Croatia supports North Macedonia's European path

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On Monday 5 December, Ministers of Justice of Croatia and North Macedonia Ivan Malenica and Nikola Tupančeski opened the Zagreb-Skopje Colloquium "Law and Modern Technology", organised by the Zagreb Faculty of Law and the Iustinianus Primus Faculty of Law in Skopje.

Addressing the participants, Minister of Justice and Public Administration Ivan Malenica emphasized that the Zagreb-Skopje Colloquium is a reflection of the friendship not only between the two faculties, but also between Croatia and North Macedonia.

"The Republic of Croatia strongly supports North Macedonia on its European path and we are ready to provide any form of assistance in the negotiation process with the Union. Alignment with the acquis communautaire is a long and challenging road. In the process, Croatia adopted almost 700 laws and over a thousand bylaws in only a few years. I am convinced that our experience, especially in chapters 23 and 24, can be of significant benefit to the Republic of North Macedonia", said Minister Malenica and added that legal experts from the University of Zagreb had played an important role in Croatia's negotiating process.

Referring to the main topic of the colloquium, the Minister emphasized that in the age of the digital revolution, digital is no longer a mere possibility, but is rather a standard, so the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration sees digitalisation as a development component of the judiciary.

"Digital judiciary is the modern judiciary – and it must be close to citizens. It does not replace the basic postulates of substantive procedural legislation, nor can it replace human resources, but is  an integral part  of the 21st century judiciary. Digital tools must be in the service of independent judiciary and preservation of the rule of law. They are there to facilitate access to justice for every citizen, and help judicial officials to make faster, better and higher quality decisions", he said.

Minister Tupančeski pointed out that North Macedonia had started numerous reforms in the field of judiciary in order to align with the European acquis communautaire. He assessed Croatia's experience in negotiations with the European Union as extremely useful for North Macedonia. "By coming to Zagreb, we are strengthening friendly relations with the Republic of Croatia", he said.

Speaking about the impact of modern technologies on law and the judiciary, Minister  Tupančeski pointed out that in the age of social medias and digital platforms, one should be careful to protect the rights of every citizen, and that cybercrime posed new risks to law and legal order.

Ahead of the Zagreb-Skopje Colloquium, Minister Malenica received Minister Tupačenski for an official visit. They talked about strengthening bilateral relations between Croatia and North Macedonia, exchanging experiences in negotiations on chapters 23 and 24 and strengthening judicial cooperation between the two countries, with special emphasis on the digitalisation of the judiciary.