Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
Update No: 099 (26/07/05)
Skopje says path to EU is safe
"Humankind cannot bear overmuch reality," said TS Eliot. This
certainly applies to the Macedonian leadership right now.
The French "no" to the European Union constitution treaty will not
harm Macedonia's bid to join the 25-member bloc, a government spokesperson in
Skopje insisted recently. "The process which would eventually end with
Macedonia's full membership in the EU is irreversible," Foreign Ministry
spokesman, Dusko Uzunovski, told Deutsche Press-Agentur (dpa).
Macedonia is hoping to begin accession talks with the EU in the first half of
2006. This now looks like a pipedream.
For one thing Angela Merkel, head of the Christian Democrats, is, by September,
likely to be German chancellor. Her opposition to EU enlargement is well known.
Crvenkovski visits Ukraine
It makes a lot of sense for the Macedonians to cultivate their old ties with
former communist states, who understand their mentality and ways of working.
Macedonian President, Branko Crvenkovski, paid a visit to Ukraine June 27-28
upon the invitation of his Ukrainian counterpart, Victor Yushchenko, MIA has
reported. Crvenkovski met First Vice Premier, Anatoliy Kinakh, and Parliament
Speaker, Volodymyr Lytvyn, as well as Yushchenko. Yushchenko is a hero for the
Macedonians, a living embodiment, with his pock-marked face, of the
disfigurement decades of communism can inflict upon a country.
Foreign and Health Ministers, Ilinka Mitreva and Vlado Dimov, were also part of
Crvenkovski's delegation, travelling to Ukraine to sign bilateral cooperation
agreements in the spheres of information, railway transport, health and culture,
as well as a plan for consultations between the foreign ministries of both
The relations between Macedonia and Ukraine are friendly and constantly
developing and improving. Good political relations with intensified dialogue in
all spheres are explained by numerous historical, cultural and economic
characteristics making the countries to help and cooperate on international plan
in the frames of international organizations and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Macedonia and Ukraine are keen to put an accent on cooperation in improving the
economic relations, strengthening trade cooperation and full usage of their
potentials and possibilities included in the Free Trade Agreement.
The exclusive Macedonian geostrategic position in SEE, the tempo of
implementation of the economic reforms, the solid basis for successful economic
cooperation with EU member states contribute to Ukraine seeing Macedonia as a
prospective economic partner, especially in the sphere of energy. Macedonia and
Ukraine have successful military-technical cooperation as well as cooperation in
the sphere of education, science and culture.
Presidents of Macedonia, Moldova discuss economic ties
In the same spirit President Crvenkovski met on 7th July with his Moldovan
counterpart, Vladimir Voronin, about regional and bilateral relations. Both
leaders agreed economic and commercial ties could be strengthened. Voronin met
next with Prime Minister, Vasile Tarlev, and Parliament Speaker, Marian Lupu.
Crvenkovski said Skopje also is willing to share its experience with
Euro-Atlantic integration, likely, as we have seen, to be an increasingly
painful subject. Macedonia has far better prospects of joining NATO in this
regard any time soon than the EU.
Macedonia defence Minister, Jovan Manasijevski, said in an interview with
radio Free Europe recently that the NATO report on Macedonia's annual progress
on the road to the alliance was prepared and positive, particularly as regards
reforms in the defence sector. "However, NATO is a political organisation
and one has to follow precisely defined political criteria," the minister
was quoted as saying. "They apply for all, but each country has certain
specific conditions," he added, noting that his country is responsible to
ensure the full implementation of the framework agreement.
Other conditions are functionality of institutions, above all an efficient and
independent judicial system, Radio Free Europe said, citing the minister.
"But NATO will not base its final assessment only on plans and programmes,
but their successful realisation. If we complete these activities, the
invitation for alliance membership is inevitable," Manasijevski said.
Macedonia regulates the use of Albanian national symbols
The government in Skopje adopted draft legislation to regulate the display
of the Albanian flag in the former Yugoslav republic, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)
reported recently. Ethnic Albanians, who compose roughly a quarter of
Macedonia's two million population, are to be allowed to post their flags and
other national symbols in 17 municipalities where they make up more than 50% of
total population, according to the new legislation.
The move is expected to prompt protests from Macedonia nationalists, as the
Albanian flag is seen locally as a sign of Albanian territorial pretensions on
The Albanian flag is red and features a black two-headed eagle. The new law,
which is yet to pass parliament, is the last part of a peace deal signed by
Macedonians and Albanians in 2001 following months of fierce clashes through the
tiny Balkan country. Several smaller Albanian parties have already opposed the
law, saying that the regulation should be expanded to municipalities where
Albanians compose more than 20% of the population. The lack of legislation on
the use of Albanian national symbols led to a series of often-violent incidents
throughout the southern Balkans in the past, especially in Kosovo and Macedonia.
In the worst such incident in Macedonia, four people were killed and more than
130 arrested during Albanian demonstrations in Skopje's Bit Pazar district in
Buckovski targets economic revival through investment
Macedonia's Prime Minister, Vlado Buckovski, recently announced that a
large-scale government programme is being outlined to help revive the faltering
economy, MIA News Agency reported.
On the agenda are the following key issues: attracting foreign investors,
providing benefits for exporters, offering direct support for small and medium
enterprises, and cutting red tape. Buckovski said necessary steps will be taken
so that annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth increases from 4 to 5%. By
the end of 2006 it is expected that around 60,000 additional jobs will be
created, the premier was quoted as saying. Buckovski said the German industry
giant Siemens has already signed a memorandum of cooperation. LUKoil, the top
Russian oil concern, has plans to build a chain of gas stations in Macedonia, he
added. According to the premier, once there is an improvement in the business
sector foreign investors will be automatically attracted to invest in the
economy of the country.
Macedonia new car sales down 3.5%
New car sales in Macedonia dropped 3.5 per cent year-on-year to 802 units in
May, reversing a 26.7 per cent year-on-year increase posted in April,
For the first five months of this year sales rose 0.4 per cent year-on-year to
3,516 units. During this period, the year-on-year changes were very volatile. So
there were steep drops in January and February, which were most likely due to
the fact that the authorities have introduced excise duties on new automobiles
again, as of January 1. The amount of the tax depends on the engine
displacement. There was no such tax in 2003 and 2004.
Buckovski visits Budapest
Macedonian Prime Minister, Vlado Buckovski, met his Hungarian counterpart,
Ferenc Gyurcsany, in Budapest on June 28, according to Makfax. Buckovski, who
kicked-off a two-day visit the day before the meeting, also met other Hungarian
senior officials, New Europe reported.
Beside the solid bilateral relations between the two countries, the highlights
of Buckovcki's talks included Macedonia's preparations for EU integration, and
stepping up the economic cooperation. In the course of the visit, an economic
forum of the Macedonian and Hungarian businessmen was set up, aimed at boosting
bilateral ties. On the occasion of marking the 15th anniversary of the Regional
Eco Centre for Central and Eastern Europe, Buckovski made an address.
Ukraine, Macedonia to cooperate
The presidents of Ukraine and Macedonia announced plans on June 27 for
cooperation on high-tech manufacturing and energy development. The main means of
developing the sectors will be via joint ventures between state-owned companies
in the two countries, Macedonian President, Branko Crvenkovsky, was quoted as
saying by the Interfax News Agency.
Crvenkovsky was in Kiev on a one-day visit to his counterpart Viktor Yushchenko.
The pair met in the morning in one-on-one talks, and later jointly chaired
expanded discussions devoted primarily to economic issues. Negotiations produced
an agreement for the two countries' high-tech machine-building sectors to share
manufacturing techniques and markets via "free trade zones," allowing
the companies to trade with one another without paying excise, Yushchenko said
at a subsequent press conference. "We need to move to the creation of the
joint ventures," Yushchenko said. Delivery to Macedonia of Ukrainian fuel
transport systems and hydroelectric technologies was the second sector named by
the Yushchenko and Crvenkovsky as a development priority.
An overhaul of Macedonia's oil and natural gas transport system by Ukrainian
pipe-manufacturing and laying companies, plus possible installation of Ukrainian
hydroelectric equipment on Macedonia rivers, received special emphasis and would
be the topic of multi- departmental talks, Yushchenko said. Besides high tech
and energy Ukraine and FYROM hope to intensify cooperation in aerospace
manufacturing, and transportation and construction, Cverenkovsky said. The giant
Macedonian road-building company, Granit, is the largest foreign rail line
builder in Ukraine. Granit's know-how has been critical in allowing the
Ukrainian national rail company, Ukrzheleznitsia, to open modern rail service
between the capital and the provincial centres of Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk.
Macedonia also wants to export more medicines to Ukraine in exchange for
Ukrainian agricultural technologies and goods, Cverenkovsky said.
The two presidents also signed protocols committing their countries' governments
to a 12-month programme devoted to developing trade. Relations between Ukraine
and Macedonia are traditionally good. Ukrainian tanks, attack helicopters, and
according to some reports mercenaries assisted Macedonia in the Balkan country's
recent conflicts with Albanian separatists.