Books on Macedonia
% of GDP
Update No: 105 (30/01/06)
PM Buckovski's interview with MIA; Macedonia to get out of
transition in 2006
In the West incumbent politicians boast that they have been in the process
of boosting growth. In the Balkans right now one is grateful enough for getting
back to the pre-bellum past.
Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski said in an interview with the Macedonian
Information Agency (MIA) that Macedonia's transition period will come to an end
in 2006, as the GDP is going to reach the level of the one in 1990, which,
according to official criteria, means that the economy has completed its
transition, entering a phase of intensive development.
Citizens have already felt the benefits of the positive trends in the country,
such as GDP growth of 3.8-4.0%: an increase of industrial production by 7.6%, an
increase of exports by 26% in comparison to that of imports by15.2%, and a
reduction of the unemployment rate to 6.3%.
The country's credit rating has been improved according to the international
Standard & Poor's agency, the deficit reduced by a record five percentage
points, and Macedonia has a three-year stand-by arrangement with the
International Monetary Fund. "These are facts that cannot be denied by
blanket statements. The Government is ready to face opposition parties at the
Parliament. We will request a special session to present a report on putting the
Government's economic programme into effect," Buckovski says.
Asked about corruption and crime, which are high on the list of Macedonia's
problems, Buckovski said serious steps forward have been taken in this respect.
"Finance, Interior Ministers Nikola Popovski and Ljubomir Mihajlovski, who
enjoy my full support, have been working actively, along with all relevant
institutions, on these problems. Their efforts and results are a proof of the
Government's commitment to deal with all violations of the law, particularly in
regard to corruption and crime. Let's not forget that now the Anti-Corruption
Commission is established as an independent controlling centre, while the
Government has a constructive relations with all civic organizations that treat
these matters," Buckovski says.
In regard to possible early elections, Buckovski says a fair and democratic
process is Macedonia's top priority. Opposition parties have been insisting on
early elections for a long period, presenting weekly arguments.
"I understand the wish of VMRO-DPMNE and its leader Nikola Gruevski for
early elections now when this Government is receiving rather positive signals
from the European Union. But I don't understand the lack of ability for
interpreting the EU recommendations and the country's real needs,"
Buckovski says, pointing out that, not the timing, but the legitimacy of
elections is the key issue, which is one of the conditions for launching the EU
"Therefore, it is more important, as relevant and serious political
parties, to focus on amending the electoral legislation and organizing a
legitimate election process. Naturally we are ready to lock horns at elections,
but the country's activities on the road to EU are top priorities,"
Macedonia: Wobbling toward Europe
The latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines Macedonia's
evolution from the brink of conflict to candidacy for membership in the European
Union. It warns that the country's future, as a full European partner, will only
be secure if it implements key reforms. Inadequate police and judicial reform
are two key obstacles, along with the repatriation of war crimes cases from the
Hague tribunal and ambiguity surrounding the amnesty law. Meanwhile, tensions
within the Islamic community are feeding exaggerated rumours of a Wahhabi
"The EU's decision at the end of last year to grant Macedonia candidacy
status was an important boost to its prestige and self-confidence," says
Jennifer Leonard, Crisis Group analyst. "But it still has a long way to go
before it can be considered functional enough to enter into membership
The international community should keep pressure on the government to deliver on
its rhetoric and move more quickly and seriously to reform the police and
judiciary sectors. While the government has made notable progress in the police
sector by recruiting a more multi-ethnic force, assuming responsibility for the
borders and establishing a police academy and organised crime unit, it has yet
to tackle fundamental management issues such as creating a merit-based personnel
system, decentralising authority and increasing transparency and accountability.
The crippled judicial system faces a serious backlog of cases and suffers from
excessive political influence. The government must take immediate steps to root
out corruption and train capable judges. This is especially crucial in light of
the imminent return of four war crimes cases from the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which poses serious political and procedural
questions for Macedonia and the international community.
"Macedonia is still a maturing democracy, and vulnerable to spoilers who
want to hijack an imperfect reform process," says Nicholas Whyte, Crisis
Group's Europe Program Director. "It's now up to the political leadership
to decide if Macedonia will limp awkwardly or stride confidently toward European
Japanese delegation in Skopje for talks
The representatives of the Michibushi Corporation, Masahiko Yamamoto, from the
London Research Centre, and Hiroharu Okamoto, from Istanbul Branch Office,
visited the Economic Chamber of Macedonia, New Europe reported.
They discussed the country's business climate, particularly investment in
sectors like infrastructure, electric power industry, ecology, selling of cars,
chemical industry, etc.
Industrial production increases by 23.1 %
The National Statistics Office data showed that industrial production in
Macedonia in December 2005 increased by 23.1 per cent as compared with the
average production in 2003. This increased production is due to the increased
production in energy by 21.3 per cent, Intermediate goods industries, except
energy by 21.4 per cent, Durable consumer goods industries by 20.3 per cent and
Non-Durable consumer goods industries by 30.1 per cent, but is lower in Capital
goods industries by 11.5 per cent. The industrial production in manufacturing
industry in December 2005 increased by 22.8 per cent. Manufacture of food
products and beverages; Manufacture of wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of
fur; Publishing, printing and reproduction of recorded media; Manufacture of
coke, refined petroleum products and nuclear fuel; Manufacture of chemicals and
chemical products; Manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products;
Manufacture of basic metals; Manufacture of electrical machinery and apparatus
n.e.c. with 58.7 per cent in total production of Macedonia. The industrial
production in the section Mining and quarrying in December 2005 in comparison
with average production in 2003 was increased by 97 per cent as a result of the
increased production in the divisions Mining of metal ores and other mining and
quarrying, New Europe reported.
Buckovski in Portugal, meets Gates
Prime Minister, Vlado Buckovski, met recently in Lisbon with representatives of
the Portuguese company "Somag," which is interested in investing in
Macedonia's road infrastructure and specialised tourism, New Europe reported.
The company is interested in constructing, developing, and maintaining the Axes
No. eight and 10 as part of the European Road Network. "Somag" has
already been engaged in Greece and Bulgaria, being among the five top companies
in Europe for road infrastructure, water, and waste treatment. Buckovski
attended the Microsoft Europe Government Leaders Forum in Portugal, where he met
with Microsoft founder Bill Gates to discuss Macedonia's economy regarding its
candidate status for the European Union membership and possible cooperation.