Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
Update No: 106 (23/03/06)
The death of Milosevic is a good time to assess the long term
career of each of the former Yugoslav republics. Macedonia was spared the
inter-ethnic violence that raged elsewhere in the Balkans following the break-up
of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s but it came close to civil war a decade after
Aftermath of Kosovo War
Rebels staged an uprising in early 2001, demanding greater rights for the ethnic
Albanian minority. The conflict set off a wave of refugees and the rebels made
This event can certainly be seen as having been precipitated by the Kosovo war
of 1999, itself provoked by the ethnic cleansing of the province by the Butcher
of Belgrade. His evil influence was felt everywhere in the Former Yugoslavia
eventually, except Slovenia.
After months of skirmishes, EU and Nato support enabled the late president,
Boris Trajkovski, to strike a peace deal, just after 9:11, an indication to the
Albanians that terrorism was not the way forward. Under the Ohrid agreement,
Albanian fighters laid down their arms in return for greater ethnic-Albanian
recognition within a unitary state.
Acknowledgement of ethnic-Albanian rights was formalised in amendments to the
constitution approved by parliament in late 2001. Ethnic Albanians account for
about a quarter of the population.
In August 2004, parliament approved legislation redrawing local boundaries and
giving ethnic Albanians greater local autonomy in areas where they predominate.
Now the EU beckons
Recognition of the republic's progress from the brink of civil war came in
December 2005 when the EU leaders agreed that it should become a candidate for
membership. A date for the start of entry talks has yet to be announced.
The country's name remains a contentious issue. It is still referred to formally
as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), because the original name
Macedonia angered the neighbouring Greeks.
International recognition of the country's split from Yugoslavia in 1991 was
held up over Greek fears that the country's name implied territorial ambitions
toward the northern Greek region of Macedonia. Greece lifted a two-year trade
blockade only after the two countries signed an accord in 1995, continuing with
this top-heavy formulation of a name.
The UN continues to act as mediator between Skopje and Athens in an effort to
resolve such dispute.
Ruling parties, opposition reach compromise on structure of election boards
Mediation and moderation remain the watchwords at home as well. Prime
Minister Vlado Buckovski and leaders of opposition parties have reached a
compromise on the structure of election boards, which was a key problem in the
Draft-Election Code. They agreed on a mixed, i.e. combined model - three members
from the state administration and two from the political parties.
"This is the maximum possible compromise that ends speculation that the
authorities want to organize irregular elections. The decision we have agreed
upon is an interim one, and is valid only for these elections. The objective is
to return the confidence in the election process among the opposition and the
citizens," Buckovski said after the meeting.
VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski assessed that the compromise was an
opportunity for return of trust in elections. "The approximation of
positions on this crucial issue is a way out from the difficult state following
the Government's proposal. Now there is a possibility for gradual return of the
trust in elections. It is up to the PM to fulfil what he promised",
DPA vice-president Menduh Thaci also expressed his optimism, saying, "This
is an important step towards creation of a climate of mutual trust and a good
climate for elections".
Besides the structure of election boards, Buckovski and leaders of opposition
parties did not discuss other issues related to the Election
Croatia, Albania And Macedonia To Intensify Cooperation On Road Towards NATO
Prime Ministers of the three countries signatories to the U.S.-Adriatic
Charter, Ivo Sanader of Croatia, Vlado Buckovski of Macedonia and Sali Berisha
of Albania, met in March at the Albanian seaport of Durres to discuss the
strengthening of cooperation on the road towards NATO membership.
"Today is a very important day for the region. We are launching a new
campaign in a bid to be admitted to NATO under the slogan 'Invitation, Not Later
Than 2008,'" Macedonia's Buckovski said after the trilateral meeting.
Croatia's Sanader added that for the start, the three prime ministers would sent
a joint letter to NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer ahead of the
alliance's summit in the Latvian capital of Riga, scheduled for November this
The three prime minister said they expected much of the Riga summit although
they were aware that the event would not focus on the alliance's enlargement.
"We know that it will not be a summit meeting on enlargement, but we expect
strong messages to be sent to our countries, notably in a final document of the
meeting," Sanader said adding that during his recent talks with Jaap de
Hoop Scheffer, the secretary general had told him that "everything is
Berisha, the host of the Durres meeting, also expressed high expectations of the
Commenting on the aspirations of Croatia, Macedonia and Albania to join the
alliance as soon as possible, Sanader said that "NATO is not just a
military alliance but it is a alliance committed to freedom, the development of
democracy, the respect for human and minority rights, the rule of law and market
economy. We also embrace those values and want to become a part of that
Sanader reiterated that individual results of the candidate countries would be
evaluated before joining the alliance.
Stopanska Banka Bitola posts profit up 23.2%
Macedonian commercial bank, Stopanska Banka Bitola, announced 2005 results
posting a net profit of 251.4 million Denars (four million Euro) rising by 23.2
per cent, as revenue from loan collaterals increased, SEEurope reported.
The pre-tax profit reached 295 million Euro as opposed to 220.4 million Euro in
2004 while interest income amounted to 410.2 million Euro, against 383.5 million
Euro in 2004. Stopanska Banka Bitola ranks among the small domestically owned
banks in the southeast European country, unlike Greek-owned Stopanska Banka
Skopje, which is the second-largest bank in Macedonia.
First private co-generation plant slated for 2006
Russian gas firm Itera and Macedonia steam heating utility, Toplifikacija plan
to start building Macedonia's first privately-owned, market oriented
co-generation plant in 2006, worth some 120 million Euro, New Europe reported.
The government in Skopje said last year that the gas-fired plant was projected
to have installed capacity of 200 MW of electricity and 160 megawatts of
steam-heating power. Energy infrastructure majors like Siemens, General Electric
and Alstom have been acquainted with the project with the aim of one of them
undertaking the construction, Hadzi-Misev, director general at Toplifikacija AD
Skopje said. He added that Itera and Toplifikacija would secure 30 per cent of
the investment and the rest would come from loans. "Of the 30 per cent,
Itera contributes 70 per cent and Toplifikacija 30 per cent," Hadzi-Misev
Barroso and Rehn visit Macedonia
European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, accompanied by Enlargement
Commissioner, Olli Rehn, visited Macedonia, in the framework of the visit to the
Western Balkans. Barroso and Rehn, as announced, scheduled meetings with
Macedonian Prime Minister, Vlado Buckovski, Parliament Speaker, Ljupco
Jordanovski, and President Branko Crvenkovski, New Europe reported.
The EC President was to deliver a speech before Macedonian deputies. Barroso and
Commissioner Rehn were also to travel to Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro,
including Kosovo, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the Delegation of the
European Commission said, President Barroso and Commissioner Rehn will encourage
the leaders of the countries to reinforce their reform efforts, in order to make
faster progress along the road towards European integration.
Macedonia-Albania share interest in energy
Minister of Economy for Macedonia, Fatmir Besimi, said cooperation between
Macedonia and Albania in the field of energy has a good prospect and that the
two neighbouring countries are interested in the development of electro energy
and gas sector, SEEurope reported.
Minister Besimi also mentioned concrete bilateral projects like the construction
of transmitters and transport of natural gas through pipelines. "Macedonia
gives priority to the cooperation with Ministry of Economy of Albania and Kosova.
With the initiative for the establishment of a liberalised integration trade
region, cooperation with Albania and Kosova will be increased more," Besimi
Moldova and Macedonia pledge economic cooperation
The presentation of the Macedonian and Moldovan economy in Moldova and Macedonia
should be carried out in an organised manner, whilst both countries share the
common strategic commitment of integration into the European Union, concluded
Macedonia President, Branko Crvenkovski, and his Moldovan counterpart, Vladimir
Voronin, after meeting in Skopje, New Europe reported.
"Although no great distance lies between the two countries, they know very
little of each other, and the co-operation is far below the potential,"
Crvenkovski and Voronin said. "Despite the fact that all the necessary
legal framework is in place, the annual trade exchange totals as little as
US$400,000," Crvenkovski said. Moldovan Vice-Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister, Andrei Stratan, and Macedonian Finance Minister, Nikola Popovski,
signed an agreement on avoiding dual taxation. Stratan also held talks with the
Macedonian Foreign Minister, Ilinka Mitreva. They discussed the possibilities of
boosting the economic cooperation, and signed agreements on avoiding dual
taxation and on fiscal evasion protection.
FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
Macedonia joins European Free Trade Agreement
The area of free trade existing between Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia was
extended to Macedonia, following the signing of the accession to CEFTA agreement
(Central European Free Trade Agreement), ACT Media news agency reported.
According to the Ministry of Economy and Trade, the accession agreement was
signed in Skopje, by the minister of Economy of Macedonia, Fatmir Besimi, the
Subsecretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Trade Nicolae Romulus
Buzdun and by representatives of Bulgaria and Croatia. Trade with industrial
products will be almost completely deregulated, with the exception of a limited
number of goods, in which case a schedule for gradual customs tariff reduction
has been settled (in the case of import from Romania of surface organic agents
and cleaning products, asphalt or similar products, sinks, and in the case of
import from Macedonia for window frames, leather shoe upper parts and rubber
soles and heels).
Regarding the trade with agricultural produce, the results of bilateral
negotiations materialised in mutual agreement. As chairman-in-office of CEFTA,
Romania actively supports the extension and modernisation process of CEFTA,
monitoring the meeting of CEFTA objectives. The agreement aims to develop trade
relations between participating countries and to keep the CEFTA role in
preparing the participant countries to access the European Union.
Mobimak to rebrand into T-Mobil Macedonia
The Board of Directors of "Macedonian Telecommunications" adopted a
decision for Mobimak and Telecom to become part of the Deutsche Telecom's brand,
Makfax News Agency reported.
The rebranding process was due to begin in March by changing the name of JSC
Mobimak into T-Mobil Makedonija and to resume in the first half of 2007 by
rebranding of Macedonian Telecommunications. According to the press release, the
rebranding "will make available to Mobimak's users high quality services to
which over 80 million clients of T-Mobile throughout the globe have grown
accustomed." Deutsche Telecom will cover all costs of the rebranding
operations which will bring a new name and identity to customers throughout its
Macedonia railways and World Bank ink deal
Public Enterprise "Macedonian Railways" and the World Bank signed an
agreement recently on a loan totalling 15 million Euro intended for completion
of the company's transformation process, Makfax reported.
According to the Reform Project, to be funded by the WB loan, Macedonian
Railways (MR) is to be divided into two infrastructure segments, which will
remain in the state's ownership, and a joint stock company, which will be
responsible for the transport operations. The decision on the company's division
is expected to be adopted by the end of March 2006, while the study on
privatisation of the transportation segment of MR is due to be elaborated within
the next two years. The MR transformation loan has been approved under a
five-year grace period and 17 years of loan repayment. The director of MR, Milco
Smilevski, and the WB's permanent representative in Skopje, Sandra Blumenkamp,
signed the agreement.