On November 27-28, Metamorphosis Foundation alongside the other ACTION SEE partners, organised and hosted the conference “e-Society: Open Institutions and Accountability” as the closing event of the four-year project ACTION SEE (Accountability, Technology and Institutional Openness Network in the South East Europe region) funded by the European Union.
The conference brought together over 250 representatives of institutions, civil society, media organizations, and individuals from the Western Balkans region.
The opening ceremony was addressed by Robert Popovski, Minister without portfolio in charge of Communications, Accountability and Transparency in North Macedonia, Fani Karanfilova-Panovska, the Executive Director of the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (FOSM), Nikola Bertolini, Head of the Department for European Affairs in Skopje and Bardhyl Jashari, the Executive Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation.
Bertolini emphasized that the citizens do not get what they have requested, and what that is normal in the EU – it is not normal here, while Karanfilova-Panovska has demanded more transparency in the allocation of state funds to CSOs, as she said, there is a lack of transparency and accountability. in the decision-making process.
The recommendation from the panel “4 years of lobbying for open institutions in the region” was that all the countries in the region should provide access to information and should not have a monopoly on it. Milena Gvozdenovic of the Center for Democratic Transition, which is part of the ACTION SEE regional project, said the results show that at the regional level the Parliaments meet 66% of the openness criteria, then the executive 49%, the local self-government 36%, and the courts 42%.
On one of the parallel sessions, the legal compliance of GDPR and the protection of personal data in relation to the application of the Police Directive was discussed, through the experiences of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Serbia, processes and challenges in the harmonization of national legislation, as well as the importance of the Personal Data Protection Officer within law enforcement and national security institutions. Speakers at the panel were Jan Ellermann, Europol Personal Data Protection Specialist, Trpe Stojanovski, Professor at the Faculty of Security at “St. Kliment Ohridski” University, Igor Kuzevski, Personal Data Protection Expert, Dragana Stojkovic from the Office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection from Serbia and Viktor Dimovski, Director of the National Security Agency, Republic of North Macedonia.
During the second day of the conference, the Government Transparency Strategy 2019 – 2021 was promoted. Metamorphosis Foundation and FOSM participated in the drafting of this Strategy.
Lidija Cvetanovic, from the Cabinet of the Minister without portfolio in charge of Communications, Accountability and Transparency, said that the Strategy is a product of the joint efforts of the government and the non-governmental sector which is a guarantee for high quality. Danče Danilovska Bajdevska from FOSM noted that the challenges such as unified access to documents and datasets, and timeliness in publishing public information remain as challenges.
At the panel discussion “Media and good governance (Combating misinformation)”, attended by Sead Dzigal of the International Balkan University, Vladimir Petreski, editor of Vistiminomer.mk and Marjan Zabrcanec, Special advisor for PR to the PM Zoran Zaev.
In his speech, Zabrchec exclusively revealed that a hybrid attack had been unveiled a few days earlier against the prime minister’s office, misusing the identity of young eco-activist Greta Thunberg.
The photo gallery of the event can be found on the following links:
The full agenda of the event can be found here.