“For the first time as a Government we are working on building a bridge with the diaspora. We are supposed to build it together” – said  Edmond Ademi, Minister without portfolio in charge of the diaspora, at the thematic forum “Challenges, perspectives and potentials of migration” organized by Civica Mobilitas, held on July 5, 2017 in Cifte Amam in Skopje. The participants developed a wide discussion on issues related to migration from Macedonia, the benefits from them and creating opportunities for cooperation with the expatriates.

According to Minister Ademi, Macedonia has not yet developed a clear strategy for cooperation with the diaspora. “The new government decided to raise the level of relations with the diaspora. I think that it is a mission impossible to stop the migration process. The important thing is to identify the people. Mapping the diaspora is one of the key starting points to get a clear picture of what we have,” – he said. The diaspora is one of the key pillars for the development of the state. The question is how much it will be used systematically. As a minister, I work on a roadmap which will be the basis for the state’s cooperation with the diaspora, founded on four key pillars: political, economic, cultural and educational.

By autumn, this document will be ready, so that we can see the starting positions and begin to build relations with the diaspora on sound grounds,” added Minister Ademi.

“We can not throw the entire burden on the state,” said Zlatko Nikoloski, president of the association “New Contact”, noting that the civil sector must participate in this process. “In my polls, I stated that the civil sector is at a lower level in communicating with the diaspora. The form of diaspora organization is not yet in the required level. The communication between civil associations from the country and those of the diaspora is missing. I hope that the state will help in this field, ” said Nikolovski.

Kalina Grivcheva-Stardelova, president of the Doctor’s chamber of Macedonia, addressed the great problem that Macedonia has with the expulsion of the medical staff. According to the data of the Doctor’s chamber of Macedonia, 866 physicians left Macedonia in the period from 2012 to 2016. “Doctors go from Macedonia, and nobody comes to Macedonia. Unfortunately, the ones that are left here are less and less,” said Grivcheva-Stardelova.

Metodija Stojcevski, president of the Youth Alliance of Krushevo, spoke about the problems that young people face, which make them move out of Macedonia. According to him, by staying unemployed, young people become marginalized and feel suppressed by society. “Let’s encourage young people to self-organize themselves in the decision-making process,” he said.

“We emigrants see how people are being offered to help Macedonia. Both with their capabilities and with the contacts, ” said Emilija Todorova, representative of the Forum for Democratic Macedonia, a community of emigrants from the Republic of Macedonia and their descendants from all over the world. “There is less talk in the world about brain drain. There is much more talk about brain circulation. But, unfortunately, there is still a brain drain going on in Macedonia “, she stated. According to Todorova, the laws in Macedonia are very rigid and therefore the preparation of a diaspora law should be considered.

Metodija Koloski, president of the United Macedonian Diaspora spoke about the need for passing a diaspora law. “After scanning the diaspora and passing a diaspora law, we expect to create kind of a broad ministry for the diaspora. The Macedonian diaspora can help in all parts of society, ” said the last columnist Koloski.

The panelists’ comments were just an introduction to the discussion involving other participants, with their own opinions and suggestions.

The forum was opened by HE Sybille Suter Tejada, Swiss Ambassador in Macedonia, and for the purpose and the concept of the Forum, spoke Daniela Stojanova from MCIC, coordinator of the program Civica Mobilitas.

The Forum continued with a workshop titled “Together for Action: Migration Potential for Macedonia”.