Books on Macedonia
Update No: 115 - (20/12/06)
The barbarians come good
The Macedonians occupy an unfortunate part of the Balkans. They have no access
to the sea. They are bounded by Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and former Yugoslavia.
Macedonia may be a backwater; but it is a Balkan backwater - which means that it
counts. The one thing that became evident in 1999 was that the Balkans are
European; hence mayhem there matters and needs to be addressed.
Macedonia is in negotiations with the EU and NATO. A piece of the complex
Balkans jigsaw puzzle it is becoming a force that counts.
An instance of this is that a top Macedonian delegation led by Prime Minister
Nikola Gruevski had an official audience on December 14th with the Head of the
Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI. Gruevski said the meeting focused on
Macedonia-Vatican relations and thus Macedonia could rely on the Holy See's
support for Macedonian aspirations for EU accession.
"We can rely on Vatican as supporter and partner to the Republic of
Macedonia," said Gruevski, adding that" both interlocutors also talked
about the situation in Macedonia, being an EU candidate country-Vatican's
support for EU is extremely important for us (Macedonia)."
Furthermore, he briefed the Pontiff on Government's plans to establish religious
instructions in schools and to renovate Mother Theresa's house.(Mother Theresa
was born in Skopje when this mainly Orthodox country was a part of the Ottoman
The Pontiff was informed of the new law on holidays, as well as with
Government's plans for establishing religious instructions in schools.
It was a very pleasant moment to be in the Vatican, added Gruevski. He said that
meetings were held with Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
and with Secretary for Relations with States Monsignor Dominique Mamberti.
"We've invited them to Macedonia, to attend the conference which is due to
take place in October. It will be a conference for peaceful and civilised
dialogue." According to Gruevski, Radio Vatican might start broadcasting
programmes in Macedonian language as of next year.
The meeting also focused on Greece's name dispute with Macedonia. The Pope
has to be non-committal here.
In the course of the meeting with Benedict XVI, Gruevski briefed him on the
Macedonian Orthodox Church's dispute with the Serbian Church. "I've
elaborated the absurdity of the situation that's taking place with the Serbian
Orthodox Church. They are mostly neutral on the issue, however they've always
had determined their own influence," said Gruevski.
He visited St. Clement's Basilica, where he laid flowers on St. Cyril's tomb.
The delegation, paying the first official visit to Vatican, included the Foreign
Minister Antonio Milososki and Vice PMs Zoran Stavreski and Imer Selmani.
Government coordination meeting on seized firearms
The police on December 14th seized weapons during a routine control of three
trucks with Bulgarian register plates. The firearms included 300 pieces of
machine guns calibre 7,62mm with 300 stands, and 33 mortars calibre 120mm. The
truck drivers have been detained, along with nine other individuals.
Gun-running is endemic in the Balkans and needs to be curbed. No sooner was
Gruevski back from Rome than he held a coordination meeting with Interior and
Defence Ministers Gordana Jankulovska and Lazar Elenovski on December 18th,
focused on details regarding the latest occurrences related to the case of
firearms and their illegal transport, says a Government press release. It was
not revealed to whom these weapons were being supplied.
Gruevski asked for a swift resolution of the case and a determination of
responsibility of all individuals involved, because the incident could have an
effect on Macedonia's image. Annulment of the contract with factory MZT and
dismissal of the Macedonian Army (ARM) Commander of Logistical Support are some
of the measures that the Defence Ministry has undertaken upon the revelation of
the illegal transfer of weapons with Bulgarian trucks.
Defence Minister Lazar Elenovski stated on the same day that he had asked the
General Staff, the army service for security and intelligence, as well as the
logistics sector to prepare a report on their role and the tasks that should be
undertaken regarding the case.
"We will not allow any illegal activities in the Defence Ministry,"
said Elenovski, adding that they would protect the Ministry's rating in any way
possible, along with the Government's rating, and Macedonia's international
Renova invests 4m Euro in new production units
Building materials producer Renova of Macedonia has allocated four million Euro
for the construction of two factories in 2006, in Bitola, south-western
Macedonia and in Albania, website reporter.gr said.
Renova's investments in production amount to 20 million Euro. The company's nine
months sales revenue rose by 23.27 per cent year-on-year to 4.1 million Euro.
The company estimates a 14.25 per cent increase in production for 2006.
Tender announced for third mobile operator
Four domestic telecom companies and nine foreign companies expressed interest in
becoming Macedonia's third mobile operator. The tender for the new mobile
operator was announced in October and the deadline for submission of the bids is
January 12th, MRT Online reported.
By July 2007, the company will be ready to activate. T-Mobile and Cosmofon are
the two current mobile operators in Macedonia with 1.3 million users, amounting
to about 62 per cent of the population. Comparative analysis has shown that this
number is below the average in countries in the region, and far behind EU
countries. If the third mobile operator contributes to lowering the prices and
improving the service conditions, usage is expected to increase, it was
reported. To enter the Macedonian market, the company should make a single
payment of at least five million Euro for the usage of frequencies. Bidding
companies must verify compliance with this term with a bank guarantee bond
amounting to the sum they plan to pay. The winning bidder must fulfil certain
conditions. Firstly, the company must start operating within six months. Its
signal must cover 30 per cent of the country in the first year, 50 per cent in
the second year and 90 per cent by the fourth year.
The transportation and communications ministry will issue construction licenses
for the base stations to the new mobile operator. Another key condition is that
the candidates must currently have at least two million users and have made
annual profits of more than 300 million Euro in 2004 and 2005. The selections
criterion is on the basis of the price offered. The third mobile operator will
have the right to use the frequencies for the next 10 years, with a possible
10-year extension. "The government promised that it would make this large
step within 60 days from coming to power," Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski
was quoted by the news agency as saying. "The government has delivered on
the promise," he added.