereas 30 civil society organizations and media representatives received training concerning the EU integration process.