Earlier this year, Macedonia achieved a milestone in its bid to accede to the European Union: Macedonian officials agreed to a plan by European counterparts eager to help the former Yugoslav Republic meet criteria to accede to the European Union.
The agreement, also known as the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance's transition assistance and institution-building component, was signed Feb. 23 by Erwan Fouéré, head of the European Commission delegation, and Ivica Bocevski, Macedonia's deputy prime minister. It aims at assisting the eastern European country to meet political and socio-economic criteria that are key for assuming the obligations of EU membership.
According to the agreement, the EU will contribute a maximum of 37.12 million euro. Macedonia must sign agreements with contractors by Feb. 22, 2011, and all contracts must be executed two years thereafter.
Bocevski is the Macedonian government's top official on European affairs and EU assistance. In an interview with Devex, he addressed questions on IPA funding availability as well as challenges that countries eager to join the EU face in preparing their institutions to take greater responsibility for the management of rising EU assistance.