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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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% of GDP 

Update No: 107 (28/04/06)

Buckovski discusses EU aspirations 
Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's President Rene Van der Linden met in Strasbourg in Mid-April, with Macedonia's EU membership bid as the chief topic of their talks. Macedonia is very eager to join the EU.
Buckovski said that the recommendations from Van der Linden were very helpful. He added that the best piece of advice was that "Macedonia should look back every now and then and to see what is happening in Brussels and Strasbourg, but still focus on its own business." 
"I hope that in the future, those responsible for the EU's foreign policy will return to the principle that EU enlargement will not end with 27 members. It is very unpleasant for the rules to change while the race is still in progress." Buckovski said. Official policy remains that the EU can be enlarged beyond the 27 members it will have once Bulgaria and Romania have joined.
Rene van der Linden said that Macedonia has made great progress and that the continuation of coexistence between different cultural, religious and ethnic communities will be good for the country. Van der Linden said that Macedonia is on the right path and commended the work of its government and Prime Minister. 
He said that the Council of Europe will continue to support Macedonia in monitoring dialogue and will be sending a 20-member parliamentary delegation to monitor the forthcoming elections in Macedonia.

EU membership would guarantee peace
US Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said on April 12th that the EU must assure countries of the Balkans regions that they will all become members; Kosovo included. 
Speaking at a conference held at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., Burns said that such a strong stance is necessary for securing peace in Europe. Burns said that the Balkans remain an island in the heart of Europe which is not affiliated with Euro-Atlantic institutions such as the EU and NATO, adding that this needs to change. 
"All of us in Europe and the US have decided that Serbia, when it becomes democratic, as well as Croatia, Albania and Macedonia and an independent Kosovo, if they decide to enter the United Nations by the end of the year, which seems to be the goal of the current discussions, that all these countries must have a European omen. We Americans also think that Europe must tell these nations that they are guaranteed a place within the European Union. And NATO must send a clear message, because the basis strategic goal of every American administration since the beginning of the cold war is that European must be whole, free and peaceful. We are close to reaching that important strategic goal, but the Balkans still remains an unfinished job and we must not forget this." Burns said.

PM Buckovski: Macedonia - miracle in the Balkans
Burns is here echoing what Buckovski has already said in a more grandiloquent way himself. Macedonia is a small miracle in the Balkans and if it did not exist, the country should have been invented for the region's stability, Buckovski had said earlier in the year in Brussels at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
"After meeting Scheffer and other NATO officials I feel proud of compliments paid to Macedonia for its reform efforts," Buckovski had said, adding that the demonstrated friendship towards the country sends a clear message to all political parties and citizens that the forthcoming elections must be democratic and fair. 
He expressed the belief that Macedonia would be invited to join NATO at the Alliance's Summit in 2008, MIA's special correspondent reported from Brussels. Scheffer said he could not present a schedule for admitting new members, pointing out that all aspirant countries should complete necessary reforms before being invited to join NATO. 
"Macedonia has done a lot in regard to police, judicial reform and equitable presentation of communities, for which it deserves an 'applause,'" Scheffer said, pointing out that NATO Summit in Riga, scheduled for this November will tackle the enlargement process, but make no decisions on admitting new members. 
Scheffer said he expected the parliamentary elections in Macedonia to be "110 per cent fair and democratic," being assured by Buckovski that everything has been done for the expectations to become reality.
Buckovski and Scheffer also shared opinions on developments in the Balkans and NATO policy towards the region. At a press conference, Buckovski said the statement of Albanian Foreign Minister on regional borders was counterproductive, adding that such positions do not contribute to realising the aspirations of the Pristina authorities for independence. "Skopje and Pristina must keep working on confidence building, but the decision on Kosovo status is not up to Macedonia," Buckovski said.

Dnevnik: Macedonia violates Bulgarians' rights
There are problems with other Balkan peoples even closer to home than Kosovo, still formally part of Serbia. Many Bulgarians have never accepted the independence of Macedonia, like many Greeks for that matter. Both countries carved great chunks out of the Macedonia that had been under the sway of the Ottomans, following the Balkans wars of 1912-13. What was left, the present republic, was the chunk that then came under the rule of Serbia.
A group of Bulgarian MPs from the coalition of the Bulgarian People's Union (BPU) have sent a letter to Buckovski, in which they accuse Macedonia of violating the human rights of Bulgarians in Macedonia, the Macedonian newspaper, Dnevnik, has reported. Krasimir Karakachanov, an MP from BPU, explained in Sofia on April 14th that the letter referred to the "Radko" case.
Karakachanov stresses in the letter that the executive and judicial authorities in Macedonia have carried out the investigation only in favour of one of the sides and the case ended with the sentencing of only two members of Radko, whose verdicts were extended this March to a six-month imprisonment.
Krasimir Karakachanov is a leader of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization - Bulgarian National Movement (VMRO-BND). It is an anti-Macedonian party in Bulgaria, whose major political platform is the denial of the originality of Macedonia and the characteristics of Macedonians, as well as the denial of the existence of a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria, the Macedonian newspaper writes.


On May 24th, 2000, the organization Radko was established in the town of Ohrid, reports the FOCUS News Agency. Its program envisaged achieving a recognition of the cultural rights of Bulgarians in Macedonia. During the presentation of the organization, three people - Pero Trajkovski, Tose Trajanovski and Boris Nesovski - used violence throwing smoke crackers, thus stirring clashes.
The Macedonian executive and judicial authorities started proceedings against two Bulgarians in Macedonia - Jovan Stojanovski and Alexander Markovski over charges of having caused physical injuries to journalist Spase Suplinovski. After a protracted lawsuit, the two men were sentenced to a three-month imprisonment. Later their sentence was extended to six months.



Macedonia - Montenegro discuss cooperation 

During talks in Podgorica recently, Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic, and his counterpart from Macedonia, Vlado Buckovski, called for greater regional cooperation, New Europe reported.
The two PMs agreed that promoting a spirit of stability and solidarity is crucial this year, given a series of key regional developments. These include Montenegro's independence referendum process, the constitutional reform process and the determination of Kosovo's final status.



Industrial production decreases 10.1% in February 

Industrial production in Macedonia in February 2006, in comparison with the average production in 2003, decreased by 10.1 per cent, New Europe reported.
This is due to the decrease in production in intermediate goods industries, except energy by 6.1 per cent, capital goods industries by 30.0 per cent, durable consumer goods industries by 19.4 per cent and non-durable consumer goods industries by 22.1 per cent. The manufacturing industry's industrial production also decreased 15.6 per cent in the same period, due to decreased production in the manufacturing of food products, beverages, tobacco products, textiles, rubber plastic, non-metallic mineral and fabricated metal products -except machinery and equipment with 45.0 per cent in total production of Macedonia. Decreased production was also seen in publishing, printing and the reproduction of recorded media.




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