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The main decision – making processes regarding youth policy is being made by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia. The Agency of Youth and Sport (AYS) is a governmental entity designated to work on youth related issues. The Agency should lead any youth policy process in the country and should coordinate other institutions’ actions and inputs related to youth. In practice, the Agency is struggling to maintain coordination of all youth policy activities, since the activities are undertaken by ministries which have bigger capacity and independence in their decision making processes.
The decision making process of youth policies includes other institutions / ministries such as: Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Employment Service Agency, Education Development Bureau, National Agency for European Educational Programmes and Mobility, Local Self-Governments etc. Up until now there is no universal or comprehensive way of coordination of the work of all institutions that create and implement youth policies.
At local level, the Local Self-Government is responsible for decision making. The decision making is based on the existence of Local Youth Strategies (where adopted). Most of the Local Self-Governments integrated Local Youth Councils as an advisory body within the municipalities.
The initiative for establishment of Local Youth Councils came as recommendation by the Government to the Local Self Governments in 2009. Despite the fact that 63 out of 81 municipalities have established Local Youth Councils, majority of them are inactive, without budget and power to influence the decision making processes on local level. It is expected that the Local Youth Councils will be more specifically regulated with the Law on Youth which is still under construction.
According to recently adopted Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies, the municipalities, the municipalities in the city of Skopje and the city of Skopje with a statute envisage the establishment of local youth councils.
Structured Dialogue is one of the most comprehensive and useful European practices for dialogue between young people and decision-makers on issues of their concern as well as for increasing the cooperation between young people and decision makers. In first half of 2018 National Youth Council of Macedonia held several consultation meetings with youth and representatives of youth organizations as part of the VI Cycle of Structured Dialog of the European Union. The main aim was to introduce and promote the process of structured dialogue as very efficient tool for dialogue between young people and decision-makers. Unfortunately, in Republic of North Macedonia there is still no national working group for Structured Dialogue and there is no public available information whether and in what extent the young people in North Macedonia use this mechanism.
Following the example of the European Parliament and other Western European parliaments, the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia has established a Club on Youth Affairs and Policies. The Club is an informal body in the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, composed of members of all parliamentary parties whose goal is to realize the interest of the youth in the Republic of North Macedonia, in cooperation with youth organizations, informal youth groups and youth wings of political parties.
The priorities set in the National Youth Strategy 2016-2025 comply with the priorities defined with the EU Youth Strategy – Investing and Empowering. The following priorities are included in the National Youth Strategy: youth participation, youth information, local youth work, education, employment and pre-employment support, culture, sports, health and quality of life. The selection is based on the priorities included in the previous strategy and complying with the EU Youth Strategy. Specific country programs are designed for employment and education.
Youth Unemployment is the highest priority at country level since according to the World Bank (2020) 37,74% of the young people in Republic of North Macedonia aged 15 – 24 are unemployed, which, according to the same source, is the smallest percentage in the last 20 years. On the other hand, according to State Statistical Office of Republic of North Macedonia, in the II quarter of 2020 the youth unemployment (aged 15-24) rate was 15.4 %.
When it comes to NEET people, according to Eurostat (2019), 24.5 % of young people aged 15-29 are NEET (young people neither in employment nor in education or training). For comparison, in 2018 the rate was 29,8%, and in 2019 we had the lowest rate in comparison with the previous 10 years. But, if we compare the rates with other European countries we will notice that we have the second highest rate in Europe, after Turkey.
Therefore, the main target group of the Youth Policy within employment area are the unemployed youth, NEET groups, youth with disabilities (Specific (Revised) Action Plan 2016 – 2020 for Youth Employment (Ревидиран Акциски план за вработување на млади 2016-2020 година) is operationalized in North Macedonia and includes specific measures for young people and various sub-groups).
The Youth Trends Research Report (Младински трендови во Република Македонија - Извештај)(2014) included the youth unemployment as priority issue in order to identify the opinion of young people on how to improve the current unemployment situation. Furthermore, the country cooperates with the International Labor Organization in developing youth employment policies. The ILO conducts regular surveys which are integrated into the youth employment actions plans.
Education is included as one of the highest themes on youth policy in the country. Two years ago, Ministry of Education and Science adopted the Strategy on Education 2018-2025 with Action Plan (more in the chapter for education).
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.UEM.1524.ZS?locations=MK (Accessed October 27, 2020)
 Active Population in the Republic of North Macedonia, Results from the Labor Force Survey, II quarter 2020 (State Statistical Office, Republic of North Macedonia, 2020), p.4, http://www.stat.gov.mk/pdf/2020/184.108.40.206_mk.pdf (Accessed October 27, 2020)
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/EDAT_LFSE_23__custom_130194/default/table?lang=en (Accessed October 27, 2020)
The Agency of Youth and Sport was established in 2000, after the Parliament adopted the decision to exclude the Ministry of Youth and Sport, which was the main institution for youth development.
The Agency of Youth and Sport (www.ams.gov.mk) is the main public authority at national level in charge of youth. It is governmental body with its own budget and responsibilities. Although it is not a ministry, it is an independent structure that is not under any other particular governmental ministry and responds directly to the Prime Minister. The Agency of Youth and Sport has three departments: The Department for Sport, the Department for Normative, Legal and Economic Issues, and the Department for Youth. Main tasks of the Youth Department are social development and social integration of youth via quality formal and non-formal education, economic prosperity of the youth via youth entrepreneurship, improving of quality of life, active participation of the youth in public life and in decision making processes on local and national level. Youth Department is divided into two sub-Departments-International cooperation and Youth policy and training.
Policy monitoring and evaluation
In 2016, a monitoring plan was prepared for monitoring the activities of the Action Plans for the implementation of the National Youth Strategy (2016-2025). According to official information, the monitoring plan is supposed to be implemented by AYS with support of OSCE Mission to Skopje, as well as with participation of members of relevant institution and civil society organization.
Currently there are no publicly available documents on the conducted monitoring.