Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
Update No: 108 - (30/05/06)
The West beckons
Macedonia is naturally very keen to integrate into European and Atlanticist
structures. It wants to join the EU and NATO. That it is a European and Western
nation is indisputable. Its greatest son, Alexander the Great, did more, indeed
much more, to save the legacy of the civilization of the Ancient World of
Greece, the fount of the West, for posterity than anybody else - other than
Several developments have enhanced these ambitions recently. It is cynical to
say so, but undoubtedly true, that the Kosovo War of 1999 put Macedonia on the
map in a decisive way. Washington and other Western capitals became aware of the
vital importance of preventing an Albanian secessionist movement getting out of
hand in Macedonia.
The terrible events of 9:11 saw to that, with the Albanian guerrilla movement
voluntarily giving up their arms. They became aware that they could no longer
run the risk of being branded as terrorists by the West, the saviour of the
Albanian Kosovars two years earlier. By October 2001 the Ochrid Agreement had
been signed, to which both sides still adhere - peace between the two.
Promotion of Macedonian Coordination Centre for support of NATO forces on the
Defence Minister, Jovan Manasijevski, on May 11th promoted the new idea of a
NATO headquarters in Skopje, by opening the Macedonian Coordination Centre for
support of NATO forces in the Balkans.
The Coordination Centre in fact became operational in a fledgling fashion on
April 3th with 14 staff members. The assumption of the functions pertaining to
the logistics support to the NATO Headquarters in Skopje will go on in several
stages until 2007, when the Coordination Centre is planned to become fully
Dubrovnik Summit Meeting Of US-Adriatic Charter
A more immediate boost to Macedonia's bid to join NATO came in early May.
The US Vice-President Dick Cheney is certainly throwing his weight about on the
world stage these days. He was in Vilnius in early May where he fulminated
against the retrograde regimes in Moscow and Minsk, addressing the assembled
company of Baltic and Caucasus leaders, plus those of Ukraine and Moldova.
He then went to the Balkans. A summit meeting of the prime ministers of
Macedonia, Croatia and Albania, members of the US Adriatic Charter, was held on
May 7th in the southern Croatian seaside resort of Dubrovnik, and Cheney
attended this forum aimed at promoting cooperation between the three aspirants
for NATO membership.
Opening the event, the meeting's host, Croatia's Ivo Sanader, expressed
gratitude to the United States for launching this initiative for the
establishment of the said charter, which he said was useful for Croatia's (and
Albania's and Macedonia's) efforts to join NATO. "NATO membership is a
strategic goal of Croatia, that is aware that peace and security cannot be
achieved in isolation. We recognise in NATO a uniquely efficient political and
defence alliance based on the values of peace, freedom, democracy and market
economy," the Croatian premier added.
The US Vice President expressed strong support for the aspirations of the three
members of the US-Adriatic Charter to join the Euro-Atlantic community, adding
that Albania, Croatia and Macedonia had made great headway. "We deeply
appreciate the fact that the three countries have already been engaged alongside
forces of the United States and NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq," Cheney said.
He described the Dubrovnik meeting as an important event for the assessment of
the progress they had made in preparing themselves for NATO membership.
Sanader, and his counterparts, Sali Berisha of Albania and Vlado Buckovski of
Macedonia said they expected that their countries would receive a clear signal
from the coming NATO summit in the Latvian capital of Riga in November about the
timetable for their accession to the alliance. Berisha and Buckovski also
expressed the readiness of their countries to deploy their forces together with
NATO and U.S contingents anywhere in the world.
Buckovski stressed the role Euro-Atlantic integration prospects have played in
fostering stability and democratic progress in the region. "Accepting the
region's candidates that are prepared to enter in the Euro-Atlantic alliance as
the international community works hard to close the last outstanding issue in
the south and east Europe will be a historic opportunity to fulfil NATO's
decade-long commitment and contribute decisively to long-term stability and
prosperity of the region," Buckovski said.
Hydro power plants privatisation underway
Only a month after the sale of Electric Distribution, the preparation process
for the privatisation of the big hydro power plants has started, television
station A1 announced recently.
Citing sources in the economy ministry, TV A1 claimed that the World Bank (WB)
and the Macedonian government have already started working on the documents,
which will be the basis for the sale of the hydro power plants. Models for
concession agreements, which are prerequisites for entering that process, have
already been considered. Macedonia's government, under pressure from the public,
gave up the sale of hydro-energy potentials last year, promising that they would
be the object of privatisation at the end of the entire process. Experts warned,
however, that the sale of the electricity production capacities of Macedonia
Thermal plant Negotino up for sale
Macedonia's government launched an international tender for the privatisation of
TPP Negotino's thermal power plant, which has an installed power of 200
Megawatts and is the second biggest producer of electricity in Macedonia, New
Europe reported recently.
The prerequisites to enter the bid are that companies must have assets of over
300m Euro, an income exceeding 200m Euro in the last two fiscal years, and
profits of over 20m Euro. The media have speculated that the most serious
candidates are Russian companies RAO, UES and Gazprom, French firm Gas de France
and Greece Hellenic Petroleum.
World Bank promotes gas pipeline
The World Bank recently sent a message to Macedonian authorities saying that it
is time they provide the conditions necessary for natural gas to be used as an
energy source and to reactivate the construction of gas pipelines and the gas
network, Energy Observer reported.
The gasification of Macedonia was stopped ten years ago due to legal action
concerning property between the state company GA-MA and Makpetrol, the petroleum
products distributor of Skopje.
FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
Romania approves Macedonia's entry to CEFTA
The Romanian Government approved a bill on the ratification of the agreement on
Macedonia's accession to the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), ACT
Media news agency reported.
The document was signed on February 27th in Skopje. With Macedonia's accession
to the CEFTA, the free trade area grouping Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia will
expand to Skopje as well. However, when Romania and Bulgaria join the European
Union, the two countries will have to withdraw from the CEFTA. Experts estimated
that after Macedonia's accession agreement is enforced, Romanian trade with
Skopje will significantly increase.