“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,”  Minister Ademi added.

“We can not throw the entire burden on the state,”  Zlatko Nikoloski, president of the association “New Contact”, said, 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, ”  Nikolovski said.

Kalina Grivceva-Stardelova, President of Doctor’s Chamber of Macedonia, referred to the big problem of Macedonia regarding the migration of medical staff. According to the data of the Doctor’s Chamber of Macedonia, 866 doctors left Macedonia in the period from 2012 to 2016. “Doctors leave Macedonia, and no one comes to Macedonia. Unfortunately, they stay here even less and less”, Grivceva-Stardelova stated.

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, the emigrants, see ourselves as people who offer help to Macedonia. Both by skills and contacts”, Emilija Todorova, representative of  Forum for Democratic Macedonia, community of emigrants from the Republic of Macedonia and their descendants from all around the world, said. “In the world, they talk less and less about the brain drain. They talk more about circulation of brains. But, unfortunately, in Macedonia, the brain drain still happens”, she concluded. According to Todorova, the laws in Macedonia are very rigid and that is why we should think about preparation of a law on diaspora.

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 an extended ministry for the diaspora. The Macedonian diaspora can help in all parts of society, ” Koloski, the last panelist, said.

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

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

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