Skopje and Pristina signed a mutual recognition agreement benefitting citizens from each country that worked in the other.
By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 20/02/13
Kosovar Muesli Kasuli works as a baker in Ohrid, Macedonia. [Miki Trajkovski/SETimes]
Officials in Macedonia and Kosovo are confident that a new agreement that allows their citizens to collect retirement compensation for work done across the border will be important to residents of both countries.
The agreement signed in February covers Macedonia citizens who worked in Kosovo and Kosovo residents who worked in Macedonia when the two countries were part of the former Yugoslavia, which ended December 1998. A separate agreement will be signed that covers January 1999 and onward.
Up to now, Kosovo and Macedonia citizens that worked in one or the other country received no retirement compensation for their work in the other country.
"We've been negotiating [the agreement] for three and a half years, and made an important step in recognising the right to pension and disability insurance [of foreign workers]," Spiro Ristovski, Macedonia labour minister, said.
"Soon we'll ratify the agreement and be able to receive applications from the citizens who, on the basis of the agreement with Macedonia, can have receive their right to a pension," said Nenad Rashikj, Kosovo minister of labour.
Bekim Neziri, director of the pension fund and disability insurance in Macedonia, told SETimes the two parliaments should ratify the agreement by April.
"Some 1,500 retirees from Macedonia who worked in Kosovo will have the right of pension. Around 1,000 citizens in Kosovo will benefit from this agreement. Macedonia is the first country with which Kosovo has made such a pension insurance agreement," Neziri said.
Remzi Tushi, 69, from Struga, Macedonia, worked as a teacher in Kosovo in the 1970s. Because his working years were not recognised in Kosovo, he has not received a pension for his working years in Macedonia. He said this agreement will change his life.
"With this agreement I'll get my right to a pension, because I'll fulfill the legal retirement provisions, a minimum of 15 working years," Tushi told SETimes.
Musli Kasuli, 65, from Prizren, Kosovo, worked for 15 years in Ohrid as a baker.
"This is the biggest success of the governments of Kosovo and Macedonia, when it comes to the working years in both countries. In all Macedonian cities, now and before, there are many from Kosovo, who work mostly as bakers and construction workers. I am here for 15 years. With this agreement I can return to Kosovo and have a pension," Kasuli told SETimes.