The Roma minority in Macedonia after the independence was part of the public political life through  the political parties and the Non- governmental organizations (NGOs). However, the policies for  Roma were more visible and effectively implemented through the civil society, than the political  parties. In addition, the policies were mainly funded by external funders meaning, international or ganizations, foundations, private donors. Furthermore, 2004-2005 was the period when Macedonia  more actively was negotiating with the European Commission (The Commission) to be part of the  European Union (EU). Consequently, the improvement of the situation of Roma has become one of  the requirements for Macedonia as a candidate country following the EU Conditionality for respect ing the human rights (Chapter 23). Hence, as part of the EU enlargement process, the cooperation  between the Roma political parties (being part of the Government) and the Roma civil society began  to be more visible.  

In January 2005, the Macedonian Government adopted the National Strategy for Roma (NSR) as well  as developed the National Acton Plans (NAPs) consisting the four policy areas: employment, hous ing, health, and education. At the same time, the Decade for Roma and the NSR were the two policy  documents specifically oriented towards the Roma minority in Macedonia. Within the Ministry of  Labor and Social Policy (MLSP) in 2008 was set up the Department for Implementation of the NSR and  the Decade for Roma. This department was coordinated by the Minister without portfolio, the Nation al Coordinator of the Decade and the NSR in cooperation with the MLSP. Later the cooperation was  continued with the Secretariat for European Affairs (SEA) and the EU Delegation in Macedonia.  

The goal of this document is helping and providing clear guidelines to the relevant institutions that  are designing and implementing different policies, action plans and programs for Roma. However,  for improving the implementation of the National Roma Strategy, it is needed strong political com mitment and clear coordination by all relevant stakeholders. Therefore, the document provides poli cy options for different issues that need to be tackled.

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