The Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation (MCIS) and the Civic Resource Centre (CRC) published the report “Government Mirror” for 2022, which monitors and analyzes the Single National Register of Regulations (ENER – www.ener.gov.mk).
In 2022, 37% of the draft laws adopted by the Government and submitted to the Assembly were published on ENER. The report states that the situation has worsened compared to previous years (41% in 2021 and 49.6% in 2019). Ministries do not publish the majority of draft laws on ENER. In 2022, the Government submitted a total of 65 draft laws to the Assembly for which it had the obligation to publish them on ENER. For 24 of them (37%), the text of the draft law was previously published on ENER. Because of this, the public was denied the opportunity to be informed about the content of the proposed laws. As for the minimum commenting period of 20 days, it has been respected by the ministries for all 24 draft laws.
Unfortunately, the public interest in commenting on ENER has also decreased. Citizens minimally use ENER to voice their opinions on draft laws at an early stage of preparation. 112 comments have been posted for 23 out of a total of 39 draft laws published on ENER in 2022. The most comments, 18 in total, were left on the Critical Infrastructure Bill. There are 11 comments on: Proposal of the Criminal Code; Proposal – Law on amending and supplementing the law on food safety and Draft Law on amending and supplementing the law on agricultural land. A question for a deeper analysis is whether the reason for the reduced interest of the citizens is due to the lack of feedback from the ministries to the citizens’ comments. During the monitoring period, the ministries published 36 responses on ENER to a total of 112 posted comments (32%) from citizens and civil society organisations. More than half of the answers given by the ministries (28) were given by the Ministry of Agriculture to the five draft laws published on ENER by this ministry.
The results show that the avoiding of the consultative process with the selection of who proposes the draft laws are also alarming. A total of 86 of the proposed 191 laws (45%) were proposed by MPs. The Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia does not implement a consultative process for draft laws that are proposed by MPs and authorized drafters of laws. Thus, for a significant percentage of the draft laws, consultation with the stakeholders is impossible and they are subject exclusively to the legislative procedure for the adoption of laws. With this in mind, laws that are essential to the legal environment can be passed without the public being consulted.
MCIC has been monitoring the openness of law-making processes for 10 years. The preparation of this Report is part of the project “EU support for the Civil Society Resource Centre – phase 2” which is financed by the European Union. In addition to annual reports, weekly and monthly reviews are published regularly. The goal is to improve the awareness of citizens and civil society organisations and to encourage them to participate in the early stages of the preparation of laws.