Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
Update No: 097 (26/05/05)
Macedonia hopes to start talks with EU in 2006
Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva was in Vienna for talks with Austrian
counterpart Ursula Plassnik in mid-May. She told reporters that she hopes Skopje
will start accession talks with the EU in the first half of 2006.
That would be an acknowledgment of the reforms Skopje has implemented in recent
years, Mitreva said.
Plassnik, meanwhile, said the name dispute between Skopje and Athens was
unrelated to Macedonia's EU integration agenda. She added, however, that it is
in the interest of both countries to resolve the issue as soon as possible. It
is now getting a little hoary with age.
But, she is not necessarily right here.
60 years on from the war
Henry Ford, the propagator of the motor industry and the modern world, made the
characteristic comment: "History is bunk." He was a citizen of the New
World. But, if there is one place where history does still count, it is the
Can one imagine anywhere else in the world where two nations would be wrangling
over a matter of nomenclature dating back millennia?
The 60th anniversary of the end of World War II was marked in former Yugoslavia
on or around 9th May with the customary laying of wreaths and holding of
speeches, most of which centered on the role of the "antifascist"
Partisan movement led by Josip Broz Tito, who was a Croat. But he played a very
important role in the history of Macedonia.
Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski chose to draw attention to the role of
Tito himself, not only "in the fight against fascism...[but also as] a
historic personality who made an extraordinary, positive contribution to the
Macedonian national question [by recognizing the Macedonians as a distinct
people] and through the creation of Macedonian statehood" by setting up a
Macedonian republic within the Yugoslav federation. Accordingly, Crvenkovski
continued, "I launch a project to build a memorial dedicated to Josip Broz
Tito in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia."
The past versus the present
Here is the rub. The Greeks refuse to recognise Macedonia as that, 'the Republic
of Macedonia,' the name of their northern province and birthplace of Alexander
the Great no less. What's in a name?
Everything, as it so happens for the Macedonians, because Athens could veto
their entry into the EU. Only at the most formal levels are they still called
"FYR Macedonia," or worse, the "Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia." The rest of the world, impatient with Greek intransigence on
this less than vital matter, of course omits the initials. Listen to any
newscast other than a Greek one.
The wisest course for them to pursue is to drop the matter until they are
inside; then after a few years to make the name change discreetly! The Greeks
could stop them coming in, but hardly eject them out.
Investbanka ups profit by 16.4%
Macedonian commercial bank, Investbanka, recently announced a preliminary net
profit of 56m dinars (US$12m or 920,000 Euro) in 2004, up 16.4%, the Reporter
In 2003 net profit was 48.1m dinars. Investbanka AD Skopje is the only
Macedonian bank servicing financial transactions between the country and
Serbia's southern UN controlled province of Kosovo. Investbanka and Austrian
Raiffeisen Bank have subsidiaries in Kosovo. Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo agreed in
2004 on direct payments between companies and individuals in the two entities.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Skopje, Ankara seal deal on economic cooperation
Macedonia Deputy Prime Minister, Minco Jordanov and Turkish State Minister,
Guldal Aksit, signed an agreement in Skopje on April 27th to promote economic
and commercial cooperation between the two countries, Southeast Times reported.
The protocol covers a wide range of activities, including banking,
standardisation, energy, tourism, health and environmental protection. Jordanov
said he hopes the accord would boost bilateral economic relations and result in
large Turkish investments in Macedonia.
MobiMak to focus on mobile voice
Macedonia's leading mobile operator MobiMak has a name in the market so it will
now focus only on voice services and not on data, The Reporter said recently,
citing a company statement. CMO Svetlana Petrovska of MobiMak said that the rate
of unemployment in Macedonia is still 30% and GDP is just US$2,450 per capita so
the focus should be on affordable services. She said, "Mobile operators
have to follow the specifics of the country they operate in. With the difficult
economic situation and the low GDP we have to try harder than other operators to
develop affordable tariff levels in accordance to customers' needs and their
ability to pay but at the same time satisfying shareholders." She added,
"We will add extra services only if they pay off. There is still more space
for voice services than for data." Petrovska also remarked that MobiMak's
parent company MakTel is a part of the Deutsche Telecom group and can afford
data services. Fixed operators can offer these data services according to her.