A bitter dispute with Greece over Macedonia’s name continues to hamper the country’s bids to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
In February, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling upon the Council of the European Union to confirm the date for the launch of Macedonia’s accession negotiations.
Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of the ruling Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization–Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) won a third consecutive term, while President Gjorge Ivanov—also of VMRO-DPMNE—won his second.
Municipalities are working to improve their administrative capacity and absorption of EU funds, but mismanagement of education funds transferred from the central government remained a problem during 2014.
Meanwhile, civil society became more active in assessing the quality of governance and prevalence of corruption at the local level. Lawmakers drafted seven constitutional amendments in 2014, including one that would expand the authority of the Constitutional Court to examine complaints from individuals about human rights violations.
In September, an appellate court upheld a ruling against a reporter and the editor of the independent weekly newsmagazine Local Democratic Governance.
Many municipalities lack the capacity to collect taxes that would supplement capital grants from the central government, which are often described as insufficient to carry out municipal responsibilities.