Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
Update No: 105 (30/01/06)
PM Buckovski's interview with MIA; Macedonia to get out of transition
In the West incumbent politicians boast that they have been in the process
of boosting growth. In the Balkans right now one is grateful enough for getting
back to the pre-bellum past.
Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski said in an interview with the Macedonian
Information Agency (MIA) that Macedonia's transition period will come to an end
in 2006, as the GDP is going to reach the level of the one in 1990, which,
according to official criteria, means that the economy has completed its
transition, entering a phase of intensive development.
Citizens have already felt the benefits of the positive trends in the country,
such as GDP growth of 3.8-4.0%: an increase of industrial production by 7.6%, an
increase of exports by 26% in comparison to that of imports by15.2%, and a
reduction of the unemployment rate to 6.3%.
The country's credit rating has been improved according to the international
Standard & Poor's agency, the deficit reduced by a record five percentage
points, and Macedonia has a three-year stand-by arrangement with the
International Monetary Fund. "These are facts that cannot be denied by
blanket statements. The Government is ready to face opposition parties at the
Parliament. We will request a special session to present a report on putting the
Government's economic programme into effect," Buckovski says.
Asked about corruption and crime, which are high on the list of Macedonia's
problems, Buckovski said serious steps forward have been taken in this respect.
"Finance, Interior Ministers Nikola Popovski and Ljubomir Mihajlovski, who
enjoy my full support, have been working actively, along with all relevant
institutions, on these problems. Their efforts and results are a proof of the
Government's commitment to deal with all violations of the law, particularly in
regard to corruption and crime. Let's not forget that now the Anti-Corruption
Commission is established as an independent controlling centre, while the
Government has a constructive relations with all civic organizations that treat
these matters," Buckovski says.
In regard to possible early elections, Buckovski says a fair and democratic
process is Macedonia's top priority. Opposition parties have been insisting on
early elections for a long period, presenting weekly arguments.
"I understand the wish of VMRO-DPMNE and its leader Nikola Gruevski for
early elections now when this Government is receiving rather positive signals
from the European Union. But I don't understand the lack of ability for
interpreting the EU recommendations and the country's real needs,"
Buckovski says, pointing out that, not the timing, but the legitimacy of
elections is the key issue, which is one of the conditions for launching the EU
"Therefore, it is more important, as relevant and serious political
parties, to focus on amending the electoral legislation and organizing a
legitimate election process. Naturally we are ready to lock horns at elections,
but the country's activities on the road to EU are top priorities,"
Macedonia: Wobbling toward Europe
The latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines Macedonia's
evolution from the brink of conflict to candidacy for membership in the European
Union. It warns that the country's future, as a full European partner, will only
be secure if it implements key reforms. Inadequate police and judicial reform
are two key obstacles, along with the repatriation of war crimes cases from the
Hague tribunal and ambiguity surrounding the amnesty law. Meanwhile, tensions
within the Islamic community are feeding exaggerated rumours of a Wahhabi
"The EU's decision at the end of last year to grant Macedonia candidacy
status was an important boost to its prestige and self-confidence," says
Jennifer Leonard, Crisis Group analyst. "But it still has a long way to go
before it can be considered functional enough to enter into membership
The international community should keep pressure on the government to deliver on
its rhetoric and move more quickly and seriously to reform the police and
judiciary sectors. While the government has made notable progress in the police
sector by recruiting a more multi-ethnic force, assuming responsibility for the
borders and establishing a police academy and organised crime unit, it has yet
to tackle fundamental management issues such as creating a merit-based personnel
system, decentralising authority and increasing transparency and accountability.
The crippled judicial system faces a serious backlog of cases and suffers from
excessive political influence. The government must take immediate steps to root
out corruption and train capable judges. This is especially crucial in light of
the imminent return of four war crimes cases from the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which poses serious political and procedural
questions for Macedonia and the international community.
"Macedonia is still a maturing democracy, and vulnerable to spoilers who
want to hijack an imperfect reform process," says Nicholas Whyte, Crisis
Group's Europe Program Director. "It's now up to the political leadership
to decide if Macedonia will limp awkwardly or stride confidently toward European
Four companies for ESM's privatisation
Four companies, namely, the Italian utility Enel, Germany's RWE, Austria's EVN
and the Czech Republic's Cez enter the final phase of the bid tender for the
privatisation of the country's power company ESM. The conditions for the
purchase include the respecting of the concept of collective contracts, no
redundancies during 2006 and the investment of 42 million Euro over the first
three years for modernising the network. The Macedonian government is expected
to announce the winner of the bids my March 2006, New Europe reported.
Macedonia and China cooperation under discussion
Foreign Minister, Ilinka Mitreva met with representatives of the Foreign Policy
Committee within the Chinese National People's Congress, led by Deputy president
Yang Guoling in order to discuss the continuity of the positive bilateral
relations among the two countries and promote trade and economic cooperation,
New Europe reported.
Mitreva informed the Chinese deputies on the country's current political
situation, achievements in foreign policy, and the progress towards European
membership. Guoling expressed China's support on Macedonia's EU integration
Macedonian ski centre will be 2nd largest in Europe
In 2008 Macedonia will have a new ski centre, which will be the second biggest
in Europe, Macedonian economic Kapital weekly reported.
The ski centre will spread over 1,200 hectares with 500 hectares of ski runs.
The project includes building hotels, a tourist village, sports terrains, and a
church. It is expected that the centre will be visited by more than 10,000
tourists at weekends. The Kozuh ski centre project's construction will cost 75