PER Report: State policies toward the Roma in Macedonia


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Subject: PER Report: State policies toward the Roma in Macedonia

From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

PER Report: State policies toward the Roma in Macedonia


The report is also available in PDF format at PER web-site:
http://www.per-usa.org/MacedoniaRoma.pdf


STATE POLICIES TOWARD THE ROMA IN MACEDONIA

OCTOBER 13-14, 2000
SKOPJE, MACEDONIA


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface
Note on Terminology
Comparative Perspectives
Interethnic Relations in Macedonia
Current Status of the Roma in Macedonia
Steps Toward Partnership Between the Roma and the Government
Refugee Issues
Conclusions
List of Participants
Other PER Publications


PREFACE

Of all the problems that have affected Central and Southeastern
Europe, that of relations between Romani communities and the majority
populations has been among the most widespread and persistent.
Macedonia, which is the focus of this report, has made great progress,
showing tolerance toward its minority communities, including the Roma,
and generosity toward both ethnic Albanian and Romani refugees from
the conflict in Kosovo. Among the Macedonian government's main
domestic tasks at present is that of formulating a comprehensive
policy toward its Romani community. In addition, the status of Romani
refugees must be addressed by international players as well as by the
governments of Macedonia and its neighbors.

Macedonia, which is seeking membership in the European Union, will
have to fulfill the long list of prerequisites demanded of all
candidate countries, including the development of comprehensive state
policy toward the Roma, a requirement that is part of "Agenda 2000" of
the European Union. ("Agenda 2000" sets forth the process of reform
and enlargement of the EU.) Whether Romani representatives have real
decision-making power with respect to the situation of their own
communities will also be considered in EU accession. Indeed, if the
Macedonian application for admission is to succeed, policies must be
developed on the basis of a partnership between the government and the
Romani community.

In order to discuss these topics and to encourage a Roma-government
partnership, the Project on Ethnic Relations (PER) organized a meeting
in Skopje, Macedonia, on October 13 and 14, 2000.

PER has been working closely with governments and Romani communities
in Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Hungary to help formulate policies
toward the Roma as part of the efforts of these states to gain EU
accession. Their experiences are relevant for Macedonia today. At the
same time, in some respects Macedonia can also serve as an example for
others, because the Roma there have always enjoyed a degree of
recognition and have had parliamentary representation. The meeting
offered an opportunity to share lessons and experiences.

We gratefully acknowledge the important contributions of Mirce
Tomovski, Coordinator of the International Network for Interethnic
Relations in Southeastern Europe, who helped to prepare the meeting
and was a participant.

Professor Steven Burg of Brandeis University wrote this report. The
participants in the meeting have not had the opportunity to review the
text, for which PER assumes full responsibility.

Allen H. Kassof, President
Livia B. Plaks, Executive Director
Princeton, New Jersey
March 2001

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