The visa liberalization for Macedonia in 2009 not only brought wide benefits but also negative criticism for the country and its citizens. On the one hand, one of the benefits is that Macedonian citizens could freely travel to EU. While, on the other hand – critics, mainly EU member states, saw an increased inflow of asylum seekers from Macedonia. Almost three years after the visa liberalization, Macedonia is facing severe criticism by international NGOs for "controlling" Roma to leave the country, as well as returning to the visa regime. The majoritarian Macedonians and the Europeans often put the blame on Roma for the negative image in front of EU, without seeing the roots of the causes for asylum as well as the benefits of integration that may arise, in the long run.
In this regard, this analysis aims to present the reasons for asylum from an economic perspective, as well as to analyze the cost and benefits of those European countries that are the recipients of the asylum seekers. In addition, this analysis interprets the “asylum issue” beyond the existing framework and provides arguments for promoting Western countries investment in the Balkans, in order not to repeat the same scenario as in the case of Bulgaria and Romania EU membership, which produced massive migration in Central-Western European states.
The global economic crisis that hit Europe in 2008 worsen the prospective for employment of minorities in the labor market across South East Europe (Bartlett & Uvalic, 2013). The expansion of the crisis change the behavior of all stakeholders - governments began to intervene in the banking system, global consumption declined, while the private sector began to fire workers. The lessons learned from the economic crisis in the past teach us that poverty, unemployment and the hostility among people increase. In this context, the labor market is the main target of the private sector, which provides interventions such as reducing wages and layoffs usually directed to specific ethnic, gender, age or religious group.
There is no doubt that discrimination of Roma exist in the education and labor market, which in large part can explain the employment gap between Roma and Non – Roma in Central and Eastern Europe. Few studies, (Kahanec, Messing, Fabo, & Brozovicova, 2012), (Kezdi & Kertesi, 2010), (O'Higgins, 2012) decompose the employment gap and conclude that discrimination has significant impact on the explanation of unemployment level among Roma. Even though, these studies confirm that the discrimination in the labor market occur, in many cases is difficult to determine and hence react in cases where it appears. Nevertheless, these attempts to establish a link between the discrimination and unemployment provide little information of the channels of discrimination in the labor market.
Therefore the primary focus of this paper is to demonstrate the patterns of discrimination in the labor market in Macedonia from an economic point of view. Particularly, through the economic models of discrimination I argue that Roma are unequally treated in the labor market, both in the private and public sector.
"We do not see the importance of Roma women in political life"
Amdi Bajram, Roma member of Parliament and political leader
The above statement of a Roma politician and leader tells enough about the attitude and the treatment towards Romani women by Roma political parties. In the past twenty years, Romani women have made a significant contribution to the development and organization of Roma political parties and civil society. However it is dominant the impression that Romani women still do not receive rightful place in Roma political parties. Key factors for this situation are the political culture of the Roma leaders, legislation, the persistence of the women as well as the traditional position of Romani women.
- Legislation – The legislation requires all political parties to include at least 30% women on candidate lists. Law on Election of Deputies (2002), the Local Government Act (2004) included a target of 30% participation of both sexes on the candidate list forthe election of MPsand councilors. Electoral Code is quite clear "... in every three places at least one should be of the less represented gender.” Although political parties have completed with this statutory provision, still the number of women elected in the Parliament is still only 30.9%, which means meets the smallest quota. Until now, we have had only one Romani woman (Gjulistana Jumerovska-Markovska) as a representative in the Parliament. From all political Roma holders only 2 councilors are Romani women.
The relationship between money and politics is inevitable, widespread and probably endless. In this regard, such a relationship is logical given the fact that political parties need money to participate in politics and maintain cohesion among the party members. The position of holding the power in the society that is given to the political parties, demands also a certain extent of responsibility and accountability towards its constituency (Carey & Reynolds, 2007). Therefore, the way in which political finances affect the relationship of political parties, and their members, constituents and the general public is essential for the quality of democracy functioning (Burnell, 1998). As such, political finances sustain and enhance the political debate and stimulate the internal democracy within the party.
In this context, the political parties in Macedonia follow the well-known pattern between money and politics - access to political power facilitates access to money, and access to money buys political influence. Frequently, governing parties use the administrative resources—state powers and funds in “rewarding allies” and “punishing opponents”. Until now, the political battle in Macedonia is between the two biggest Macedonian and Albanian parties. The other small parties (including the Roma ones) are the “outside players”, usually joining the coalition government. It follows that the small political parties are just illustrative marionettes of the bigger parties, even though they can be a game changer during the elections (local or presidential). Although the small political parties manifest monopolistic power within the party (all the power is in the arms of the leader) they do not know to use their power or are limited in practicing it within the coalition government.
Regarding the role and responsibility of the Roma parties in the current coalition government in Macedonia, this analysis indicates the imbalance between the exercises of their political power given the financial opportunities. In other words, this means that Roma political parties take the legitimacy from the Roma electorate while the roles and responsibilities are delegated by the coalition parties in the government. Hence, it appears that the "greater responsibility" of Roma political parties and the weak financial power results in reduced credibility in the Roma community. In the case of the Roma political parties, promises are determined by the major coalition partners and serve their interests. These developments point out that Roma political parties have post – election agreements for sharing the financial "cake” after the election. However, typically the position of political parties is determined from the costs-benefit logic, calculation the future benefits (power, authority, positions in public administration, public policies) with their costs (administration, political campaigns)
Therefore, in this analysis we argue that party financing has a crucial role in the internal democratization of the Roma political parties and contributes to better practice of their power in the coalition government. Furthermore, this analysis provides an analytical framework through which party finance can be analyzed and propose strategies for financing the Roma political parties.