Europeanisation meets democracy from below: The Western Balkans on the search for new European and democratic Momentum (WB2EU)

The controversy of ‘more (economic) freedom’. Can liberalisation in North Macedonia cause more problems than benefits? By Dimitar Nikolovski & Aleksandar Stojanovski, ÖGfE Policy Brief, 15’2021

In the past months, the government of North Macedonia has pushed for three policies providing for different forms of liberalisation and legalisation, all with potentially significant impacts on the rule of law and justice in the country: legalisation of cannabis for recreational use, legalisation of illegally constructed objects, and the selling/privatisation of state-owned agricultural land. In the Policy Brief, the authors outline the proposed changes, possible implications, and their opposition. They claim that all three changes at once pose the danger of overwhelming the administrative system and society. Furthermore, they argue that public institutions lack the capacity to successfully manage all changes at once. The authors recommend that the government takes a step back, enters into deep consultations with stakeholders, and makes clear distinctions within the proposal for legalisation of illegally constructed buildings.

Policy Recommendations

  1. Slow down
  2. Initiate public debate
  3. Consider public opinion
The Policy Brief is published in the framework of the WB2EU project. The project aims at the establishment of a network of renowned think-tanks, do-tanks, universities, higher education institutes and policy centres from the Western Balkans, neighbouring countries and EU member states that will be most decisive for the enlargement process and Europeanisation of the region in the upcoming years. The WB2EU project is co-funded by the European Commission under its Erasmus+ Jean Monnet programme. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Picture: Pixabay / Photographer: Dimitris Vetsikas

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