Politics

How will the North Macedonia start the negotiations with the EU, when the poverty and discrimination of the Roma community is still visible?

The inclusion of the Roma in the overall society is a really important indicator of how North Macedonia, as a country negotiating for EU entry, is successful in uniting diversity.

Over the past years, much has been done across Europe to protect Roma culture, language and respect for Roma fundamental rights. However, the poverty, discrimination and exclusion that have historically affected the Roma are still visible across countries in Europe, in the European Union and beyond, including negotiating countries.

North Macedonia must know that the EU recognizes many difficulties and discrimination in terms of the economic life faced by the Roma in the country.

The EU requires all countries to prepare strategies, national actions and action plans for the inclusion of Roma, including North Macedonia.

In view of the situation in North Macedonia, the EU provides significant support for the Roma inclusion strategy adopted by the Government in 2022, and that document should not only be on paper, but it should be ensured that this strategy is applied in practice.

And all that requires political will, coordination and partnership. And we are witnesses that the Roma community, instead of rising, is sinking more and more into apathy, poverty, hopelessness.

The state somehow puts all the priorities of the Roma community "in the background". It is very important that the Roma community in recent years, except as a "voting machine", has no political influence either in the Legislature or in the Executive. What can an MP from the Roma community "revolutionarily" change in the Parliament?

In the Executive Power, it is even more tragic. Not a single ministerial or deputy ministerial position for the Roma. The kind just for "smearing the eyes" without any political decision-making power, as an advisor in Kovacevski's Cabinet and National Coordinator.

The government should get much more serious about solving and implementing the Strategy for the Roma if it is a "black spot" in the negotiations for joining the EU?

The strategy for the Roma was adopted two years ago, but the National Action Plans are still waiting for the "amen" and have not yet been adopted. We wonder when the 2024 Budget will be adopted at the Parliament session, where and how much is planned for the implementation of the NAPs. When they are adopted to know how much Budget is needed. And September has already passed. After all, it seems that in 2024, a separate Budget for the NAP will be the work again

Part One... To be continued

German government approves dual citizenship law, immigrants will be entitled to German citizenship after five years of residence

German Interior Minister Nancy Fesser said at a press conference that the proposed law would simplify the naturalization process and allow for dual or multiple citizenships for immigrants.

Under the proposed law, immigrants would be entitled to German citizenship after five years of residence in the country, instead of the previous eight years.

For foreigners who have demonstrated exceptional academic or professional achievements and speak the language well, this period will be reduced to three years.

The law would allow immigrants to hold dual or multiple citizenships, which is currently not possible for most of them.

Children of foreign parents born in Germany will be able to obtain German citizenship if at least one parent has lived legally in the country for at least five years. These children will be able to keep the citizenship of their parents.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly stated that speeding up the naturalization process, allowing multiple citizenships for immigrants, will improve integration, social and political participation.

The proposed law needs to be approved by parliament and is expected to be debated in the Bundestag after the summer recess.

Kosovo Roma Gazmen Salijevic, dismissed from the post of Deputy Minister of Communities and Returns by Prime Minister Albin Kurti

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti fired Gazmen Salijevic, the Deputy Minister of Communities and Returns. Why? Salijevic, who represented Roma from regions with a Serbian majority. Prime Minister Kurti was considered pro-Serbian. However, the situation becomes absurd when his replacement is a Serb favorite of Kurti, making Salijevic appear more "pro-Serbian" than the Serb who succeeded him.

Meanwhile, high-level negotiations on the role of Serbs in Kosovo's institutions are led by the EU and the US. But who defends the interests of Roma and their representatives like Gazmen in these discussions? Did the Serbs and Serbia reciprocate the loyalty shown by Kosovo's pro-Serbian Roma? Did the Albanians and Kosovo recognize the contributions and loyalty of their pro-Albanian Roma alliance

These circumstances highlight a critical issue: the Roma in Kosovo are torn between the Serbs and the Albanians. So who or what can unite Kosovo's Roma towards a distinctly pro-Roma agenda - one that is for their interests and their future.

A few days ago, Gazmen Salijevic announced on his FB profile: "Dear friends, I would like to inform you that today I have been dismissed from the position of Deputy Minister of Communities and Return." I will not say much about the government and the people who lead it, except that they have never shown any real interest in solving the Roma problem. Roma living in most Serbian municipalities are never seen as citizens of this society. but this should not break us, but strengthen us in the fight for the rights and interests of the Roma."

The European Parliament approved visa liberalization with Kosovo

Citizens of Kosovo should be able to enter the European Union without a visa in the future. Such plans received support from the European Parliament today (April 18).

The approval of the visa-free regime by the MEPs is an important step on the way to closer cooperation between Pristina and the EU, said MEP Theis Rutten, who led the European Parliament team in the negotiations on the new rules for entry into the Union.

According to the plans, by the end of next year at the latest, Kosovars should be able to stay in EU member states twice a year for 90 days without a visa. The same rule applies to EU citizens who want to travel to Kosovo.

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached an agreement in principle on this issue back in December, and the EP has now given its formal consent. Kosovo is the only one of the six countries from the Western Balkans that still does not benefit from a visa-free regime with the EU.

In December, the government of Kosovo officially submitted a request to join the EU. The accession process is likely to be long and complicated. EU members Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia, as well as Serbia, refuse to recognize Kosovo's independence. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but is still considered a breakaway territory by Belgrade.

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