North Macedonia

Switzerland’s transition assistance in North Macedonia is based on shared interests in achieving socio-economic development, stability, security and Euro-Atlantic integration. Significant progress has been made since the Republic of North Macedonia gained independence in 1991, but the country still lags behind in some areas of reform, such as decentralisation, rule of law, economic development and public services.

Map of Macedonia
Map of North Macedonia © FDFA

The Republic of North Macedonia is a multi-ethnic state with an estimated population of approximately two million people. Following an early transition to a market economy, North Macedonia achieved visible progress in economic and social development. The country rapidly became a front-runner among the Western Balkan states for Euro-Atlantic integration, but still needs to implement reforms to strengthen democratic governance, to support inclusive economic development and to address critical environment issues.

Democratic governance

In the area of democratic governance, the Swiss Cooperation Programme in North Macedonia seeks to build the democratic capacity of executive and legislative institutions and empower civil society. Switzerland’s support is helping central and local authorities to become more accountable, transparent, and inclusive. Switzerland remains dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in a local and regional decision-making.

State and Economic Reforms

Sustainable economic development

Switzerland’s support in the economic sector aims to improve employment prospects and create sustainable economic growth. It helps job seekers to access the labour market through vocational education and training programmes that are geared to the needs of the market. At the same time, it promotes private sector development, particularly start-ups, in order to create better access to new markets and higher revenue value chains.  Switzerland is also actively involved in efforts to improve employment conditions by encouraging employers to offer decent and inclusive job opportunities.

Private Sector Development and Financial Services

Environment and sustainable public utility services

The country’s natural resources and wealth of biodiversity are considered a major factor in its development. By providing technical assistance and catalytic investment in digital transformation and climate-resilient, low-carbon infrastructure and equipment, Switzerland enables selected municipalities and their public utilities to provide high quality, reliable, efficient public utility services for citizens.

Sustainable public utilities, improved natural resources management and enhanced community resilience to natural disasters will increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of urban and rural areas, and contribute to steady economic growth and enhanced quality of life. 

Water – A Vital Resource Under Threat

Approach and partners

The 2021–24 cooperation programme is implemented jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Switzerland’s cooperation is grounded in formal agreements with the government. It takes part in multi-donor programmes and issues contracts to Macedonian, Swiss and international civil society organisations, consultancies and private sector entities. Particular effort is placed on strengthening country systems and building partnerships with new change actors, e.g. through private sector engagement and funding.

Switzerland’s main partners in North Macedonia:

  • Ministries and local governments
  • National and local parliaments, parliamentary administration
  • Civil society organisations, e.g. the media
  • Private sector
  • Local and international NGOs
  • Bilateral and multilateral donors and organisations, e.g. UNDP and UN Women

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 22

Strengthening regional cooperation on migration in the Western Balkans

01.06.2025 - 31.12.2027

In light of diversifying migration patterns and challenges with increasing regional dimensions, the migration policy priorities of Western Balkan governments are changing and the relevance of regional dialogue, coordination and cooperation is growing. This proposal seeks to promote coherent and effective regional governance of migration in all its multifaceted dimensions contributing to greater social cohesion and regional integration in the Western Balkans.


Planned project

Parliament Support Programme (PSP) in Macedonia

01.09.2023 - 31.12.2029

The Assembly (national parliament) will be supported in order to more effectively safeguard citizen interest and engage in consensus-oriented and inclusive debate. Over the past years the executive has built a dominant role vis-a-vis parliament resulting in ineffective oversight, limited debate on legislation, and little interaction with civil society. With the change of government in April 2017, a new momentum to address these topics has formed. Switzerland can offer its 10+ years record in supporting the Assembly.


Planned project

Support to Electoral Reforms in Macedonia

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2029

Election related institutions are strengthened to conduct election processes free of violence and intimidation. In addition, political parties are supported to apply a more citizen centred approach in developing their election programmes. Ultimately, better informed citizens are empowered to demand accountability from elected officials which increases legitimacy of the state institutions, thus they become more open and citizen oriented in the creation of policies.


Planned project

Creating Job Opportunities for All in Macedonia

01.11.2022 - 31.12.2028

This project will facilitate employment for vulnerable groups, by introducing appropriate active labour market measures, improving the capacities of responsible stakeholders to coordinate employment measures, and sensitizing and incentivising the private sector. lt contributes to ease the risk of vulnerable groups to fall into poverty, and enhances their social inclusion. Roma and people with disabilities are the main target group as they are disproportionally affected by high unemployment in Macedonia.


Intelligence Sector Reform Programme

01.04.2021 - 31.03.2026

The aim is to build the capacity of members of intelligence services, as well as relevant oversight and control bodies to ensure that surveillance measures by intelligence services in Macedonia are conducted in accordance with international standards of accountability and respect for human rights. To achieve this, the project will train and provide expertise to members of intelligence services, relevant parliamentary oversight committees and the judiciary, and will support the review and redrafting of relevant laws and regulations.


Increasing Market Employability

01.08.2019 - 31.12.2023

North Macedonia’s economy is characterised by one of the highest unemployment rate in Europe (21%, for youth 46%) and a high share of people in relative poverty (22%). The Increasing Market Employability programme aims to address these issues by creating jobs and increasing income. It contributes to improvement of the quality of products and services, expansion of markets, and creation of an enabling environment in the Sustainable Agribusiness, Adventure Tourism, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors.


Housing solutions for displaced persons

Apartment building in Serbia

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022

As a consequence of the war in the 1990s, over three million people were displaced both within and beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Twenty-five years after the Dayton Accords, the Western Balkans are still host to almost half a million vulnerable persons displaced by conflict in the former Yugoslavia. The Regional Housing Programme (RHP) aims to provide durable housing solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons in need.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Western Balkans
Migration
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022


CHF  1’555’000



Civil Society Support Facility – up scaling

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

The Civil Society Support Facility supports civil society organisations (CSOs) to become drivers of social change in Macedonia. CSOs will receive mentoring support to strengthen relations with their constituencies and build up alliances. Mechanisms for better cooperation between state institutions and CSOs will be established and will enable civil society’s active participation in public policy and decision-making. A competitive grant scheme supports CSOs institutional development as well as specific projects.


Towards Transparent, Inclusive and Accountable Governance in the Republic of Macedonia

15.07.2018 - 30.06.2022

The project aims at increasing gender equality in Macedonia and the quality of life for women and vulnerable groups by 1) systematically integrating a gender perspective in public policies and budgets which leads to the allocation of more funds for greater gender equality in strategies and policies; 2) empowering women and vulnerable groups to advocate for their needs in municipal planning and budgeting; and 3) supporting CSOs and Members of Parliament in overseeing the implementation of gender responsive policies and initiatives.


Parliament Support Programme (PSP)

01.11.2017 - 31.08.2023

Switzerland supports the Assembly of North Macedonia to become an effective, transparent and independent institution by supporting the Parliament’s institutional development, its oversight and legislative capacities and its transparency and accountability towards citizens, including marginalized groups. This includes changes to the regulatory framework, the promotion of a political culture of consensus building, capacity building for MPs, parliament staff and CSOs and improved electronic architecture for effective and transparent communication.


Creating Job Opportunities for All in Macedonia

01.07.2017 - 31.10.2022

This project will facilitate employment for vulnerable groups, by introducing appropriate active labour market measures, improving the capacities of responsible stakeholders to coordinate employment measures, and sensitizing and incentivising the private sector. lt contributes to ease the risk of vulnerable groups to fall into poverty, and enhances their social inclusion. Roma and people with disabilities are the main target group as they are disproportionally affected by high unemployment in Macedonia.


Vocational Skills Development in Macedonia

01.09.2016 - 28.02.2022

Macedonia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (25%), especially among youth (48%). One of the key factors for youth unemployment is that the education and training system does not provide skills needed by the economy. The Vocational Skills Development project aims to address youth unemployment through supporting market relevant skills development by strengthening the engagement of the private sector (e.g. through systematised internships), thus increasing the employability of vocational training graduates.

Object 1 – 12 of 22