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6th December 2022, Brussels – Today, Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, took part in the bilateral screening dedicated to Chapter 32 Financial Control, with the Ministry of Finance being the leading institution therefore.

“Continuous improvement of public finance management is among the top priorities of the Government, as well as a priority for EU accession. As part of the public administration reform, it is one of the key benchmarks against which the progress of North Macedonia towards EU is assessed. The process of attaining this priority entails alignment of our legislation with the EU standards, improvement of both the human capacities and the overall public finance management system, implemented through both the 2022-2025 PFM Reform Program, which is based on the SMART concept, and the National Anti-Fraud Strategy on Protection of the Financial Interests of the European Union in the Republic of North Macedonia 2022-2025, adopted by the Government”, Minister Besimi said.

He went on by saying that the new PFM Reform Program is aimed at improving the medium-term fiscal framework, enhancing the budget planning process, strengthening the public procurement system, and improving both internal and external control by increasing transparency and accountability of operations. Organic Budget Law has been also adopted as part of the respective reform, which Law sets the stage for an advanced fiscal policy, improved medium-term fiscal projections and increased transparency. This reform was also noted in the EC North Macedonia Report.

The Minister pointed out that a lot of efforts were put in the past period aimed at further harmonization of the national legislation with the EU acquis, with series of reform activities also being implemented, supported by the EU.

North Macedonia, as Besimi underlined, will continue the reform activities. Focus will be placed on adoption of the new PIFC Law and methodological tools, as well as their implementation in order to improve transparency, managerial accountability and sound management of public funds. Reform activities also focus on adoption of the draft State Audit Law, which is to enhance the cooperation between the State Audit Office and the Parliament, at the same time improving the parliamentary scrutiny over budget implementation and follow-up to the recommendations of the State Audit Office, as well as ensuring the establishment and the efficient functioning of the anti-fraud coordination network and improving the prevention, management and reporting of irregularities concerning EU funds.

During the bilateral screening meeting, the state of play, the level of alignment and the future plans for harmonization in the fields of public internal financial control, external audit, protection of EU financial interests and euro protection were presented.

Yesterday, Minister of Finance participated in the bilateral screening dedicated to the economic criteria. Bilateral screening is the first step in the EU accession negotiations process. It enables candidate countries to familiarise themselves with the EU laws and standards and the obligations they entail, as well as the countries’ levels of preparedness and plans to further alignment. In this process, Ministry of Finance is the leading institution in eight areas, i.e. chapters, in four out of total of six clusters in the process.

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