Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 reporter.gr 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