Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
Update No: 114 - (28/11/06)
Into the EU?
Macedonia was mentioned in a mid-November report on Croatia's chances of joining
the EU. Macedonia, declared a "candidate" for EU membership last year,
is striving to catch up with Croatia and start entry talks.
While earning good marks for its energy, transport and public-contracting
policies, Macedonia has no "coherent strategy" on agriculture and is
plagued by widespread corruption, the commission, the EU's executive agency,
said in its report. Macedonia "has continued to make progress over the past
year," the Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said, "but at a
Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski warned that delays in accession could
increase tensions in the region. "If the EU freezes its enlargement, that
might strengthen extremists in Macedonia and elsewhere," state television
quoted him as saying. "Tensions would increase."
He is the key man at only 36 years old. How come?
Gruevski is going for an interesting trinity - youth to high office, the
Diaspora to return and the US to be the model.
The VMRO-DPMNE he leads won the parliamentary elections of 5 July 2006. On
August 25th he constituted the new government. His government has many new
faces, mostly in their 30s in key ministries and other positions. He was the
first to incorporate Macedonian expats from various world-wide positions as
CEO's in his new government.
He is the leader of VMRO-DPMNE since May 2003. He was Minister of Finance in the
VMRO-DPMNE government led by Ljubco Georgievski until September 2002.
Among Gruevski's achievements as Minister of Finance was the privatisation of
Fenimak. The government which sold the Macedonian Telecom to Hungarian Matav.
Gruevski also implemented financial reforms, including the VAT (Value Added Tax)
of 18%, requiring fiscal receipts for all Macedonian businesses, which was a
program designed to fight tax evasion. His most famous program was "Kupuvajte
makedonski proizvodi" ("Buy Macedonian Products"), which promoted
buying Macedonian products, designated by logo with a sun with a happy face. His
hope was that the programme would boost domestic businesses.
After VMRO-DPMNE was defeated in the parliamentary elections in 2002, there was
a period of infighting within the party. Gruevski emerged as the pro-EU leader,
beating off the Georgievski camp. The former prime minister set up his own party
(VMRO-People's Party), but VMRO-DPMNE retained most of the party's supporters.
Gruevski attends CEI Economic Forum
Prime Minister Gruevski took part in the Economic Forum of the members of
the Central European Initiative (CEI) in Tirana on 23-24 November. The forum
brought together Heads of Government of all member-states of the CEI to discuss
modalities to strengthen the business climate in the region.
In the course of the summit, ministers of economy of the CEI held a round-table
meeting on the theme "Strengthening of Reforms and Innovations for
Sustainable Growth and Development".
Croatia remains a very important partner for Macedonia, understanding their
common former Yugoslav roots. Croatia is a stout champion of Macedonian
interests in the wider world.
The visiting Macedonian Prime Minister Gruevski on November 20th met the
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic to discuss furthering of economic co-operation
between their two countries.
Gruevski stressed that apart from economic development, the timely admission
into NATO is Macedonia's highest priority at the time being. In this context,
Gruevski welcomed the announcements that Croatia will be invited to join the
Alliance in 2008.
The Croatian President reiterated Croatia's support to Macedonia's European
integration, adding that Croatia would help Macedonia. Mesic said Croatia
remains fully committed to the European future of all countries in the region.
The hope that the Riga summit of NATO on November 28-29 would invite Macedonia
to join, however, was not realized.
Germany supports Macedonia's NATO and EU bids
Germany stands firmly behind Macedonia's efforts for integration into NATO and
the European Union, German Defence Minister, Franz Josef Jung, told his
Macedonian counterpart, Lazar Elenovski, during their meeting in Berlin,
Macedonia's Defence Ministry announced on October 23rd, Maxfax reported.
"Minister Jung appraised highly the manner in which reforms in the defence
area have been conducted thus far," the announcement said. On his part,
Minister Elenovski expressed Macedonia's commitment for further participation
within the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, as well as its readiness to contribute
to strengthening of the European defence and security policy through inclusion
of ARM soldiers in the European combating units.
Foreign investments in Macedonia cut by half in 2005
Foreign direct investments (FDI) in Macedonia in 2005 were almost cut by half,
compared to 2004, and the country was ranked at the bottom in the region, Makfax
Roughly US$100 million was invested in Macedonia last year, according to the
World Investment Report 2006 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development. In Macedonia, FDI flow slipped down in 2005, compared to 2004
when the country reported US$157 million in foreign direct investments.
Macedonia ranks at the bottom among the countries in Southeast Europe in 2005.
FDI inflows rose substantially in Romania and Bulgaria, the future members of
the European Union. A total of US$40 billion were invested in Southeast Europe
last year, of which 6.3 billion were invested in Romania, 2.2 billion in
Bulgaria, 1.69 billion in Croatia and 1.48 billion in Serbia and Montenegro. The
report says global FDI inflows rose substantially in 2005. Global FDI inflows
marked a 29 per cent jump, reaching US$916 billion. A major contributing factor
to this strong growth was the marked increase in the inflows to developed