North Macedonia

Switzerland’s transition assistance in North Macedonia is based on mutual interests in attaining socio-economic development, stability, security and European integration. Significant progress has been made since the Republic of North Macedonia gained independence in 1991, but the country still lags in some areas of reform, such as decentralisation, rule of law, economic development and public services.

Map of Macedonia
Map of North Macedonia © FDFA

According to the most recent census (2002), the population comprises several ethnic groups: Macedonians (65%), Albanians (25%) and other minorities such as Turks and Roma. Despite a solid democratic framework, the system has been undermined by the sluggish pace of reform, a non-inclusive approach to state-building and a decline in freedom of the press. This is manifested in a weakening of parliamentary and judicial control and in institutional corruption and political interference. Economic growth remains stymied by the recent downturn and high unemployment, particularly among women and young people. The Republic of North Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2005 but is slow to implement the reforms necessary for accession.

Democratic governance

The programme seeks to strengthen democratic governance through measures to increase social inclusion, public accountability and parliamentary control over the executive. Swiss cooperation also fosters citizen participation in local and regional decision-making as well as civil society involvement in representing the population’s needs and concerns.

State and Economic Reforms

Economic development

Switzerland’s support in the economic sector is aimed at improving employment prospects and achieving sustainable economic growth. It helps job seekers to access the labour market through vocational education and training programmes that are geared to the needs of the market. At the same time, it promotes private sector development, particularly start-ups, by encouraging employers to offer decent work opportunities. Switzerland is also actively involved in efforts to improve employment conditions, promote trade and institute better business practices.

Private Sector Development and Financial Services

Infrastructure and the environment

The country’s water resources and wealth of biodiversity are considered a major factor in its development. With Switzerland’s support, the institutions and organisations in selected municipalities can better protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change. By investing in infrastructure and capacity building in public services, Switzerland is helping to raise the quality of service in water supply and in waste and wastewater management.

Water – A Vital Resource Under Threat

Organisation and partners

The 2017-2020 cooperation strategy is implemented jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Switzerland’s work is grounded in formal agreements with the government in question and requires co-funding by the recipient country wherever possible and appropriate. Particular effort is placed on building partnerships with new actors of change, such as youth associations. Partnerships with the private sector are also sought as vectors for development, especially in regard to jobs and economic growth.

Switzerland’s main partners in North Macedonia:

 

  • Ministries and local governments
  • National and local parliaments, parliamentary administration
  • Civil society organisations, e.g. the media
  • Private sector
  • Local and international NGOs

 

Bilateral and multilateral donors and organisations, e.g. UNDP and UN Women

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 22

Strengthening regional cooperation on migration in the Western Balkans

01.06.2025 - 31.12.2027

In light of diversifying migration patterns and challenges with increasing regional dimensions, the migration policy priorities of Western Balkan governments are changing and the relevance of regional dialogue, coordination and cooperation is growing. This proposal seeks to promote coherent and effective regional governance of migration in all its multifaceted dimensions contributing to greater social cohesion and regional integration in the Western Balkans.


Planned project

Parliament Support Programme (PSP) in Macedonia

01.09.2023 - 31.12.2029

The Assembly (national parliament) will be supported in order to more effectively safeguard citizen interest and engage in consensus-oriented and inclusive debate. Over the past years the executive has built a dominant role vis-a-vis parliament resulting in ineffective oversight, limited debate on legislation, and little interaction with civil society. With the change of government in April 2017, a new momentum to address these topics has formed. Switzerland can offer its 10+ years record in supporting the Assembly.


Planned project

Support to Electoral Reforms in Macedonia

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2029

Election related institutions are strengthened to conduct election processes free of violence and intimidation. In addition, political parties are supported to apply a more citizen centred approach in developing their election programmes. Ultimately, better informed citizens are empowered to demand accountability from elected officials which increases legitimacy of the state institutions, thus they become more open and citizen oriented in the creation of policies.


Planned project

Creating Job Opportunities for All in Macedonia

01.11.2022 - 31.12.2028

This project will facilitate employment for vulnerable groups, by introducing appropriate active labour market measures, improving the capacities of responsible stakeholders to coordinate employment measures, and sensitizing and incentivising the private sector. lt contributes to ease the risk of vulnerable groups to fall into poverty, and enhances their social inclusion. Roma and people with disabilities are the main target group as they are disproportionally affected by high unemployment in Macedonia.


Increasing Market Employability

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2023

North Macedonia’s economy is characterised by one of the highest unemployment rate in Europe (21%, for youth 46%) and a high share of people in relative poverty (22%). The Increasing Market Employability programme aims to address these issues by creating jobs and increasing income. It contributes to improvement of the quality of products and services, expansion of markets, and creation of an enabling environment in the Sustainable Agribusiness, Adventure Tourism, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors.


Housing solutions for displaced persons

Apartment building in Serbia

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022

As a consequence of the war in the 1990s, over three million people were displaced both within and beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Twenty-five years after the Dayton Accords, the Western Balkans are still host to almost half a million vulnerable persons displaced by conflict in the former Yugoslavia. The Regional Housing Programme (RHP) aims to provide durable housing solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons in need.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Western Balkans
Migration
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022


CHF 1'555'000



Civil Society Support Facility – up scaling

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

The Civil Society Support Facility supports civil society organisations (CSOs) to become drivers of social change in Macedonia. CSOs will receive mentoring support to strengthen relations with their constituencies and build up alliances. Mechanisms for better cooperation between state institutions and CSOs will be established and will enable civil society’s active participation in public policy and decision-making. A competitive grant scheme supports CSOs institutional development as well as specific projects.


Towards Transparent, Inclusive and Accountable Governance in the Republic of Macedonia

15.07.2018 - 30.06.2022

The project aims at increasing gender equality in Macedonia and the quality of life for women and vulnerable groups by 1) systematically integrating a gender perspective in public policies and budgets which leads to the allocation of more funds for greater gender equality in strategies and policies; 2) empowering women and vulnerable groups to advocate for their needs in municipal planning and budgeting; and 3) supporting CSOs and Members of Parliament in overseeing the implementation of gender responsive policies and initiatives.


Parliament Support Programme (PSP)

01.11.2017 - 31.08.2023

Switzerland supports the Assembly of North Macedonia to become an effective, transparent and independent institution by supporting the Parliament’s institutional development, its oversight and legislative capacities and its transparency and accountability towards citizens, including marginalized groups. This includes changes to the regulatory framework, the promotion of a political culture of consensus building, capacity building for MPs, parliament staff and CSOs and improved electronic architecture for effective and transparent communication.


Creating Job Opportunities for All in Macedonia

01.07.2017 - 31.10.2022

This project will facilitate employment for vulnerable groups, by introducing appropriate active labour market measures, improving the capacities of responsible stakeholders to coordinate employment measures, and sensitizing and incentivising the private sector. lt contributes to ease the risk of vulnerable groups to fall into poverty, and enhances their social inclusion. Roma and people with disabilities are the main target group as they are disproportionally affected by high unemployment in Macedonia.


North Macedonia: Nature Conservation Programme

01.01.2017 - 30.06.2021

Switzerland will assist North Macedonia in sustainable management of natural resources through practical application of conservation measures such as regional protected areas and integrated forest management in the Bregalnica region. Further framework conditions will be improved and support is provided in implementing national legislation and the Strategy on Nature. By promoting ecologically and sustainably produced products and services, economic benefit for the local population will be generated.


Vocational Skills Development in Macedonia

01.09.2016 - 28.02.2022

Macedonia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (25%), especially among youth (48%). One of the key factors for youth unemployment is that the education and training system does not provide skills needed by the economy. The Vocational Skills Development project aims to address youth unemployment through supporting market relevant skills development by strengthening the engagement of the private sector (e.g. through systematised internships), thus increasing the employability of vocational training graduates.

Object 1 – 12 of 22