Several progress reports by the European Commission indicate a need to further develop social dialogue among main stakeholders in the economy. In this direction, the International Labour Organization assists the country in its endeavors to advance the social dialogue as an essential element of the European Social Model, which promotes competitiveness, sharing of gains and enhancing economic prosperity and social well-being. This assistance is channeled through the project Strengthening Social Dialogue, funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Labour Organization.

The overall objective of the Strengthening Social Dialogue Project is to improve the social dialogue as a means to create more and better jobs. The project consists of three specific components, namely:

Specific objective 1 Enhanced participation of the ESC in shaping the national economic and social reform agenda
Specific objective 2 Enhanced participation of local ESCs in formulation and implementation of local employment policies
Specific objective 3 Increased effectiveness of Trade Unions and Employers’ Organizations


The Republic of North Macedonia faces complex labour market challenges, particularly in relation to the low labour force participation of young people (32.8 per cent; 23.4 per cent for young women), combined with high unemployment rate among youth (46.7 per cent; 48.6 per cent for young women).

In 2017, the employment rate in North Macedonia was at 50.5 per cent, the highest rate recorded since 2006, but still far behind the EU average (71 per cent) or the target of 75 per cent as defined in the Europe 2020 strategy (the current EU agenda for growth and jobs). Men are more likely to be employed (60.5 per cent) compared to women (40.3 per cent).

One of the approaches that may help identify solutions to the specific challenges of the labour market in North Macedonia is Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs), which were also used in the European Union in the late 1990s and early 2000s and most recently in the Western Balkans.

LEPs work with people and organizations (including the private sector) at the local level to identify adequate solutions to local labour market challenges. In North Macedonia, the Local Economic and Social Councils (LESCs) serve as platforms to negotiate these partnerships and to implement them. As a result of a comprehensive evaluation and selection process, based on Expression of Interest, six municipalities with functional LESCs have been selected for the second phase of LEP development, namely BITOLA, KUMANOVO, SKOPJE, STRUMICA, TETOVO AND VELES.

Please find further details on the following link: Activity 2.3.3 – Call for Expression of Interest – local support to LEPs_EN