Week in Review: A Rule of Law Struggle

Criminal Ties

Montage by BIRN

In 2015, North Macedonia took what was then both a revolutionary and controversial step in the region by legalizing the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Since 2017, the industry truly took off in the country, encouraged by a government which saw it as an economic growth opportunity.

Yet while the industry was to be heavily regulated and strictly controlled, this predictably proved to be a challenge in practice. In the summer of 2022, North Macedonian police raided two plantations partly engaged in illegal cultivation. A BIRN investigation reveals the criminal ties of some of those involved in the industry.

Read more: Crime Ties Exposed in North Macedonia Medicinal Cannabis Boom (March 28, 2023)

Contested Plans

A banner with the message "Corruption Stranggles Justice" showed by protesters cheering against corruption in Great National Assembly Square in Chisinau on July 1, 2018. Photo: EPA-EFE/Dumitru Doru

Moldova is the latest EU membership candidate country planning to embark on a judicial vetting process as part of an effort to improve the efficiency of its judiciary and root out bad apples. Yet the plans being laid out are meeting with opposition from leading figures in the judicial system.

So far, 20 out of 25 members of Moldova's Supreme Court of Justice have resigned in protest at the Moldovan government's plans. But is there more to these resignations than meets the eye?

Read more: In Moldovan Court Resignations, a Question of Principles, or Pay? (March 28, 2023)

Hitting a Bump

In a part of Europe where critical infrastructure remains underdeveloped and acts as a brake on economic growth, announcements of major road...

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