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Macedonia Still Lags on Employing Minorities

April 6, 2012

Eleven years after the signing of the Ohrid Peace Accord, the percentage of minority civil servants is still not what it should be, a fresh report shows.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 04.04.2012.


Skopje | Photo by: Balkan Insight

The recently published 2011 report by the Ombudsman has shown that the employment of new minority public servants is going slowly.

As part of the 2001 Peace Accord, Macedonia was required to increase the number of minority civil servants in an effort to reflect their actual numbers in the country.

This mainly affects the country’s largest minority, the ethnic Albanians, who make up about a quarter of the population and have been under-represented in the public sector for years.

The Ohrid Accord was signed after a six-month armed conflict between ethnic Albanian insurgents and the security forces.

Last year’s percentage of Albanians employed in the civil service was 17.2 per cent, far from the goal of 25 per cent, which represents the percentage of Albanians in Macedonia’s population. The increase from 2010 to 2011 was only 0.3 per cent.

This still represents significant progress from the last decade. It is estimated that the percentage of Albanian public servants in 2001 was around 7 per cent.

According to the report the problem is even more pronounced when it comes to smaller ethnic minorities like Turks, Serbs, Roma, Bosniaks and others.

“The representation of smaller ethnic groups is still far from the desired level and only a small portion of them actually work in executive posts,” Uranija Pirovska, the spokesperson for the Ombudsman’s office, told Balkan Insight.

For example, in 2011 the number of Serbs in public office remained the same as the year before, at 1.6 per cent, although this community represents 2.7 per cent of Macedonia’s population.

The percentage of Turks in the civil service last year reached 1.7 per cent, an 0.1 per cent increase from the previous year. But they make up 4 per cent of the population.

The report notes that there are no Roma civil servants in the ministries of environment, transport, economy and local government and that Bosniaks are nowhere to be found in the ministries of interior, transport and local government.

On the other hand, the number of Albanians in some ministries has peaked, data show, as 46 per cent of public servants in the Ministry of Local Government are Albanian. The Ministry of Culture has a staff that is 40.5 per cent Albanian.

Ejup Alimi, State Secretary in the Government Directorate for Implementation of the Ohrid Accord, says this year they have increased the budget for minority employment from 11 to more than 14 million euro.

However, he was not able to pinpoint the exact number of minority civil servants that they plan to employ this year.

Meanwhile, institutions continue to give very different figures concerning the total number of civil servants in Macedonia, ranging from 90,000 to 180,000 according to the source.

The confusion should end with a new centralized register in the making at the newly formed Ministry for Administration. The ministry has postponed publication of the register several times since last year.

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