Corruption has the potential to undermine Macedonia’s strategic ambitions, the U.S. Department of State’s press office told Voice of America in Macedonian, when asked if the amendments to the Criminal Code lowering the sanctions for abuse of official position and criminal association would make the United States efforts to aid the country in the fight against corruption more difficult.

“We encourage Macedonia to fulfill its promises in the fight against corruption. The leaders of North Macedonia must demonstrate firm, tangible, anti-corruption results by boosting institutional independence and preventing political meddling, especially in the judiciary, which is essential for the fulfillment of the EU accession goals and building the citizens’ trust in the government,” the State Department told the Voice of America.

With the EU flag and under a fast-track procedure, Parliament adopted Wednesday the amendments to the Criminal code, which foresee reduced sanctions for officials that abuse their position. President Stevo Pendarovski signed the amendments into law on Thursday.