Musa Xhaferi, Deputy Prime Minister: It is unlawful for employees by the Ohrid Framework Agreement to sit at home and receive a salary
It is high time to deploy staff according to the Framework Agreement sitting at home. This is not good for the country and is illegal, says Deputy Prime Minister Musa Xhaferi, who announced deployment of about 1200
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Macedonia marks 13 years since signing the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which was supposed to bring peace to the country when a conflict threatened to escalate into civil war. On this topic in the weekly interview of “Inbox 7” we talked to Mr. Musa Xhaferi from the Secretariat for Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement
Mr. Xhaferi, can you give us assessment of how the Ohrid Framework Agreement is carried out 13 years after its signing?
– There are various grumblings and there is an opportunity to debate the pace of implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. We and those who are critical of the content of the Framework Agreement are aware that there is progress. The historical value of the Agreement is that the moment we signed it, it saved the country from decay, and it is original compared with other peace agreements because it does not accept the principle of decision on the basis of territorial division, but to promote Macedonia as a democratic country. Through the Framework Agreement and the changes to the Constitution that majorization and ethnocentrism are lost in the country which was governed like that by the old Constitution where there was majorization for other ethnic communities and the mechanism is added to the Constitution for positive discrimination and equitable representation at all levels of institutions and other communities. The conflict was with the Albanian community, and smaller communities profited by it. The Republic of Macedonia needed to decentralize towards the European concept in order to give more power to the local level. We managed, through such constitutional reform, the local government to get the content in areas such as education and culture and to obtain good results. Although mathematically, equal representation has not been achieved.
In terms of employment, how much remains to meet the percentages of ethnic representation as laid down in the Framework Agreement?
– As for the civil service, there are satisfactory results, but it is a small number of about 12,000 to 13,000 civil servants. As for the public administration, which covers other areas such as education, health, the figure varies depending on the towns. Perhaps the percentage is not satisfactory. In the first years bigger steps were made when in 2002-2003 Albanian police officers were deployed in the police and were to patrol in mixed municipalities in order to regain confidence in institutions. Great steps were made in this area, as well as in the army.
When are framework employments to be completed?
– We should be careful with the positive discrimination. That dynamic is periodically changed. Sometimes we will need to hire new Macedonian staff and immediately the percentage changes. That balance is approximately required. Otherwise, we cannot monitor the state every day by percentage.
Do you have any estimate how long it will take to meet the percentages?
– It depends on the budget capacities. If institutions want, in two years they can take a stand not to be accepted by the communities that are over-represented in percentage more than they should be and then we can get that balance. For example, the Macedonian community, by all sources, is still oversized, compared to the statistics. If it is statistically represented as population with 64-65, in the institutions it is certainly represented somewhere with 68-70 percent. It is a bit sensitive if you approach with such a policy that someone should leave an institution to get fair representation. Or if Macedonia is to make layoffs like other countries to save, then we will still encounter the problem of proportional representation. The question is whether at this point to have reductions only within Macedonians or all communities. In my opinion, if in security institutions and judiciary we achieve equitable representation, the picture will change. But there are other institutional issues. For example, in the judiciary and the prosecution we employ only the personnel who have completed the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors, and no other profiles that qualify. And here we need to find a solution because it takes time for Albanian staff to graduate from the Academy and get employed in the judiciary.
Do you have an assessment which institutions the Framework has been best implemented in and where it was less?
– We should be open. A different effort and dynamics have been put where Albanians manage, and it is easier to achieve better results. It depends on the policy of the party. Unfortunately, a perception is created that Albanians are those who make an effort to implement the Framework Agreement because they have a direct interest of voters and the other party which is against, which if realizes this as a priority, will lose the electorate. Here we also have a daily policy which is still acceptable in a democracy.
Over the years there has been criticism that people are artificially employed under the Framework Agreement from various ethnic communities, on the other hand there are people who sit at home and take public salary. Will there further be employments even at a price of increasing the number of people who will not be deployed?
– It is about a lack of capacity and unwillingness of institutions to employ these people on time. Unfortunately, we have such a slowdown. We have such a figure that quickly after employing through job advertisements they cannot be deployed. Our opinion in the government is that it is high time to deploy these people, some training to be carried out that will test their abilities. Someone may not like it as a job position, so will quit voluntarily. But not to systematize these people for that long, it is not good for the country.
What number is it about?
– We employed in the second half of 2013 and now. Now we have 600-700 new employees, and if there is the same number that I am not sure of, there may be a maximum of 1100 to 1200 people who have not been deployed.
Have you given a specific deadline for deployment of these people?
– We have deployed staff that is still recorded in the budget. Their salaries are from the Secretariat, but they are deployed in other institutions. And now we hope to redeploy them while drawing up the new budget. Then we will have a clearer picture of how many remained in the Secretariat. I think we can deploy them by February, March next year. We will take the opportunity with the new budget and deploy them institutionally.
Is it a guarantee that the employees under the Framework Agreement will not sit at home anymore?
– We have to deploy them, it is our obligation. First it is illegal. There is no other comment here.
Do you constantly update the lists of these people?
-Yes, we do.
How do you respond to criticism that other communities are majorized with the implementation of the Framework Agreement as there was criticism from the Turks and the Roma that they are seen as second-class citizens compared to Macedonians and Albanians?
-I had an opinion that the Secretariat should treat all communities. I do not know why smaller communities have accepted to have an Agency special for those who are below 20 percent. They have made a different approach maybe because they are in a pre-election coalition with VMRO-DPMNE, and thus manage the smaller communities. We do not feel as a Secretariat responsible for the smaller communities because thus they are divided.
The Ohrid Framework Agreement was primarily signed to bring peace to the country, but the experience has shown that even the slightest incident gets ethnic overtones. Why is it so?
– There have been many arguments that political parties and non-government organizations profit by it. It is irresponsibility through public statements. For example, when VMRO-DPMNE was an opposition, it used this very directly. I think that Macedonian parties should be bolder and say that this short-term policy should stop. We need to have other projects, visions, programs, and not through conflict to prove who is braver and who will have more benefits from the government. I think major parties need to move in that direction.