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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
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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Branko Crvenkovski

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Update No: 111 - (25/08/06)

Macedonian PM-designate cites economy, fighting corruption as top priorities
It is not quite true that nothing goes on in August, not in Macedonia at any rate this year. Macedonian Prime Minister designate Nikola Gruevski announced the members of his new cabinet on August 15th, citing economic recovery and fighting corruption and organised crime as top priorities. 
More than two weeks after being given the mandate to form Macedonia's new government, Prime Minister designate Nikola Gruevski submitted his proposed cabinet to parliament on August 15th. Gruevski, 35, who served as finance minister in former Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski's cabinet, has been VMRO-DPMNE leader since May 2003.
Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE came in first in the 5th July elections in Macedonia, with 32.5 per cent of the vote, entitling it to 44 seats in the 120-member parliament. After weeks of consultations, the VMRO-DPMNE leader said the new Macedonian government would include representatives of four other parties -- the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), the New Social Democratic Party (NSDP), the Socialist Party (SP) and the Liberal Party (LP). 
In addition to the prime minister's post, VMRO-DPMNE will take ten other cabinet seats. The party's Zoran Stavrevski and Gabriela Konevska-Trajkovska have been nominated as deputy prime ministers in charge of economic affairs and EU integration, respectively. Imer Selmani of Arben Xhaferi's DPA has been named as Gruevski's deputy in charge of the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. The fourth deputy prime ministerial seat goes to Zivko Jankulovski of the NSDP, who will be responsible for the agriculture and education sectors. 
VMRO-DPMNE representatives Trajko Slavevski and Antonio Milosovski will head the finance and foreign affairs ministries, respectively, while Gordana Jankulovska has been tapped for the post of interior minister. In addition, the party will also head the justice, local self-government and the transport and communications ministries. Two foreigners of Macedonian origin, Gligor Taskovic and Vele Samac, will serve as ministers without portfolio in charge of foreign investments. 
Besides serving as deputy prime minister, Selmani also is set to head the health ministry. The DPA, which won 11 parliamentary seats in the July elections, also has been given the ministries of ecology, culture and education, to be headed by Imer Aliu, Ilirijan Bekiri and Sulejman Rushiti, respectively. 
In addition to one deputy prime ministerial post, Tito Petkovski's NSDP, which has seven representatives in the legislature, has been given two ministerial seats. Lazar Elenovski will be defence minister, and Vera Rafajlovska the economy minister. Aco Spasovski of Ljubisav Ivanov's SP has been nominated as minister of agriculture and Ljupco Meskov of Stojan Andov's LP as minister of labour and social policy. 
Parliament was scheduled to vote on the proposed cabinet on 25th August, when Gruevski was due to present the government's programme. 
Ahead of that session, the prime minister-designate outlined the economy and the fight against organised crime and corruption as top priorities. "The government's priority is economic recovery," Gruevski said. "This is going to be a long, difficult and painful journey, but we have a team of able and honest people who will give (their) maximum effort." 
Commenting on the continuing roadblocks staged by the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) to protest their exclusion from the government, Gruevski told Macedonia's A1 television on August 15 that there was no legal provision obliging him to include Ali Ahmeti's party in his cabinet. "According to the laws and the constitution of Macedonia, I composed the government, had dialogue with all parties, including DUI, and there is no obligation in the laws or the constitution that I have to include DUI in government's composition," Makfax news agency quoted Gruevski as saying. 

The following is an insightful interview with a well-informed local observer:-

Vlado Popovski: The new Macedonian government will manage to achieve good results, especially in the field of economy 
Vlado Popovski is a Professor in Law with the "St's Cyril and Methodius" University in Skopje. He was a Minister of Defense in two Macedonian cabinets, as well as a Minister of Justice. Popovski had also been an adviser to the late Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and had taken an active part in drafting the Ohrid Framework Agreement that was signed in August 2001. 
FOCUS News Agency talked with Vlado Popovsk on August 17th about the situations after the recent general elections in Macedonia, the new cabinet, and his expectations about future developments.
FOCUS: Mr. Popovski, what is your estimation about the end of the process of cabinet formation in Macedonia?
Vlado Popovski: I think this process was actually a successful one since now the government has the support of 67 MPs, without the participation of VMRO-People's Party. This means that now it has a comfortable majority. This will allow the cabinet in its attempts to realize their election program, especially in its economic part …where Nikola Gruevski's cabinet has the potential to achieve positive results.
FOCUS: Are there any surprises in the new government?
Vlado Popovski: There are some personal surprises that no one had expected. VMRO - Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE) has stated that there will be surprises, and they came up - mostly in personal aspect for certain ministries. There were no surprises about the structure since the coalition was already known. 
FOCUS: What are your expectations from the new government considering its members?
Vlado Popovski: I think the new government will manage to achieve good results in the field of economy. A new structure in the field of investments will also be formed, which will open new job positions. If it is successful in this direction and there are some results that could be felt in a positive way, and which to differentiate from those achieved by the previous government, I would say this would be enough. 
As far as other spheres are concerned, I think that some political relations will be established, which will not soothe the situation since the conflict between the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and VMRO-DPMNE will intensify further. This will make the realization of the Ohrid Agreement difficult. On the other hand, this will also lead to some intensifications in the international relations - of not violations, it would at least be a stagnation of international relations, and they need to be developed. 
In an international aspect - the international community will not be pleased with such a course of events in Macedonia, i.e. the stagnation in the realization of the Ohrid Agreement. DUI has already stated that they will prevent the implementation of the Badenter principle in parliament. This means that the development of the positions of minorities will be in stagnation, and this will inevitable lead to some tension among the different communities. 
On a local level, in the municipalities where DUI has mayors - there are 15 and this is not a small number, and where Macedonians are a minority, as in the Cair municipality, the Badenter principle will be ignored and decisions will be imposed through the Albanian community, which will cause tension in the Macedonian and the rest of the communities. Arrogance will have a boomerang effect not only on a local, but on a national level as well, and that is why I consider things are not good. 
Considering Macedonia's neighbours, and judging from the statements on the issue about the name of the country, there will be some stagnation. But I think that if the political and economic relations and cooperation with the Republic of Greece develop, this would be a kind of a compensation for the name problem. But I think this issue is topical right now although Macedonia is not close yet to an EU or NATO membership. I expect that Greece will bring the issue to the fore before Macedonia's accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures. But since this moment is still well ahead for us, the name issue will also fall into stagnation in contrast to economic and political cooperation. 
FOCUS: What would be the course of foreign policy that the new government will adopt and what would be the main themes in its policy regarding the neighbouring states?
Vlado Popovski: The foreign policy will preserve the course towards meeting the requirements for Macedonia's accession to the EU and NATO - first in the field of economy, and perhaps, in some democratic institutions - in the field of judiciary. 
Reforms and reconstruction in the area of defence will also be made. The Police Law is also expected to be adopted considering the already suggested draft, but the very text of the bill was not satisfactory enough and I hope this government will draft a new text. The new government will get closer more radically to the European standards - structures, competences, and on the level of functions, as it is expected a new law in the sphere of civil and human freedoms to be adopted as well. 
Macedonia will continue participating in international missions, as well as its friendly relations with the EU and the USA, and the development of cultural and historical relations with Russia and China. I hope that the philosophy of the new Minister of Foreign Affairs (Antonio Milososki), who is young and well educated, will have some balance in these relations and will not lose the EU and NATO perspective. 
I think the new government will stabilise relations with the neighbouring states since there are no great problems. Now, there are much smaller problems compared to 10 years ago, regarding Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania. Indeed the problems that existed back in 1994, 1995, and 1996 do not exist any more. They were overcome in the meantime with the signing of different agreements and that is why I expect that cooperation and friendship with these states to be strengthened further.

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Greece leases Negotino Power Plant for one month

Greek electric power company (PPS) signed a contract with Macedonia's Transmission System Operator (MEPSO) for a month-long lease of Negotino Themal Power Plant, with the possibility of prolonging the lease until October 1st, news agency said recently.
PSS will buy the entire production at 74 Euro per megawatt, paying a fixed foreign exchange fee of 39,000 Euro, and is obliged to cover variable production costs, as well as the cost of starting production with fuel oil at the power plant, it was reported.
MEPSO is in charge of procuring fuel oil that is bought from TheOkta refinery of Skopje, which is in Greek ownership. MEPSO did not want to say at what price they were buying fuel oil, or what price they pay for the transmission of electric power.

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