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macedonia  

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MACEDONIA


 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 4,705 3,712 3,400 118
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,980 1,700 1,690 111
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
25,333

Population 
2,071,210

Capital 
Skopje 

Currency
Dinar 

President
Branko Crvenkovski

Private sector 
% of GDP 
45%




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 Christ.
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 Balkans 
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 operational. 

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. 

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ENERGY

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 should wait.

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.

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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.

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