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Sixth session of Working Group 4 – Justice, Freedom and Security (Chapter 24) “The Vetting as a measure to build the integrity of the institutions”

On the 27.08.2019 in the Club of MP’s in Skopje, the sixth session of the Working Group 4 – (Justice, freedom and security – Chapter 24) of the National Convention for the European Union in Republic of North Macedonia (NKEU-MK) took place, on the topic: Vetting as a measure to build the integrity of the institutions. All relevant stakeholders took part, such as representatives of relevant institutions, representatives of the academic environment, civil society, international associations and other experts, including expert Andrea Jaleczova of the National Security Authorities of the Slovak Republic.

State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Magdalena Nestorovska explained that the reason for starting the process of vetting in the institutions is the perception of the citizens, who still have the feeling that institutions are not successful enough in the fight against corruption. Nestorovska emphasized that we should comprehend that the vetting is happening in order to protect employees, not to promote fear and punishment. She said that vetting is a difficult and sensitive process, which is why it is necessary to secure international support and support from the civil sector in order to achieve a process free from the constraints of politics. Regarding the Ministry of Interior, she announced that the Ministry of Interior’s Vetting Working Group is expected to start operating as soon as possible.

Professor of the Faculty of Security in Skopje Trpe Stojanovski, started his speech with the question “We want vetting, but how to get the desired results?” He emphasized the need for a carefully designed methodology and preparation for this complex process. He warned that we should not enter this serious process lightly. The dilemmas of what vetting is, what category of employees should be included, what the legislation will be, who will implement vetting are just some of the questions that must be answered.

The expert from Bratislava, Slovak Republic, Ms. Andrea Jaleczova from the National Security Authorities, unselfishly shared her experiences on the implementation of the vetting process in the Slovak Republic. She stated that in Slovakia there is one institution that is in charge of conducting vetting in all institutions and described the process in detail. Jaleczova pointed out that in the Slovak Republic, vetting can only be carried out on those who have agreed to be examined.

One of the panelists, a former presidential candidate and long-time professor at the University of Southeast Europe in Tetovo- Blerim Reka, said that it is not enough just to carry out the vetting with the police, but above all the judiciary system. He stated that the vetting in the police and the judiciary system should go hand in hand as a part of one parallel and complementary process.  If the vetting was done only in the police, the desired effect in the fight against crime would not be achieved.

Alexander Nacev, a professor at the European University in Skopje, disagreed with the idea that international parties and the civil society should be included in the vetting process. “Vetting should be kept in the state institutions.” We have to build institutions with integrity in which we can put our trust. He agreed on the importance of developing a proper methodology on how to carry out the vetting process in the field. He stressed that we must be extremely careful about how the vetting is going to be implemented and to make sure that it is not used for an act of personal or political revenge against anyone or that the process is not going to be repeated with the change of the government.

After the experts’ statements followed a debate for the recommendations of the session, who were adopted.