Development of most effective policies for housing and employment of Roma in the Republic of North Macedonia is essential
- 11 Sep 2019
The Regional Cooperation Council’s (RCC) Roma Integration 2020 and the National Roma Contact Point of the Republic of North Macedonia organized the third National Platform for Roma Integration in Skopje, an annual meeting to present the progress, identify achievements and challenges, and propose the way forward on Roma integration. It also brings together relevant public officials, local level officials, Roma civil society and other relevant stakeholders to elaborate in more detail measures that can potentially have biggest impact on the Roma population.
In his opening address, Orhan Usein, Team leader of the RCC’s Roma Integration Project, expressed gratitude to the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia for initiating the process that resulted with the signing of the Declaration of Western Balkans Partners on Roma Integration within the EU Enlargement Process. “Roma Integration 2020 will continue to cooperate with all of you, as the assistance provided by the Roma Integration 2020 is designed in a way to engage all relevant parties and results in the most effective policies that will contribute significantly to the achievement of the objectives of the Regional Declaration.”
Muzafer Bajram, Minister without portfolio responsible for the implementation of the National Strategy for the improvement of the situation of Roma and National Roma Contact Point also addressed the participants of today's meeting.
The Roma Integration 2020 Action Team has worked together with the government to develop the Roadmap 2019 – 2021 in the areas of employment and housing that was presented to the stakeholders.
The employment rate among Roma in the Republic of North Macedonia is 22%, and majority of Roma undeclared workers are engaged in waste collection, open market or street trade, seasonal work and cleaning services. Therefore, the Team will continue to work with the relevant partners to develop comprehensive policy for transformation of undeclared work into declared work, as this process would be the most effective and efficient way to achieve the set targets regarding employment. There is no reliable information on the illegal dwellings where Roma lives in the Republic of North Macedonia, but some information reveals that 70% of dwellings are illegally built. The Roadmap suggests that legalization of dwellings would be the most efficient way to ensure secure housing, it reduce risk of eviction, and thus prevents the need for additional expenses.
The Roma Integration Action will continue to develop and implement suitable policies in the areas of employment and housing as the current mainstream opportunities within the housing laws and the general efforts in employment, should be utilized to ensure Roma are not legging behind the others in the process of EU integration.