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MACEDONIA


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

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)

Books on Macedonia

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: 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 independence. 

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 territorial gains. 
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", Gruevski stressed.
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 year.
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 possible."
Berisha, the host of the Durres meeting, also expressed high expectations of the Riga summit.
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 integration process."
Sanader reiterated that individual results of the candidate countries would be evaluated before joining the alliance.

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BANKING

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.

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ENERGY

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 said.

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EUROPEAN INTEGRATION

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.

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FOREIGN COOPERATION

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 emphasised.

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.

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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.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

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 regions.

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TRANSPORT

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.

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