Илустрација: Фисник Џелили, Порталб.мк

Youth unemployment remains a problem that North Macedonia must work hard to solve, notes the latest Report of the EC on North Macedonia’s EU accession progress. The youth and meeting the needs of this group remainс a challenge that has to be addressed and solved. The report stresses the problems that North Macedonia has to solve, as well as the areas where the country has made progress.

Below, Portalb.mk provides an overview of what has been said about the youth in EC 2022 Report.

Special emphasis is put on youth unemployment, which remains high, at 30.9%. But the report highlights that it is constantly decreasing, yet, a lot more has to be done about it. Youth unemployment was significantly lowered after the adoption of the government’s Youth Guarantee Scheme,” says the report.

“In 2021, youth unemployment rate was cut to 34.6 %. This is mainly due to the COVID-19 crisis. The main measure addressing youth unemployment continues to be the Youth Guarantee Scheme. In 2021, more than 19 000 young people participated in the programme with 41 % successfully finding employment or training opportunities. 969 Roma people were included in the Youth Guarantee, out of which 148 were employed in the period of 4 months., the Report notes.

The European Commission’s Report says that the Government has approved an Action Plan for 2021-2022, but it stresses that the Employment Agency’s capacity should be strengthened.

“The implementation of the Youth Guarantee scheme continued successfully in the entire country. Regarding the Roma, 969 young Roma took part in,” says the Report, which notes that young Roma girls due to the unemployment remain especially vulnerable.

Due to the partial implementation of last year’s recommendations, in the next year North Macedonia should continue the implementation of the measure for activation of the youth labor market with the inclusion of women, persons with disabilities, and Roma.

“Further efforts are needed to address structural challenges, such as the lack of resources by state institutions dealing with child rights, the lack of strategic documents on child rights and functioning of the statutory body responsible for overseeing implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Consultations of young people in policymaking needs to be improved. There is a need to improve cooperation among institutions to better understand and address the challenges faced by different groups of children are facing, such as children with disabilities or children from the Roma community,” EC’s Report highlights.

Apart from the criticism, the Report also stresses the achieved advancement. It states that with the support of the political parties, the Parliament founded a new cross-party MP Youth Club.

“The EU and Western Balkans Leaders Meeting on 23 June 2022 reaffirmed the EU perspective of the partners in the region and gave impulse to intensify the cooperation and integration agenda. Particular focus was placed on the inclusion of the youth in the economy,” says the Report.

The Report mentions the working groups were formed between the governments of the Republic of North Macedonia and Bulgaria, and several cooperation documents that included the young and sports, were signed.

Macedonia continues to participate actively in the Erasmus+ program and the European Solidarity Corps.

“Under the 2021 call, overall 118 projects were awarded grants, including 22 projects in the Youth sector. It is forecasted that in 22 granted Youth projects, 615 youth participants, out of which 77 fewer opportunities participants will be involved,” the Report notes.

In the area of youth policy development, it is noted, the Agency for Youth and Sports maintains a register of youth organisations in which 80 organisations have been registered since the entry into force of this measure.

The EC’s Report was presented on the 12th of October by the European Parliament’s Foreign Policy Committee. The whole report is here.

On the other hand, on the 18th of October, the screening process continued in Brussels, and Chapter 26 “Education and Science” and Chapter 19 “Employment and Social Policy” were in focus, with a special focus on the young.

Regarding the youth policies, the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs and Chief Negotiator with the European Union Bojan Marichikj, stressed that the authorities continue to create youth centres for providing support to the youth in all municipalities; the law on youth participation and youth policies was adopted; and the preparation of a new Youth Strategy 2023-2027 started.

On the other hand, on the 17th of October the public debate for the preparation of the National Youth Strategy 2023-2027 began.

This Strategy will introduce the basic principles and the ground for the realization of the rights, needs and interests of the young by 2027. The Agency of Youth and Sport was tasked with the preparation of this Strategy.