The first Advisory Group Meeting of the ROMACTED Programme took place in the premises of the EU Info Centre in Skopje on 5 February 2018, bringing together the main relevant stakeholders at central level and the local teams of the twelve partner municipalities. The aim of the meeting was to take stock on the advancement of the Programme in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and provide recommendations for the upcoming implementation during 2019.
The Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation in Skopje, Mr Nicola Bertolini, announced the continuation of the EU support through launching of the new call for proposals for actions targeting Roma. Furthermore, it is foreseen that the grants are given to three municipalities, which will be selected through the call. Mr Bertolini emphasized that 2019 will be the year of concrete actions, which should bring closer the joint cooperation of the civil society organisations and municipalities. Moreover, the activities are meant to target housing, infrastructure, employment and education.
Assistant to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy and the National Roma Contact Point, Ms Mabera Kamberi, shared the good practice of cooperation between the Ministry and the ROMACTED Support team. Ms Kamberi also emphasized the coordination with the partner municipalities in the framework of the programme, as well as other relevant stakeholders.
The Advisory Group Meeting was also an opportunity to address an official welcome to the new Head of Operations in the Council of Europe Programme Office in Skopje, Ms Ana Zec, who has briefly shared her impressions of the programme and current progress.
Ms Zurija Memedova, Advisor in the Cabinet of the Minister without Portfolio Muzafer Bajram, in charge of the implementation of the National Strategy for Roma 2014-2020, has shared few words about the ongoing support of the Cabinet in finding systematic solutions for improving living conditions in Roma communities.
Mr Milutin Stancik, Director in the Unit for development and promotion of the languages in the education for the Ethnic Minorities within the Ministry of Education and Science, talked about the activities and plans regarding the educational mediators.
Mr Elmaz Maliqi, Assistant Head in the Sector for development within the Ministry of Local Self-Governance highlighted the good cooperation with the ROMACTED support organisation.
Mr Marcos Andrade, ROMACTED Programme manager, made a brief recapitulation of the accomplished steps and provided valuable insight about the small grant scheme that will be launched soon in the framework of the programme. In addition to this, Mr Andrade also informed the participants on the possibilities of providing expertise in the specific fields that require capacity building.
The ROMACTED Focal point, Mr Ferdi Ismaili, shared information on the synergies which have been built throughout the programme`s implementation. The essential cooperation was thus established with the Ministry of Education and Roma Education Fund, “One society for all”, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Minister without Portfolio, and the Ministry of Local Self-Government.
The representatives from the 12 partner municipalities had an opportunity to share the progress of the implementation at the local level and underline potential challenges. The local teams were comprised of delegated contact points and Community Action Group representatives.
ROMACTED Programme aims at building up political will and sustained policy engagement of local authorities to enhance democratic local governance and empowerment of local Roma communities. In “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, the programme has been implemented in Berovo, Bitola, Debar, Gostivar, Kicevo, Kocani, Prilep, Strumica, Stip, Tetovo, Veles and Vinica