Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
Update No: 089 (30/09/04)
ECMP report condemns clandestine ethnic discrimination
Macedonia's main domestic problem remains relations between the ethnic
Albanians and the Macedonians themselves.
The working Group for Minority Issues that operates under the aegis of the ECMP
(European Centre for Minority Issues) NGO network for improvement in Macedonia,
presented the latest Alternative Report on the Status of National Minorities in
the Republic of Macedonia. According to ECMP, the report really reflects the
situation of the national minorities in the country.
"There is no open and direct discrimination of the minority communities in
Macedonia, neither by the state or by the citizens. The discrimination is,
however, clandestine and indirect," claimed the alternative report.
The discrimination exists, states the report prepared between November 2003 and
March 2004 by members of six greatest ethnic minority groups, within the
political system, the schools, courts, police and in the employment policies.
"The children from the minorities usually sit in the last rows in the
classrooms; members of minority groups are duly eliminated when applying for a
job, without an explanation, as lower quality candidates; there are complaints
that they don't receive the same treatment in the courts and local
administration as the members of the majority. All the examples were provided by
civic associations which work directly with victims of this indirect
discrimination," stated the report.
The summary of the report also said that the economic turmoil of the past decade
has hit hardest on the minorities and that the transition has resulted in
increased poverty within small communities (Roma, the Turks). Furthermore, the
report stated that there are no new jobs and that unemployment rates are much
higher with the minority groups.
"Minority communities in Macedonia still face problems when seeking
citizenship, due to the fact that the whole procedure is too bureaucratic and
inefficient. Although the new Law on Citizenship reduces the obligation period
of residence from 15 to 8 years, the treatment of the minorities by the Ministry
of the Interior is often discriminatory, directed mostly at Albanians and other
members of the minorities with Islamic names," state the report.
The report mentions the education system, which is considered, for quite a
while, as one of the pillars of the existing segregation between the ethnic
Albanians and the Macedonians. "The segregation primarily results from the
wish to have education in one's own language, and the component of mutual
communication and understanding of different values is completely omitted. The
children are bombarded with negative stereotypes and prejudice which they can't
authenticate or prove," said the text.
The report concluded that the Framework Agreement directly discriminates the
smaller ethnic communities by its provisions guaranteeing the rights of only
those minority communities that make over 20 per cent of the population at a
The report was sent to the Secretariat for the European Framework Convention for
Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe, and to the relevant
FYROM denies Kosovo deal
Macedonia on September 14th rejected recent speculations about a possible
deal over the contested section of the border towards the internationally
administrated Kosovo. "The government has no knowledge of such an
activity", Macedonian government spokesman Saso Colakovski said. Macedonian
opposition and media stormed the government with criticism recently, after
reports on an alleged deal on the fragile border issue between the United
Nations administration in Kosovo and Skopje authorities.
The reports accused the government of passing several Albanian-owned farms to
Kosovo in return for the swift conclusion of the delicate demarcation of the
border. The demarcation of the Kosovo-Macedonian boundary remained a problematic
topic ever since Belgrade and Skopje signed a border-demarcation agreement in
2001 enraged Macedonian and Kosovo Albanians, who were left on the margins of
the negotiations, and tensions that followed eventually led to a widespread
Albanian insurgency in 2001.
However, the newly appointed chief of the UN administration in Kosovo Soren
Jessen-Petersen promised Macedonians that the border issue would be concluded
before the start of talks on the province's final status. "I assured
Macedonians that the highly significant issue of border demarcation will not be
left unsettled by the time talks on Kosovo's final status are to be
launched," Jessen-Petersen said in Skopje recently.
FAO to intensify cooperation with Macedonia - director-general
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will intensify the
cooperation with Macedonia, providing technical support for implementation of
agricultural reforms, FAO Director General, Jacques Diouf, stated after a recent
meeting with Macedonian Minister of Agriculture, Slavko Petrov, MIA News Agency
Diouf and Petrov concluded that there was a necessity for more activities in the
field of organic production, food quality and safety, forestry, exploitation of
waters and irrigation.
"We agreed that reforms in agriculture are developing with the right tempo
and in the right direction, but their successful implementation requires
technical assistance," Minister Petrov said.
He offered concrete projects, which FAO has to review, such as "Improvement
of Veterinary Protection," "Support to Rural Development," and
"Institutional Development and Building of Structures in Forestry
Bulgaria attracts visitors from Macedonia
A total of 122,732 Macedonian citizens visited the neighbouring Bulgaria within
the January to July 2004 period, accounting for an increase of 1.13%
year-on-year compared to the same period last year, Bulgarian news agency Bgnes
said recently, citing official data released in Sofia. In the first 7 months of
2004, a total of 2,560,186 foreign tourists had visited Bulgaria. The country
marked a 20.3% jump versus the same period last year.
The vast majority of foreign tourists are from Greece 387,458. Germany ranks
second with 293,004 people, followed by Great Britain with 149,299.
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