Policy priorities for social inclusion in Macedonia

Type Working Paper
Title Policy priorities for social inclusion in Macedonia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
This policy paper is a result of the regional
initiative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation to
engage in and promote a visible social inclusion
strategy in South Eastern Europe. The main
pillars, upon which this strategy for sustained
social inclusion in the SEE region is based,
are: education, health care, employment and
social services. Hence, the national policy paper
adopts these four pillars as main mechanism for
promoting greater social inclusion, and suggests
essential priorities in respected domains, which
should serve as guidelines for creating a more
inclusive welfare state in Macedonia.
Social inclusion policy in Macedonia does not
have a long tradition, although persistence of
‘old’ social problems, such as poverty, low living
standard and marginalization has been a reason
for creation of first social protection programs
in the country. Currently, the Ministry of Labour
and Social Policy, within the framework of its
programme for tackling the problems of the
socially excluded (2004) focuses only on four
target groups: (1) drug users and members of their
families; 2) street children and their parents; (3)
victims of family violence and 4) homeless people.
We believe that this focus should be widened to
include other vulnerable categories. However,
in a country where there is a high and persistent
unemployment trend, low level of average salaries
as well as non-regular payment of wages and
salaries, it is difficult to assess the extent of the
socially excluded population, especially because
in many ways they might represent a majority
group in the overall population.
Therefore, in this policy paper we try to focus
on priorities in the field of education, health,
employment and social services, which have
two-dimensional focus: one of the dimensions
of these priorities argue and advocate more
universal access to services in these domains
thus benefiting the overall population, while the
other is connected to priorities that will privilege
and improve the access to those that are more
vulnerable and need additional incentives to
engage in and take up existing educational, health,
labour as well as social benefits and services.
As social inclusion is a multi-faceted phenomenon,
it should also accompany other aspects and
domains. Thus, the elaborated list of priorities is
not exclusive of other options, which should be
further elaborated as to integrate individuals into
better participation at all levels of society.

Related studies