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macedonia  

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MACEDONIA


 

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: 113 - (26/10/06)

José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, nominated Macedonia - officially: "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," or "F.Y.R.O.M." - as a candidate member state in November 2005, a recommendation that was taken over by the European Council (the European heads of government) one month later.
Vigorous EU and NATO diplomacy prevented the outbreak of a Kosovo-like civil-war between native Macedonians and ethnic Albanians in 2001, but tensions have occurred ever since. Guiding Macedonia to the EU altar might be a good incentive for consolidating a lasting peace in the country.

New government wants to join NATO 2009, EU 2013, says premier 
Macedonia has a new centre-right government with a young reformist prime minister, Nikola Gruevski. He is a 36-year-old former finance minister and banker whose new government coalition took power in August. He laid out his vision for his country on October 16th. He wants it 
to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation by 2009 and the European Union by 2013. 
Gruevski, in an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, underlined that a firm EU and NATO membership perspective was vital for ensuring political stability in the entire Balkans region. "We are very dedicated to continuing the process of EU integration and NATO integration," said Gruevski, 
Macedonia wants to be invited to join NATO at the Alliance's 2008 summit and formally accede either that year or in 2009, said Gruevski, who was in Berlin on his first official foreign visit for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. 
Gruevski called on the EU to next year set a date for starting negotiations to join the 25-nation bloc and said Macedonia should become a full member in "six or seven years." He admitted Macedonians were "disappointed" over a growing anti - enlargement mood in older EU states amid concern over the Union's "absorption capacity" to deal with new - and poorer - members. 
"We are too small a country to be a problem ... we only have two million people," said the Macedonian premier, adding this was less than many European cities, including Berlin with its population of 3.4 million. But it is not alone in wanting to join, if one adds up all the aspirants together, it comes to a lot more.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has drawn a line against any new members for a while, undoubtedly reflecting popular opinion. He said in early October that it was impossible at present to give Macedonia any timetable for EU membership. 

Economic recovery at last; 'fully focused on reforms'
Gruevski underlined that progress in Brussels toward EU membership was vital because it would encourage people in his country to support tough measures needed to revamp the economy and institutions required for admission to the elite club. "We are fully focused on reforms - especially the economy and the fight against corruption and criminality," vowed the Macedonian leader. 
After years of stagnation, Macedonia's economy began posting serious growth in 2003 and last year grew by 3.7 per cent. 
Seeking stronger growth, the government is implementing a flat-tax of 12 per cent for both personal income and corporate profits from January 1, 2007 and will reduce both rates to 10 per cent from January 1, 2008, said Gruevski. 

Social stability a 'priority'
But the economy is only one of Macedonia's challenges. 
Maintaining stability in the country - which almost lurched into a civil war in 2001 between its ethnic Macedonian majority and Albanian minority comprising a quarter of the population - remains the other overriding government priority, said Gruevski. 
He said up to 95 per cent of the terms of the 2001 Ohrid Agreement, under which ethnic Albanian extremists laid down their arms in exchange for greater rights, had been accepted. 
"But not all of them are implemented. So our task is to implement the rest of the Orhid Agreement and to keep the stability," said Gruevski, adding that getting more Albanians into the public sector remained a key goal. 
Turning to the neighbouring mainly Albanian region of Kosovo - ruled by the United Nations since 1999 after Serbian troops were defeated in a NATO-led war - Gruevski insisted his country could live with any final status agreement. "If the final decision will be independence we are ready to accept this," he said. Negotiations for Kosovo's final status began early this year and most observers expect the province to win some form of independence from Serbia to which it still formally belongs. 
Gruevski cautioned, however, that strict guarantees were needed from the international community to prevent radical Albanians from making any claims against his own country. 

What's in a name?
Regarding Macedonia's dispute with Greece over its name - Greece insists the country be called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - Gruevski said he was optimistic a compromise deal could be reached. 
While declaring that giving up his country's constitutional name "is not possible," he said it would be possible to use a different name for all bilateral agreements with Greece. 
Athens fears that recognising the name Macedonia could imply territorial claims on a northern Greek region also called Macedonia, the homeland of Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great no less.
Greek companies are investing heavily in Macedonia despite the name dispute, said Gruevski, with a grin, adding: "I believe that the Greek political class will understand the same thing in the future." He noted that the United States, Russia, China and over 100 other countries had recognised the constitutional name Macedonia. Members of the EU do not, due to Greek insistence. 
"If it's possible in the future ... we would like to be recognised under the constitutional name from Germany," said Gruevski, adding that he had "big hopes" for Berlin's EU presidency next year. However, Berlin is unlikely to change its position on the issue. The Greeks are more important by far than the Macedonians. There is a long tradition of Hellenism in Germany, going back to the eighteenth century. As there is in the UK and France which helped Greece win its independence in 1821-31, Schliemann and Troy, Byron and Missolonghi still resonate today.

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BANKING

EBRD acquires 25% in Macedonia's TTK Bank 

The EBRD acquired 25 per cent of TTK Bank AD Skopje, a medium-sized bank in Macedonia, to promote its restructuring and growth plans, news website reporter.gr recently reported. 
Part of that restructuring process includes the implementation of an Institutional Building Plan (IBP) that will help develop TTK into a modern, efficient institution. The IBP will particularly help raise corporate governance standards to international levels, strengthen control processes and risk management procedures and train staff. The IBP will be financed through technical cooperation funds from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
Director of the EBRD's Bank Equity team Antero Baldaia said the bank's investment will help make TTK a more efficient bank and help strengthen its finances to reach more small and medium enterprises (SMEs), therefore supporting economic growth at the grass-roots levels. A big challenge in Macedonia is to consolidate the many financial institutions into more efficient, streamlined institutions, and this project demonstrates exactly that, he added. Established in July 2006, following the merger of two smaller banks - Teteks-Kreditna Banka AD Skopje, and Tetovska Banka AD Tetovo - TTK is based in Macedonia's capital city Skopje. While the bank operates in six locations in Skopje and 16 in another 11 cities throughout the country, the Tetovo region in North West of Macedonia remains TTK's stronghold. The bank's largest shareholder is Teteks, a textile firm from Tetovo. Chairman of the Board of Directors at TTK Gligorie Gogovski said the bank is growing into a major financier of SMEs in Macedonia, and having the EBRD as a shareholder will help raise its position on the local banking market through the quality of its services and its professionalism. Bank General Manager Atanas Spiroski added that TTK already has a client base of more than 7,000 entities, and that the signing supports TTK's strategy to expand its operations. The EBRD is one of the largest investors in Macedonia, having committed more than 406 million Euro in 25 projects.

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FOREIGN DEBT

Macedonia's long-term foreign debt up to 1.7bn Euro 

Macedonia's long-term foreign debt rose to US$2.183 billion at the end of August, from a revised US$2.161 billion a month earlier, news website reporter.gr said, citing the central bank's preliminary data. 
Macedonia's new borrowing through August totalled US$276.57 million. Macedonia paid US$385.60 million to service its long-term foreign debt in January-August 2006.

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

World Bank's Katsu meets with top Macedonian officials 

World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Shigeo Katsu, started a three-day visit to Macedonia on September 27th, Makfax reported. 
According to the agenda, Katsu held talks with Macedonia's Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, members of the government's economic team and National Bank of Macedonia President, Petar Goshev. In the course of his visit, Katsu was also due to meet with the Mayors of Ohrid and Tetovo. 

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