Macedonia

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MACEDONIA

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS MACEDONIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Republika Makedonija

CAPITAL: Skopje

FLAG: The flag consists of a gold sun with eight rays on a red field.

ANTHEM: Denec Nad Makedonija (Today over Macedonia)

MONETARY UNIT: The currency in use is the denar (den). Denominations from smallest to largest are fifty deni, one denar, two denari, and five denari. us$1 = den0.02044 (or den1 = us$48.92; as of 2005), but exchange rates are likely to fluctuate.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in effect in Macedonia.

HOLIDAYS: Orthodox Christmas, 7 January; national holiday, 2 August; Day of Referendum, 8 September.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Macedonia is a landlocked nation located in southeastern Europe. Macedonia is slightly larger than the state of Vermont with a total area of 25,333 sq km (9,781 sq mi). Macedonia shares boundaries with Serbia to the n, Bulgaria to the e, Greece to the s, and Albania to the w, and has a total boundary length of 766 km (476 mi). Macedonia's capital city, Skopje, is located in the northwestern part of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

The topography of Macedonia features a mountainous landscape covered with deep basins and valleys. There are two large lakes, each divided by a frontier line. Approximately 24% of Macedonia's land is arable. Natural resources include chromium, lead, zinc, manganese, tungsten, nickel, low-grade iron ore, asbestos, sulfur, and timber. Located above a thrust fault line of the Eurasian Tectonic Plate, the nation experiences frequent tremors and occasional severe earthquakes. In 1963, 6.0 magnitude quake at Skopje caused the death of about 1,100 people and destroyed much of the city.

CLIMATE

Macedonia's climate features hot summers and cold winters. Fall tends to be dry in the country. In July the average temperature is between 20 and 23°c (68 and 73°f). The average temperature in January is between -20 and 0°c (-4 and 32°f). Rainfall averages 51 cm (20 in) a year. Snowfalls can be heavy in winter.

FLORA AND FAUNA

The terrain of Macedonia is rather hilly. Between the hills are deep basins and valleys, populated by European bison, fox, rabbits, brown bears, and deer. Pine trees are common in the higher mountain regions while beech and oak cover some of the lower mountain regions. The Macedonian pine is an ancient native species found most prominently on Mount Pelister near the south-west border. Ducks, turtles, frogs, raccoons, and muskrats inhabit the country's waterways. As of 2002, there were at least 78 species of mammals, 109 species of birds, and over 3,500 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

Air pollution from metallurgical plants is a problem in Macedonia, as in the other former Yugoslav republics. In 2000, the total of carbon dioxide emissions was at 11.2 million metric tons. All urban dwellers have access to safe drinking water. Earthquakes are a natural hazard. Forest and woodland cover 35% of the nation's land area. As of 2003, approximately 7.1% of Macedonia's total land area was protected, including one World Heritage Site and one Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included nine types of mammals, nine species of birds, two types of reptiles, four species of fish, and five species of invertebrates. Threatened species include the field adder, Apollo butterfly, and noble crayfish. One species of mollusk has become extinct.

POPULATION

The population of Macedonia in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 2,039,000, which placed it at number 139 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 11% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 20% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 100 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.4%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 2,120,000. The population density was 79 per sq km (205 per sq mi), with lowland regions being the most populated.

The UN estimated that 59% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.73%. The capital city, Skopje, had a population of 447,000 in that year. Most towns have fewer than 15,000 residents.

MIGRATION

In February 1999, violence in Kosovo forced more than 10,000 refugees to flee to Macedonia. The situation reached an emergency level when hundreds of thousands of refugees were arriving in late March and early April. By early June, the refugee population had grown to some 260,000. Macedonia did not have sufficient resources to cope with an emergency of this magnitude. At the government's request, some third-country asylum nations enacted bilateral evacuation programs, independently of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Also, a joint UNHCR/IOM Humanitarian Evacuation Programme was established, under which more than 90,000 refugees were evacuated from Macedonia to 29 countries. A Humanitarian Transfer Programme was also organized to set up camps in Albania for 1,300 refugees. The total number of migrants that year was 626,000, including 484,400 refugees.

In 2003 remittances to Macedonia were $148 million. The net migration rate for Macedonia in 2005 was -0.7 migrants per 1,000 population. The government views the migration levels as too high.

ETHNIC GROUPS

According to the 2002 census, Macedonians comprise about 64.2% of the population. Another 25.2% are ethnic Albanians, mostly living in the west, particularly the northwest. Other groups include Turks (3.9%), Roma (2.7%), Serbs (1.8%), and others (including Bosniaks and Vlachs, 2.2%).

LANGUAGES

Macedonian is a southern Slavic tongue that was not officially recognized until 1944, and is the primary language of 66.5% of the population. Bulgarians claim it is merely a dialect of their own language. As in Bulgarian, there are virtually no declensions and the definite article is suffixed. Also as in Bulgarianand unlike any other Slavic languagean indefinite article exists as a separate word. It is written in the Cyrillic alphabet, but with two special charactersr and k. Minority languages are officially recognized at the local level. Albanian is spoken by about 25.1% of the population, Turkish by about 3.5%, Roma by 1.9%, Serbian by 1.2%, and various other languages by 1.8%.

RELIGIONS

About 66% of the population are nominally Macedonian Orthodox; another 30% are Muslim, 1% are Roman Catholic, and about 3% belong to various other faiths. The other faiths are mostly various Protestant denominations. Islam is commonly practiced among ethnic Albanians living primarily in the western part of the country and in the capital of Skopje. The Roman Catholic community is centered in Skopje, as is a small Jewish community.

Though the constitution allows for religious freedom, the government places some restrictions on religious groups that concern the establishment of houses of worship and the collection of monetary donations. Religious groups are registered under the Law on Religious Communities and Religious Groups.

TRANSPORTATION

A railway connects Skopje with Serbia to the north and the Greek port of Salonika to the south. In 2004, rail trackage totaled 699 km (434 mi) of standard gauge track, of which 233 km (144 mi) were electrified. As of 2002, a 56 km (35 mi) extension of the Kumanovo-Beljakovce line to the Bulgarian border at Gyueschevo was under construction. In 2001, there were 8,684 km (5,396 mi) of highways, of which 5,540 km (3,442 mi) were paved, including 133 km (83 mi) of expressways.

As of 2004, there were an estimated 17 airports, including 10 with paved runways (as of 2005). In 2003, about 201,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

HISTORY

Origin and Middle Ages

Macedonia is an ancient name, historically related to Philip II of Macedon, whose son became Alexander the Great, founder of one of the great empires of the ancient world. As a regional name, Macedonia, the land of the Macedons, has been used since ancient Greek times for the territory extending north of Thessaly and into the Vardar River Valley and between Epirus on the west and Thrace on the east. In Alexander the Great's time, Macedonia extended west to the Adriatic Sea over the area then called Illyris, part of today's Albania. Under the Roman Empire, Macedonia was extended south over Thessaly and Achaia.

Beginning in the 5th century ad Slavic tribes began settling in the Balkan area, and by 700 they controlled most of the Central and Peloponnesian Greek lands. The Slavic conquerors were mostly assimilated into Greek culture except in the northern Greek area of Macedonia proper and the areas of northern Thrace populated by "Bulgarian" Slavs. That is how St. Cyril and Methodius, two Greek brothers and scholars who grew up in the Macedonian city of Salonika, were able to become the "Apostles of the Slavs," having first translated Holy Scriptures in 863 into the common Slavic language they had learned in the Macedonian area.

Through most of the later Middle Ages, Macedonia was an area contested by the Byzantine Empire, with its Greek culture and Orthodox Christianity, the Bulgarian Kingdom, and particularly the 14th century Serbian empire of Dušan the Great. The Bulgarian and Serbian empires contributed to the spread of Christianity through the establishment of the Old Church Slavic liturgy.

After Dušan's death in 1355 his empire collapsed, partly due to the struggle for power among his heirs and partly to the advances of the Ottoman Turks. Following the defeat of the Serbs at the Kosovo Field in 1389, the Turks conquered the Macedonian area over the next half century and kept it under their control until the 1912 Balkan war.

Under Ottoman Rule

The decline of the Ottoman Empire brought about renewed competition over Slavic Macedonia between Bulgaria and Serbia. After the Russo-Turkish war of 1877 ended in a Turkish defeat, Bulgaria, an ally of Russia, was denied the prize of the Treaty of San Stefano (1878) in which Turkey had agreed to an enlarged and autonomous Bulgaria that would have included most of Macedonia. Such an enlarged Bulgariawith control of the Vardar River Valley and access to the Aegean Seawas, however, a violation of a prior Russo-Austrian agreement. The Western powers opposed Russia's penetration into the Mediterranean through the port of Salonika and, at the 1878 Congress of Berlin, forced the "return" of Macedonia and East Rumelia from Bulgaria to Turkey. This action enraged Serbia, which had fought in the war against Turkey, gained its own independence, and hoped to win control of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had been given over to Austrian control, for itself.

In this situation both Serbia and Bulgaria concentrated their efforts on Macedonia, where Greek influence had been very strong through the Greek Orthodox Church. The Bulgarians obtained their own Orthodox Church in 1870, that extended its influence to the Macedonian area and worked in favor of unification with Bulgaria through intensive educational activities designed to "Bulgarize" the Slavic population. Systematic intimidation was also used, when the Bulgarians sent their terrorist units (komite) into the area. The Serbian side considered Macedonia to be Southern Serbia, with its own dialect but using Serbian as its literary language. Serbian schools predated Bulgarian ones in Macedonia and continued with their work.

While individual instances of Macedonian consciousness and language had appeared by the end of the 18th century, it was in the 1850s that "Macedonists" had declared Macedonia a separate Slavic nation. Macedonian Slavs had developed a preference for their central Macedonian dialect and had begun publishing some writings in it rather than using the Bulgaro-Macedonian version promoted by the Bulgarian Church and government emissaries. Thus, Macedonia, in the second half of the 19th century, while still under the weakening rule of the Turks, had become the object of territorial and cultural claims by its Greek, Serb, and Bulgarian neighbors. The most systematic pressure had come from Bulgaria and had caused large numbers of "Bulgaro-Macedonians" to emigrate to Bulgariasome 100,000 in the 1890smainly to Sophia, where they constituted almost half the city's population and an extremely strong pressure group.

Struggle for Autonomy

More and more Macedonians became convinced that Macedonia should achieve at least an autonomous status under Turkey, if not complete independence. In 1893, a secret organization was formed in Salonika aiming at a revolt against the Turks and the establishment of an autonomous Macedonia. The organization was to be independent of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece and was named the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), a group that became Socialist, revolutionary, and terrorist in nature. Much like Ireland's IRA, IMRO spread through Macedonia and became an underground paragovernmental network active up to World War II. A pro-Bulgarian and an independent Macedonian faction soon developed, the first based in Sophia, the second in Salonika. Its strong base in Sophia gave the pro-Bulgarian faction a great advantage and it took control and pushed for an early uprising in order to impress the Western powers into intervening in support of Macedonia.

The large scale uprising took place on 2 August 1903 (Ilinden"St. Elijah's Day") when the rebels took over the town of Kruševo and proclaimed a Socialist Republic. After initial defeats of the local Turkish forces, the rebels were subdued by massive Ottoman attacks using scorched earth tactics and wholesale massacres of the population over a three-month period. Europe and the United States paid attention and forced Turkey into granting reforms to be supervised by international observers. However, the disillusioned IMRO leadership engaged in factional bloody feuds that weakened the IMRO organization and image. This encouraged both Serbs and Greeks in the use of their own armed bandsSerbian Cetniks and Greek Andartecreating an atmosphere of gang warfare in which Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece fought each other (instead of the Turks) over a future division of Macedonia. In the meantime, the Young Turks movement had spread among Turkish officers and military uprisings began in Macedonia in 1906. These uprisings spread and Turkish officers demanded a constitutional system. They believed that Turkey could be saved only by Westernizing. In 1908 the Young Turks prevailed, and offered to the IMRO leadership agrarian reforms, regional autonomy, and introduction of the Macedonian language in the schools. However, the Young Turks turned out to be extreme Turkish nationalists bent on the assimilation of other national groups. Their denationalizing efforts caused further rebellions and massacres in the Balkans. Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro turned for help to the great powers, but to no avail. In 1912 they formed the Balkan League, provisionally agreed on the division of Turkish Balkan territory among themselves, and declared war on Turkey in October 1912 after Turkey refused their request to establish the four autonomous regions of MacedoniaOld Serbia, Epirus, and Albaniaalready provided for in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin.

Balkan Wars

The quick defeat of the Turks by the Balkan League stunned the European powers, particularly when Bulgarian forces reached the suburbs of Istanbul. Turkey signed a treaty in London on 30 May 1913 giving up all European possessions with the exception of Istanbul. However, when Italy and Austria vetoed a provision granting Serbia access to the Adriatic at Durazzo and Alessio and agreed to form an independent Albania, Serbia demanded a larger part of Macedonia from Bulgaria. Bulgaria refused and attacked both Serbian and Greek forces. This caused the second Balkan War that ended in a month with Bulgaria's defeat by Serbia and Greece with help from Romania, Montenegro, and Turkey. The outcome was the partitioning of Macedonia between Serbia and Greece. Turkey regained the Adrianople area it had lost to Bulgaria. Romania gained a part of Bulgarian Dobrudja while Bulgaria kept a part of Thrace and the Macedonian town of Strumica. Thus Southern Macedonia came under the Hellenizing influence of Greece while most of Macedonia was annexed to Serbia. Both Serbia and Greece denied any Macedonian "nationhood." In Greece, Macedonians were treated as "Slavophone" Greeks while Serbs viewed Macedonia as Southern Serbia and Serbian was made the official language of government and instruction in schools and churches.

First and Second Yugoslavia

After World War I, the IMRO organization became a terrorist group operating out of Bulgaria with a nuisance role against Yugoslavia. In later years, some IMRO members joined the Communist Party and tried to work toward a Balkan Federation where Macedonia would be an autonomous member. Its interest in the dissolution of the first Yugoslavia led IMRO members to join with the Croatian Ustaša in the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia and French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou in Marseille on 9 October 1934. During World War II, Bulgaria, Hitler's ally, occupied the central and eastern parts of Macedonia while Albanians, supported by Italy, annexed western Macedonia along with the Kosovo region. Because of Bulgarian control, resistance was slow to develop in Macedonia; a conflict between the Bulgarian and Yugoslav Communist parties also played a part. By the summer of 1943, however, Tito, the leader of the Yugoslav Partisans, took over control of the Communist Party of Macedonia after winning its agreement to form a separate Macedonian republic as part of a Yugoslav federation. Some 120,000 Macedonian Serbs were forced to emigrate to Serbia because they had opted for Serbian citizenship. Partisan activities against the occupiers increased and, by August 1944, the Macedonian People's Republic was proclaimed with Macedonian as the official language and the goal of unifying all Macedonians was confirmed. But this goal was not achieved. However, the "Pirin" Macedonians in Bulgaria were granted their own cultural development rights in 1947, and then lost them after the Stalin-Tito split in 1948. The Bulgarian claims to Macedonia were revived from time to time after 1948.

On the Greek side, there was no support from the Greek Communist Party for the unification of Macedonian Slavs within Greece with the Yugoslav Macedonians, even though Macedonian Slavs had organized resistance units under Greek command and participated heavily in the postwar Greek Communists' insurrection. With Tito's closing the Yugoslav-Greek frontier in July 1949 and ending his assistance to the pro-Cominform Greek Communists, any chance of territorial gains from Greece had dissipated. On the Yugoslav side, Macedonia became one of the co-equal constituent republics of the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia under the Communist regime of Marshal Tito. The Macedonian language became one of the official languages of Yugoslavia, along with Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian, and the official language of the Republic of Macedonia where the Albanian and Serbo-Croatian languages were also used. Macedonian was fully developed into the literary language of Macedonians, used as the language of instruction in schools as well as the newly established Macedonian Orthodox Church. A Macedonian University was established in Skopje, the capital city, and all the usual cultural, political, social, and economic institutions were developed within the framework of the Yugoslav Socialist system of self-management. The main goals of autonomy and socialism of the old IMRO organization were fulfilled, with the exception of the unification of the "Pirin" (Bulgarian) and "Greek" Macedonian lands.

All of the republics of the former Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia share a common history between 1945 and 1991, the year of Yugoslavia's dissolution. The World War II Partisan resistance movement, controlled by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and led by Marshal Tito, won a civil war waged against nationalist groups under foreign occupation, having secured the assistance, and recognition, from both the Western powers and the Soviet Union. Aside from the reconstruction of the country and its economy, the first task facing the new regime was the establishment of its legitimacy and, at the same time, the liquidation of its internal enemies, both actual and potential. The first task was accomplished by the 11 November 1945 elections of a constitutional assembly on the basis of a single candidate list assembled by the People's Front. The list won 90% of the votes cast. The three members of the "coalition" government representing the Royal Yugoslav Government in exile had resigned earlier in frustration and did not run in the elections. The Constitutional Assembly voted against the continuation of the Monarchy and, on 31 January 1946, the new constitution of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was promulgated. Along with state-building activities, the Yugoslav Communist regime carried out ruthless executions, massacres, and imprisonments to liquidate any potential opposition.

The Tito-Stalin conflict that erupted in 1948 was not a real surprise considering the differences the two had had about Tito's refusal to cooperate with other resistance movements against the occupiers in World War II. The expulsion of Tito from the Cominform group separated Yugoslavia from the Soviet Bloc, caused internal purges of pro-Cominform Yugoslav Communist Party members, and also nudged Yugoslavia into a failed attempt to collectivize its agriculture. Yugoslavia then developed its own brand of Marxist economy based on workers' councils and self-management of enterprises and institutions, and became the leader of the nonaligned group of nations in the international arena. Being more open to Western influences, the Yugoslav Communist regime relaxed somewhat its central controls. This allowed for the development of more liberal wings of Communist parties, particularly in Croatia and Slovenia, which agitated for the devolution of power from the federal to the individual republic level in order to better cope with the increasing differentiation between the more productive republics (Slovenia and Croatia) and the less developed areas. Also, nationalism resurfaced with tensions particularly strong between Serbs and Croats in the Croatian Republic, leading to the repression by Tito of the Croatian and Slovenian "Springs" in 197071.

The 1974 constitution shifted much of the decision-making power from the federal to the republics' level, turning the Yugoslav Communist Party into a kind of federation (league) of the republican parties, thus further decentralizing the political process. The autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo were also given a quasi-sovereign status as republics, and a collective presidency was designed to take over power upon Tito's death. When Tito died in 1980, the delegates of the six republics and the two autonomous provinces represented the interests of each republic or province in the process of shifting coalitions centered on specific issues. The investment of development funds to assist the less developed areas became the burning issue around which nationalist emotions and tensions grew ever stronger, along with the forceful repression of the Albanian majority in Kosovo.

The economic crisis of the 1980s, with runaway inflation, inability to pay the debt service on over $20 billion in international loans that had accumulated during Tito's rule, and low productivity in the less-developed areas became too much of a burden for Slovenia and Croatia, leading them to stand up to the centralizing power of the Serbian (and other) Republics. The demand for a reorganization of the Yugoslav Federation into a confederation of sovereign states was strongly opposed by the coalition of Serbia, Montenegro, and the Yugoslav army. The pressure towards political pluralism and a market economy also grew stronger, leading to the formation of non-Communist political parties that, by 1990, were able to win majorities in multiparty elections in Slovenia and then in Croatia, thus putting an end to the era of the Communist Party monopoly of power. The inability of the opposing groups of centralist and confederalist republics to find any common ground led to the dissolution of Yugoslavia through the disassociation of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia, leaving only Serbia and Montenegro together in a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The years between 1945 and 1990 offered the Macedonians an opportunity for development in some areas, in addition to their cultural and nation-building efforts, within the framework of a one-party Communist system. For the first time in their history the Macedonians had their own republic and government with a very broad range of responsibilities. Forty-five years was a long enough period to have trained generations for public service responsibilities and the governing of an independent state. In addition, Macedonia derived considerable benefits from the Yugoslav framework in terms of federal support for underdeveloped areas (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro). Macedonia's share of the special development funds ranged from 26% in 1966 to about 20% in 1985, much of it supplied by Croatia and Slovenia.

In the wake of developments in Slovenia and Croatia, Macedonia held its first multiparty elections in NovemberDecember 1990, with the participation of over 20 political parties. Four parties formed a coalition government that left the strongest nationalist party (IMRO) in the opposition. In January 1991 the Macedonian Assembly passed a declaration of sovereignty.

Independence

While early in 1989 Macedonia supported Serbia's Slobodan Milošević in his recentralizing efforts, by 1991, Milošević was viewed as a threat to Macedonia and its leadership took positions closer to the confederal ones of Slovenia and Croatia. A last effort to avoid Yugoslavia's disintegration was made 3 June 1991 through a joint proposal by Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, offering to form a "community of Yugoslav Republics" with a centrally administered common market, foreign policy, and national defense. However, Serbia opposed the proposal.

On 26 June 1991one day after Slovenia and Croatia had declared their independencethe Macedonian Assembly debated the issue of secession from Yugoslavia with the IMRO group urging an immediate proclamation of independence. Other parties were more restrained, a position echoed by Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov in his cautious statement that Macedonia would remain faithful to Yugoslavia. Yet by 6 July 1991, the Macedonian Assembly decided in favor of Macedonia's independence if a confederal solution could not be attained.

Thus, when the process of dissolution of Yugoslavia took place in 199091, Macedonia refused to join Serbia and Montenegro and opted for independence on 20 November 1991. The unification issue was then raised again, albeit negatively, by the refusal of Greece to recognize the newly independent Macedonia for fear that its very name would incite irredentist designs toward the Slav Macedonians in northern Greece. The issue of recognition became a problem between Greece and its NATO allies in spite of the fact that Macedonia had adopted in 1992 a constitutional amendment forbidding any engagement in territorial expansion or interference in the internal affairs of another country. In April 1993, Macedonia gained membership in the UN, but only under the name of "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Greece also voted against Macedonian membership in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe on 1 December 1993. However, on 16 December 1993, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands had announced the initiation of the recognition process for Macedonia and other countries joined the process, which resulted in recognition of Macedonia by the United States on 8 February 1994. In April 1994 the EU began to take legal action in the European Court of Justice against Greece for refusing to lift a trade blockade against Macedonia that it initiated two months earlier. However, by October 1995, Greece agreed to lift the embargo, in return for concessions from Macedonia that included changing its national flag, which contained an ancient Greek emblem depicting the 16-pointed golden sun of Vergina. The dispute over the name of Macedonia remained, but the agreement defused the threat of violence in the region.

On 3 October 1995, Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov narrowly survived a car-bomb attack that killed his driver. The next day, parliament named its speaker, Stojan Andov, as the interim president after determining that Gligorov was incapable of performing his functions. Gligorov resumed his duties in early 1996. As tensions between majority Albanians and minority Serbs in the neighboring Yugoslav province of Kosovo heated up from 1997 to 1999, fears mounted that full-scale fighting would spread to Macedonia. Ethnic violence erupted in the town of Gostivar in July 1997 after the Macedonian government sent in special military forces to remove the illegal Albanian, Turkish, and Macedonian flags flying outside the town hall. Several thousand protesters, some armed, had gathered and were in a stalemate with police. During the skirmish, police killed three ethnic Albanians and several policemen were shot. The Albanian nationalist Kosovo Liberation Army also claimed attacks against two police stations in Macedonia in December 1997 and January 1998. As the violence mounted the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on 21 July 1998 to renew the UNPREDEP (United Nations Preventive Deployment Force) mandate another six months and to bolster the contingent with 350 more soldiers.

When full-scale fighting in Kosovo erupted in early 1999 and NATO responded with air strikes against Serbia, Macedonia became the destination for tens of thousands of Kosovar Albanian refugees fleeing from Serbian ethnic cleansing. For a while the situation in Macedonia remained tense as the government, fearful of a spillover of the fighting into its territory, closed its frontiers to refugees. Nonetheless, the presence of NATO forces and pledges of international aid prevented (aside from errant bombs and a couple of cross-border incursions) a spread of the fighting and maintained domestic stability in Macedonia.

However, in 2000, violence on the border with Kosovo increased, putting Macedonian troops in a state of high alert. In February 2001, fighting broke out between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels, many of who were from the Kosovo Liberation Army, but some were also ethnic Albanians from within Macedonia. The insurrection broke out in the northwest, where rebels took up arms around the town of Tetovo, where ethnic Albanians make up a majority of the population. NATO deployed additional forces along the border with Kosovo to stop the supply of arms to the rebels; however, the buffer zone proved ineffective. As fighting intensified in March, the government closed the border with Kosovo. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that 22,000 ethnic Albanians had fled the fighting by that time. Fears in Macedonia of the creation of a "Greater Albania," including Kosovo and parts of Macedonia, were fueled by the separatist movement, and mass demonstrations were held in Skopje urging tougher action against the rebels. The violence continued throughout the summer, until August, when the Ohrid Framework Agreement was signed by the government and ethnic Albanian representatives, granting greater recognition of ethnic Albanian rights in exchange for the rebels' pledge to turn over weapons to the NATO peacekeeping force.

In November 2001, parliament amended the constitution to include reforms laid out in the Ohrid Framework Agreement. The constitution recognizes Albanian as an official language, and increases access for ethnic Albanians to pubic-sector jobs, including the police. It also gives ethnic Albanians a voice in parliament, and guarantees their political, religious and cultural rights. In March 2002, parliament granted an amnesty to the former rebels who turned over their weapons to the NATO peacekeepers in August and September 2001. By September 2002, most of the 170,000 people who had fled their homes in advance of the fighting in 2001 had returned.

Parliamentary elections were held on 15 September 2002, which saw a change in leadership from the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski to the moderate Social Democratic League of Macedonia (SDSM)-led "Together for Macedonia" coalition. Branco Crvenkovski became prime minister. At that time Boris Trajkovski was president; he had been elected from the VMRO-DPMNE party in 1999. In the September 2002 elections, former ethnic Albanian rebel-turned-politician Ali Ahmeti saw his Democratic Union for Integration party (DUI) claim victory for the Albanian community, which makes up more than 25% of the Macedonian population. Ahmeti, former political leader of the National Liberation Army (NLA), delayed taking his seat in parliament until December, for fear it would ignite protests among Macedonians who still regarded him as a terrorist. Indeed, in January 2003, the DUI headquarters in Skopje came under assault from machine-gunfire and a grenade, the fourth such attack on DUI offices.

In November 2002, NATO announced that of 10 countries aspiring to join the organization, 7 would accede in 2004, leaving Albania, Macedonia, and Croatia to wait until a later round of expansion. In January 2003, Albania and Macedonia agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation, especially in the economic sphere, so as to prepare their way for NATO and EU membership.

The year 2004 was a rather tumultuous one for Macedonia, and Macedonians. In February, President Trajkovski, who was on his way to a conference in Mostar, Bosnia, died in a plane crash. Two months later, elections were staged to replace him. Branko Crvenkovski, the acting prime minister and the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, won the second round of the election, with 62.7% of the vote; his main opponentSasko Kedev of the VMRO-DPMNEgot 37.3%. In June 2004, Hari Kostov, the former minister of interior, became prime minister following approval by the parliament. His reign was to be chaotic and short lived thoughethnic protests littered the country as parliament implemented legislation that gave Albanians more autonomy in the areas where they predominated. In November 2004, Kostov resigned and his place was taken by the defense minister, Vlado Buckovski (who also took over the leadership of the Social Democratic Union). In the summer 2005, the parliament passed a law that allowed ethnic Albanians to fly the Albanian flag in the areas where they compose the majority.

GOVERNMENT

Macedonia achieved its independence from the former Yugoslavia on 20 November 1991, having adopted its constitution on 17 November 1991. Macedonia's unicameral assembly of 120 seats is called the Sobranje. Eighty-five members are elected in single-seat constituencies, and 35 are elected by proportional representation. The executive branch consists of the president (elected by popular vote for a five-year term) and the Council of Ministers (elected by the majority vote of all the deputies in the Sobranje). The prime minister is elected by the assembly. In November 2001, parliament amended the constitution to include greater recognition of ethnic Albanian political, religious, and cultural rights. In October 2005, the president of Macedonia was Branko Crvenkovski, while Vlado Buckovskithe leader of the Social Democratic Unionoccupied the prime minister post.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Following the 2002 elections, party representation in the Sobranje (Assembly) was as follows: the Together for Macedonia coalition (composed of 10 parties led by the Social Democratic League of Macedonia and the Liberal Democratic PartySDSM-LDP), 40.5% (59 seats); Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian Unity (VMRO-DMPNE), 24.4% (34 seats); Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), 11.9% (16 seats); Democratic Party of Albanians (PDS), 5.2% (7 seats); Democratic Prosperity Party (PDP), 2.3% (2 seats); National Democratic Party (NDP), 2.1% (1 seat); and the Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM), 2.1% (1 seat). The DUI, PDS, PDP, and NDP are ethnic Albanian parties. The next legislative elections were scheduled to take place in 2006. The last presidential election was held in 2004 and Social-Democrat Branko Crvenkovski won a majority in the second round over his main opponent, VMRODPMNE candidate Sasko Kedev. The next presidential elections were scheduled to take place in April 2009.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Macedonia's 85 municipalities form the structure of local government. (Out of these municipalities, 10 represent the greater Skopje area.) The municipality is the basic self-managed sociopolitical community. Council members are directly elected for four-year terms, as are the mayors of the municipalities. Citizens may form neighborhood (village and suburb) governing bodies. Where the number of members of a particular nationality exceeds 20% of the total number of inhabitants in a municipality, the language and alphabet of that nationality shall be in official use, in addition to Macedonian and the Cyrillic alphabet.

The local elections held in April 2005 went without ethnic tensions, although international observers drew attention to irregularities during all of the three voting rounds. Despite criticism, Prime Minister Buckovski considered the local election process to be a "model" for the future. The ruling Together for Macedonia coalition won 36 mayoral races; the Albanian Democratic Union of Integration (a coalition partner of the former) won 15; the VMRO-DPMNE, 21; the VMRO-People's Party, 3; the Democratic Party of Albanians/Party of Democratic Prosperity, 2; the Macedonian Roma Alliance, 1; the rest of the seven mayoral seats were won by mayors supported by a voter's bloc. Trifun Kostovski won the city of Skopje race over the candidate of the SDSM-led coalitionRisto Penov.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The judicial system is comprised of three tiers: municipal courts, district courts, and the Supreme Court. A Constitutional Court handles issues of constitutional interpretation, including protection of individual rights. The constitution directs the establishment of a people's ombudsman to defend citizens' fundamental constitutional rights; the office became functional in 1997. An independent Republican Judicial Council appoints judges, who are confirmed by parliament. The Constitutional Court has not yet rendered any decisions in the area of protection of individual rights or liberties. The constitution guarantees the autonomy and independence of the judiciary.

ARMED FORCES

In January 1992, the Macedonian Assembly approved the formation of a standing army of 25,00030,000 troops. However, the actual size of the military was 10,890 active personnel in 2005, of which the army was the largest service with 9,760 active members. The army was equipped with 61 main battle tanks, 51 reconnaissance vehicles, 11 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 207 armored personnel carriers, and 944 artillery pieces. Although there is no data as to the number of reservists, the nation's reserve forces were broken down in 2005 into eight infantry brigades and one (each) artillery, antitank and air defense regiments. The army also operated a maritime patrol arm equipped with five patrol/coastal vessels. The air force had 1,130 active personnel which had four combat capable aircraft made up of four fighter ground attack aircraft. The nation's paramilitary force consisted of a police force numbering 7,600, of which some 5,000 were armed. As of 2005, foreign forces stationed in Macedonia consist of 260 US personnel attached to KFOR 1. The national defense budget in 2005 totaled $129 million.

In March 1997, rioters in neighboring Albania looted government armories, making off with hundreds of thousands of AK-47 assault rifles. Substantial numbers of those weapons were smuggled into Macedonia and sold to ethnic Albanians.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations on 8 April 1993; it is a part of ECE and a member of several nonregional specialized agencies, such as FAO, IAEA, IMF, UNESCO, UNIDO, WHO, and the World Bank. Macedonia is also a member of the Council of Europe, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the NATO Partnership for Peace, and the OSCE.

In February 1994 Macedonia's sovereignty was recognized by the United States and EU countries. Greece objected to the use of the name Macedonia by the nation and imposed a trade embargo for this and other issues. Greece and Macedonia signed an interim agreement in 1995 ending the embargo and opening negotiations for diplomatic recognition. Also in 1995, Macedonia ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and accepted the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. The convention includes several Eastern and Central European nations that see membership as a precursor to possible admission to the European Union in the future.

In environmental cooperation, Macedonia is part of the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Air Pollution, Ramsar, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea and Climate Change.

ECONOMY

Although the poorest of the six former Yugoslav republics, Macedonia nevertheless can sustain itself in food and energy needs using its own agricultural and coal resources. Due to the scarcity of arable land in the Vardar River Valley and other valleys in the west, expatriate employment in Serbia and Germany has become more common.

In August 1992, because it resented the use of "Macedonia" as the republic's name and feared a hidden ambition to lay claim to the Greek province with the same name, Greece imposed a partial blockade on Macedonia. Greece later imposed a full trade embargo against Macedonia in February 1994. This blockade, combined with the UN sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro, cost the economy an estimated $2 billion by the end of 1994. Macedonia's per capita GNP fell from $1,800 to less than $760 because of the sanctions and the Greek blockade. After threats of legal action by the EU, in October 1995 Greece ceased the embargo and promised not to interfere with Macedonia's commerce.

From 1998 to 2000 real GDP growth averaged a little over 4%, but in 2001, in the wake of rising global tensions and a global economic slowdown, real GDP growth fell 4.5%. Although 2002 saw an end to the contraction, growth was estimated at only 0.3%. Inflation had jumped to 6.1% in 2000, but moderated to 3.7% in 2001, and was projected at only 1% in 2002. Unemployment remains a serious problem. The official estimate for 2002 was almost 32%, with some 70% of 15- to 24-year-olds without work. In 2001, agriculture accounted for about 10% of GDP; industry, 32%; and services, 58%.

In 2004, the GDP growth rate was 5.3%, up from 4.7% in 2003; by 2005 however, it was expected to fall to 5.0%. Inflation decreased to negative values in 2004 (-0.4 %), but overall it tended to hover around 1%. At around 37%, unemployment remains a big problem for the Macedonian economy, although many of the seemingly jobless are thought to hold jobs in the informal sector. The economic growth is expected to remain steady over the next years, and will be fueled by rapid growth in a series of key sectors: transport and telecommunications, trade and financial services. This growth will in turn spur an increase in domestic demand, and a recovery of the industrial sector (especially steel production).

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Macedonia's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $15.6 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $7,400. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 4%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 1%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 11.7% of GDP, industry 32.1%, and services 56.2%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $171 million or about $8 per capita and accounted for approximately 3.7% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $234 million or about $114 per capita and accounted for approximately 5.0% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Macedonia totaled $3.46 billion or about $165 per capita based on a GDP of $4.7 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.1%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 33% of household consumption was spent on food, 15% on fuel, 6% on health care, and 9% on education. It was estimated that in 2003 about 30.2% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

There were an estimated 855,000 persons in the Macedonian labor force in 2004. As of 2003, 22% were in agriculture, 33.9% in industry, 43.8% in the services sector, with 0.3% in undefined occupations.

The constitution guarantees citizens the right to form labor unions with restrictions on the military, police, and government workers. Approximately 50% of the workforce is organized. The Confederation of Trade Unions of Macedonia (SSSM) is the labor confederation which is the successor to the old Communist Party labor confederation, and is still the government's primary negotiating partner on social issues. Employees have little bargaining power in the weak economic environment. Strikes may be utilized to protect employee interests.

Macedonian law establishes a 40-hour workweek, with a 24-hour rest period (minimum) plus vacation and sick leave. The minimum employment age by law is 15 years, with minors under the age of 18 limited by the number of hours they can work and by the types of work they can perform. The law provides that workplaces must meet minimum occupational health and safety standards but reports indicate that these are not effectively enforced. As of 2005, Macedonia did not have a legal national minimum wage. The average monthly wage that year was about $250, and did not provide a family with a living wage. It was estimated by the government that around 29.6% of the population lived below the poverty line.

AGRICULTURE

As of 2003, there were some 612,000 hectares (1,512,000 acres) of arable land, representing 24% of the total land area. Most private farms are very small; 65% of private farmers own at most one hectare (2.7 acres) sometimes scattered in five or six locations.

Wheat production is concentrated in south central Macedonia and in public farms. Corn and barley are produced throughout the country, mostly by the private sector. About 80% of agricultural land is held by the private sector. The remaining 20% is held by state-owned enterprises known as Kombinats. Estimated grain production in 2004 included: wheat, 358,000 tons; barley, 150,000 tons; and corn, 146,000 tons. Rye, rice, and oats are also grown in smaller quantities. Other important crops produced in 2004 included (in 1,000 tons): tomatoes, 117; potatoes, 199; sunflower seeds, 7.4; sugar beets, 52; and walnuts, 3.7. In 2004, 247,600 tons of grapes and 26,000 tons of plums were produced. Tobacco is grown throughout Macedonia and is planted on 4% of the arable land. Production was 21,140 tons in 2004.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Meadows and pastures accounted for about 25% of the total land area. Livestock in 2005 consisted of 1,200,000 sheep, 265,000 head of cattle, 200,000 pigs, and 3,000,000 chickens. Cattle numbers have increased slightly since 1992 due mainly to the increase in cows. About 50% of cattle are for the dairy sector. There are about 30 state farms with 2501,200 cows in the Skopje and Bitola areas. Over 90% of cattle, however, are in private hands, with most farmers rarely having more than three cows because of limited land. Cow milk accounts for 74% of milk production; sheep milk, 26%. The rapidly growing goat sector is also contributing to increasing milk production. The raising of goats was prohibited during the socialist era in order to protect forestry resources. Production in 2005 included (in tons): mutton, 7,500; beef, 10,000; poultry, 4,000; and milk, 263,000.

FISHING

Inland fishing occurs on Lake Ohrid, Lake Prespa, and the Vardar River. The total catch in 2003 was 1,648 tons (primarily trout and carp), all from inland fishing. Macedonia has no direct access to the sea for marine fishing.

FORESTRY

About 36% of the total area consisted of forests and woodlands in 2000, mostly in the eastern and southern regions. Bitola is the center for the wood products industry. Total roundwood production in 2004 was 812,000 cu m (28.7 million cu ft), with 85% used as firewood.

MINING

Macedonia's mining and quarrying sector output, by value, dropped approximately 39% in 2003 from the previous year, although the country's gross domestic product (GDP) that year rose by 3.1% from 2002. Lead-zinc ore was mined at Kamenica and Probistip; copper, at Bucim; and iron ore, at Tajmite, Demir Hisar, and Damjan. Gold, bentonite, diatomite, feldspar, lime, talc, pumice, stone (carbonite and silicate), gypsum, and sand and gravel were also produced in 2003. Most of the industrial minerals produced went mainly to Balkan countries, the EU, and Russia. Production totals in 2003 were: mined lead (by gross weight), 40,000 metric tons, down from 200,000 metric tons in 2002; zinc (refined primary and secondary metal), 15,100 metric tons, down from 38,000 metric tons in 2002; copper (concentrate by gross weight), 15,000 metric tons; silver, 10,000 kg, down from 12,000 kg in 2002; and gold 400 kg, down from 500 kg in 2002. No chromite was produced in 1998, 1999, 2000 or 2003. Nickel output in 2003 totaled 5,600 metric tons, up from 5.100 metric tons in the previous year.

ENERGY AND POWER

In 2002, 5.762 billion kWh of electricity were generated, of which 86.7% came from conventional thermal plants and the rest from hydropower. Installed capacity totaled 1,568,000 kW in 2001. Consumption of electricity in 2002 was 6.150 billion kWh.

Macedonia's only domestic mineral fuel is coal. In 2002, the country produced 8,356,000 short tons, all of which was brown coal or lignite. Imports of coal totaled 183,000 short tons. Demand for coal in 2002 came to 8,092,000 short tons.

Macedonia imported an average of 11,540 barrels per day of refined petroleum products, with demand that year averaging 20,160 barrels per day. There were no record imports or production of natural gas in 2002.

INDUSTRY

Macedonia's industries are centered around Skopje. Steel and chemical production, along with buses, textiles, food processing, tobacco, furniture, and ceramics are important industries. In 1995, the government began privatizing its 25 largest public industries. Industry accounted for 31% of GDP in 2001. The Kosovo crisis of 1999 severely disrupted the Macedonian economy, as did the ethnic Albanian armed insurgency in Macedonia in 2001.

In 2004, industry made up 26% of the GDP, down from 32.8% in 2003. Services benefited from this loss, growing from a 55.5% participation in the GDP in 2003, to 62.8% in 2004. Agriculture remained relatively stable, at about 11%. The industrial production growth rate in 2004 was consequently 0%, indicating a loss of momentum for the industrial sector. Main industries were resource based and included coal, metallic chromium, lead, zinc, ferronickel, textiles, wood products, tobacco, food processing, buses, and steel. By 2005, industry showed signs of recovery, with the industrial output growth jumping to 8.2% in the first nine months of the year.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia uses only low levels of technology for its agriculture and mining industries. Oil refining is performed by distillation only.

The Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, founded in 1967 at Skopje, has sections of biological and medical sciences and of mathematical and technical sciences. The country also has an Association of Sciences and Arts, founded in 1960 at Bitola, as well as specialized learned societies concerned with physics, pharmacy, geology, medicine, mathematics and computers, veterinary surgery, engineering, forestry, and agriculture. Macedonia has research institutes dealing with geology, natural history, cotton, animal breeding, tobacco, animal husbandry, and water development.

The University of Skopje (founded in 1949) has faculties of civil engineering, agriculture, veterinary medicine, forestry, medicine, pharmacy, mechanical engineering, electro technical engineering, technology and metallurgy, natural and mathematical sciences, stomatology, and geology and mining. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 47% of university enrollment. The Natural History Museum of Macedonia (founded in 1926) is located in Skopje.

Macedonia in the period 19902001, had 387 scientists and engineers and 29 technicians per million people engaged in research and development (R&D). In 2002, Macedonia spent $34.212 million on R&D, or 0.68% of its GDP. Of that amount, government sources accounted for 76.3% of R&D spending, with foreign sources accounting for 8.6%; business accounted for 7.8%; and higher education 7.3%. High technology exports in 2002 totaled $9 million, or 1% of its manufactured exports.

DOMESTIC TRADE

The commercial and industrial center of the country is Skopje, with industries that include glass, beer, bricks, and tobacco. Prilep serves as the nation's agricultural center for tobacco and fruit. Kumanovu is an industrial center for canning and tobacco processing and a trading center for cattle, fruit, and liquor. Domestic commerce typically centers around an urban marketplace, where marketing of farm products is carried out. Formal trade of products and commodities through state enterprises has declined since independence. However, private traders do not always offer a consistent and reliable market outlet for producers.

FOREIGN TRADE

In 1999, exports amounted to $1.2 billion, of which manufactured goods accounted for an estimated 89%; agriculture, 9%; and mining, 2%. Imports in 1999 totaled $1.8 billion, of which machinery and transport equipment accounted for an estimated 20%; manufactured goods, 16%; food and live animals, 12%; chemicals, 10%; fuels and lubricants, 9%; other manufactured products, 5%; raw materials (excluding fuels), 3%; and beverages and tobacco, 2%.

In 2004, exports totaled $1.6 billion (FOBFree on Board), while imports grew to $2.7 billion. Macedonia's main export partners were Serbia and Montenegro (which received 31.4% of total exports), Germany (19.9%), Greece (8.9%), Croatia (6.9%), and the United States (4.9%). Imports mainly came from Greece (15.4%), Germany (13.1%), Serbia and Montenegro (10.4%), Slovenia (8.6%), Bulgaria (8.1%), Turkey (6%), and Romania (4.7%).

The structure of the trade has changed dramatically since 1999. Over the course of only five years, Macedonia's export structure changed to: textiles and clothing (which accounted for 32.3% of all exports), iron and steel (24.2%), chemicals (4.8%), petroleum and petroleum products (4.5%), and tobacco (4.4%). Principal imports included: petroleum and petroleum products (10.2%), road vehicles (6.3%), industrial machinery (4.9%), meat and meat preparations (3.0%), and medical and pharmaceutical products.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2002 the purchasing power parity of Macedonia's exports was $1 billion while imports totaled $1.6 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $600 million.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001 Macedonia had exports of goods totaling $1.15 billion and imports totaling $1.58 billion. The services credit totaled $234 million and debit $337 million.

Exports of goods and services totaled $1.7 billion in 2004, up from $1.4 billion in 2003. Imports grew from $2.1 billion in 2003, to $2.8 billion in 2004. The resource balance was on a negative upsurge, growing from -$0.7 billion in 2003, to -$1.1 billion in 2004. A similar trend was registered for the current account balance, which deteriorated from -$149 million in 2003, to -$414.8 million in 2004 (or -3.3% of the GDP). The national reserves (excluding gold) were $897 million in 2003, covering approximately five months of imports; in 2004, they grew to $905 million. Macedonia's balance of payment trade deficit was expected to decrease in 2005 as a result of export growth, especially of metals.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

In 1992, the National Bank of Macedonia was created to issue currency, conduct monetary polices, and regulate the banking sector of the country.

Commercial banks in Macedonia include the Komercijalna Banka and Scopanska Banka, both in Skopje. The currency unit is the Macedonia denar (den) introduced on 10 May 1993, at a rate of 1:1,000 against the coupon. The central bank also introduced a floating rate for the denar against major currencies. There are no security exchanges in the country.

Under a five-year stabilization program agreed with the IMF, the government is focusing on reducing inflation, overhauling the financial system, and launching structural reforms. Despite the Greek blockade, the program met its fiscal targets in 1994 with the state deficit declining to 2.5% of GDP in 1994. Reform of the state banking system made progress in 1996, although banks are still lending to inefficient state enterprises. Privatization has made some progress with the privatization agency raising $8 million in revenue in 1994 through the sale of four large companies and 14 medium-sized and small companies.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 1,363.3 2,299.9 -936.6
Germany 278.4 303.9 -25.5
Serbia and Montenegro 273.8 212.6 61.2
Greece 179.8 300.2 -120.4
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 95.4 122.6 -27.2
United States 72.8 56.5 16.3
Croatia 66.1 63.5 2.6
France-Monaco 54.7 51.5 3.2
Netherlands 46.8 49.1 -2.3
United Kingdom 35.1 38.6 -3.5
Turkey 32.8 78.8 -46.0
() data not available or not significant.
Current Account -278.5
    Balance on goods -851.5
      Imports -2,210.5
      Exports 1,359.0
    Balance on services 654.6
    Balance on income -32.4
    Current transfers 607.9
Capital Account -6.7
Financial Account 248.4
    Direct investment abroad -0.3
    Direct investment in Macedonia 94.6
    Portfolio investment assets 0.3
    Portfolio investment liabilities 3.3
    Financial derivatives
    Other investment assets 12.2
    Other investment liabilities 138.3
Net Errors and Omissions 90.4
Reserves and Related Items -53.5
() data not available or not significant.

equal to $164.1 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $887.3 million. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 10.7%.

INSURANCE

In 1995, the Makedonija Insurance and Reinsurance Company was offering the following types of insurance: property, liability, life, accident, motor, fire, and marine.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Macedonia's central government took in revenues of approximately $2.1 billion and had expenditures of $2.2 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$84 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 32.6% of GDP. Total external debt was $2.207 billion.

TAXATION

As of 2005, Macedonia had a 15% corporate tax rate, which was also applied to branch operations. Capital gains, interest and royalties are considered income and are taxed at the corporate rate. Dividends paid to resident companies are not considered income, if the dividends were paid out of taxable income. Dividends paid to individuals are taxed at the corporate rate, but are applied to only 50% of the gross dividend amount. Personal income taxes range from 1.282.17%. Payroll taxes include a 21.2% rate for the pension fund, a 9.2% rate for the health fund, a 1.6% employment tax, and a 0.5% additional health fund contribution. On 1 April 2000 a value-added tax (VAT) was introduced. As of 2005, the standard VAT rate was 18%. There is also a reduced rate of 5% applied to basic goods and services. Other taxes include excise taxes on petrol, fuel oil, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and property taxes.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Macedonia has adopted a duty-free import agreement with Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia (as of October 1996). Importers pay only a border crossing tax for document handling. Macedonia is also seeking to establish a trade zone with Bulgaria and Albania. Tariffs, as of 2005, ranged from 030%, with the average at 10.5%, and were based on the item's cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value. However, products such as beverages, cereals, vegetables and fruit were subject to a 60% rate. The VAT is also applied to imports based on the CIF plus duty value. Corruption in the customs system discourages trade.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Macedonia's isolation, technological disadvantages, and penchant for political instability created a poor climate for potential foreign investors. In 1995, the government began restructuring and privatizing its largest state-owned companies. After 1997, inflows of foreign investment increased substantially.

The country has taken important steps towards attracting new foreign direct investment (FDI), and has created a legislative framework that does not discriminate between domestic investors and their foreign counterparts. In 2004, the Macedonian privatization process was almost complete, with residual shares still being owned by the government in a couple of key industries. By the end of 2005, the government planned to privatize the national electric companyESMand sell off its 48% participation in the telephone company.

After hitting a peak in 2001 (with capital in-flows totaling $445 million), when Hungary was the largest source of FDI, the rate of foreign investments slowed down in subsequent years, totaling $82 million in 2002, $98 million in 2003, and $104 million in the first three quarters of 2004. The biggest investing countries in 2004 were Switzerland (with $7.1 million invested), Greece ($6.6 million), and Slovenia ($1 million).

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

In May 1994, the EBRD established a $10 million facility to guarantee Komercijalna Banka's designated correspondent banks against nonpayment under confirmed letters of credit. By securing credit facilities, the bank's clients are able to stimulate production and increase exports. In 1995, net resource flows from international financial institutions consisted of $43 million from the World Bank, $37 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and $16 million from other institutions.

In 1995, the government began privatizing its largest state-owned industries. A total of 1,200 enterprises were to be privatized, 65% of them classified as small (fewer than 50 employees). The portion of a company's share capital, which is community-owned, is known as social capital; this forms the basis of the privatization process. In theory, social capital is owned by the company's employees. However, there are severe restrictions that make it nontransferable and hence valueless to the individual.

The Kosovo crisis of 1999 placed severe burdens on Macedonia's already-strained economy as an influx of Kosovar refugees flooded across the border and trade routes were disrupted. Fighting between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels that began in February 2001 further disrupted the economy. Real GDP declined by 4.5% in 2001, and government spending mushroomed. Spending on security raised the general government deficit to 7.2% of GDP, compared with a surplus of 1.8% in 2000.

In 2003, the IMF approved a $28 million standby arrangement for Macedonia, which expired in June 2004. The loan was geared to support the government's economic program for fiscal stability following the 2001 crisis, to promote growth, improve the business climate, and improve living standards for Macedonians.

Although Macedonia's economy has been improving steadily, there still are a number of problems that need to be dealt with. Two of the most important issues are the rampant unemployment and an inflation rate that discourages exports. A 2005 World Bank report that looked at the business climate in 155 countries ranked Macedonia 81st in terms of the ease of conducting commercial operations. The government responded promptly to the results of this report and implemented a package of laws that would make it easier for entrepreneurs or investors to start a business. However, the 2006 business climate still had numerous weak spots that needed to be addressed through a concerted effort by the legislative.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Macedonia, historically the poorest of the former Yugoslav republics, has suffered further from the imposition of international sanctions against Serbia, the rising tide of refugees, and increasing unemployment. Social care is funded by the government to assist the disabled, elderly, unemployed, and poor. Maternity benefits are available for nine months, and women are guaranteed the right to return to work within two years after childbirth.

Although women have the same legal rights as men, the traditional cultures of both Christian and Muslim communities have limited their advancement in society. There are some professional women but generally women are not represented in the higher levels of professional or public life. Sexual harassment in the workplace is prevalent, especially in the private sector. Widespread violence against women in the home remains unpunished by authorities, and it is extremely rare for criminal charges to be filed against abusive husbands. In 2004 Macedonia submitted its first report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. Children, like adults, have been victims of internal conflict and ethnic violence. Resources are scarce to fund programs to benefit children.

Ethnic minorities, including Albanians and Turks, complain of widespread discrimination. Restrictive naturalization policies have left many Albanians without Macedonian citizenship, and therefore without voting rights. Abuse by police of prisoners and suspects is widespread, with most cases involving Roma, ethnic Albanians, or Kosovar refugees.

HEALTH

Following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, the availability of health care statistics for Macedonia was hampered by internal hostilities. Separate health care data was slowly emerging from the new independent regions. Physicians in Macedonia are adequately trained, but there is a shortage of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Patients who are seriously ill will often go abroad for medical help.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 13.4 and 7.7 per 1,000 people. There were two births per married woman of childbearing age during 1999. The infant mortality rate has been reduced from 54 per 1,000 live births in 1980 to 10.09 in 2005. The life expectancy at birth for the average Macedonian was 73.73 in 2005

The immunization rates for children under the age of one were as follows: diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, 87%; measles, 85%; and tuberculosis, 90%. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 200 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 100 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

HOUSING

During the years of the former Yugoslav SFR, there was a chronic shortage of housing in Macedonia and the other republics. Since independence, the ability to find an available apartment or condominium has improved. Federal banks have begun loan programs making it now possible to finance the construction of seasonal homes in the country or by resort areas. In the 1994, there were about 580,342 dwellings supporting about 501,963 households. There was an average of 3.85 people per household. In 2002, there were about 698,143 dwelling units supporting 564,296 households. The average number of people per household was 3.58.

EDUCATION

Public education at the primary level is compulsory for eight years, generally for students between the ages of 7 and 15. Elementary school covers these first eight years of study. This is followed by a four-year secondary program of general, technical, vocational, or special (arts) studies.

In 2001, about 28% of children between the ages of three and six were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 91% of age-eligible students. In 2001, secondary school enrollment was about 81% of age-eligible students. Nearly all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 20:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 16:1.

At the postsecondary level, there are two universities: the Bitola University, which was founded in 1979, and the University of Skopje, founded in 1949. The language of instruction is Macedonian, and there are faculties of law, engineering, medicine, arts, science, physical education, architecture, and agriculture. In 2003, about 27% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program; 24% of men and 32% of women. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 96.1%, with 98.2% for men and 94.1% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.5% of GDP.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The Kliment Ohridski National and University Library in Skopje (1944) holds over 1.5 million items and is the largest collection in the country. The District of Skopje Public Library has 953,000 volumes.

In Skopje are the Fine Arts Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of the City of Skopje. There are also several archaeological and historical museums. The National Museums, specializing in archeology and ethnology, are in Ohrid and Stip, and there is an Islamic Art museum in Bitola. In Strumica is the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments, Natural Rarities, and Museum.

MEDIA

In 2003, there were an estimated 271 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 177 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

Though most media are government owned, an independent television station, A-1, broadcasts from Skopje. Macedonian Radio and Television (MRTV) is the only public broadcaster in the country and has the widest range, reaching about 90% of the population. This government-owned station operates three national TV networks and one satellite network, as well as one radio station. In 2004, there were about 150 local radio and television stations registered in the country. In 2003, there were an estimated 205 radios for every 1,000 people. The number of television sets was unavailable in the same survey. In 2003, there were 100,000 Internet subscribers in the country.

Several daily newspapers are published in Skopje, as well as a number of periodicals. Newspapers in Albanian and a Turkish language paper are available nationally and subsidized by the government, including the Albanian-language Flaka e Vlazermit (Flame of Brotherhood ) and the Turkish language Birlik. In 1994 Delo, a new weekly with reportedly nationalistic leanings, began publication. As of 2002, the leading newspapers were Nova Makedonia (circulation 25,000) and Vecer (29,200).

The constitution forbids censorship and the government is said to respect this in practice. However, the government has restricted certain parts of the media during civil conflicts.

ORGANIZATIONS

The Chamber of Economy of Macedonia coordinates trade and commerce with the world.

The Macedonian Academy of Science, founded in 1967, coordinates and finances scientific research conducted in Macedonia. Macedonian Medical Association promotes research and education on health issues and works to establish common policies and standards in healthcare. There are several other associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions. There are professional associations representing other fields as well.

There are youth organizations affiliated with major political parties. There is also an active scouting association. The National Student Union of Macedonia is an umbrella organization representing youth groups involved in cultural, educational, and social activities. National women's organizations include Journalism About Women's and Children's Rights and Environment in Macedonia and the Union of Women's Organizations of the Republic of Macedonia.

There are national chapters of the Red Cross Society, Caritas, and Habitat for Humanity.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Macedonia has very modest levels of tourist activity. Medieval monasteries and Orthodox churches are primary attractions. Turkish baths and bazaars can also be found. In the winter tourists are attracted to Popova Shapka, one of the most popular ski resorts in Macedonia. The city of Mavrovo, home to the Mavrovo National Park, has over 140 different bird species and over 45 different species of other animals making it attractive to hunters worldwide. The ski resorts, monasteries, and beautiful topography make Mavrovo one of the most visited cities in Macedonia. In 2000, there were about 224,000 tourist arrivals and tourism receipts totaled $37 million. The 6,636 hotel rooms had an occupancy rate of only 15% that year. A valid passport is required for entry into Macedonia. A visa is not required for tourist/business stays of up to 90 days.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Macedonia at $230.

FAMOUS MACEDONIANS

Kiro Gligorov (b.1917) was president of Macedonia from 1991 to 1999. Boris Trajkovski (19562004) was president from 1999 to 2004. Trajovski died in a plane crash and was succeeded by Branko Crvenkovski (b.1962). Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, 19101997) was from Skopje but left at age 17 to join a convent in Calcutta, India. In 1948, Mother Teresa left the convent to found the Missionaries of Charity. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Phillip II (382 bc336 bc) was the father of Alexander the Great. During Philip II's reign of 359336 bc, he established a federal system of Greek States. Macedonian Alexander the Great (356 bc323 bc) founded an enormous empire that extended from Greece to northern India. Cassandar (353 bc297 bc) succeeded Alexander the Great, and was king of Macedonia between 316 bc and 297 bc. To consolidate his power, Cassandar murdered Alexander's mother, widow, and son. Philip V (237 bc179 bc) warred against the Romans and tried to rebuild the kingdom.

DEPENDENCIES

Macedonia has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ackermann, Alice. Making Peace Prevail: Preventing Violent Conflict in Macedonia. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2000.

Allcock, John B. Explaining Yugoslavia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

Civil-Military Relations in the Soviet and Yugoslav Successor States. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996.

Danforth, Loring M. The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Frucht, Richard (ed.). Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2005.

Generation in Jeopardy: Children in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1999.

Georgieva, Valentina and Sasha Konechni. Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 1998.

Pearson, Brenda. Putting Peace into Practice: Can Macedonia's New Government Meet the Challenge? Washington, D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2002.

Phillips, John. Macedonia: Warlords and Rebels in the Balkans. London: I. B. Tauris, 2002.

Poulton, Hugh. Who Are the Macedonians? Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1995.

Shea, John. Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1997.

Vacalopoulos, Apostolos E. Contemporary Ethnological Problems in the Balkans. Thessaloniki: Society for Macedonian Studies, 1991.

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MACEDONIA

Compiled from the December 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Macedonia


The United States and the United Nations officially refer to Macedonia by its provisional name, "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," pending the outcome of UN-mediated negotiations between Macedonia and Greece.



PROFILE

Geography

Area: 25,713 square km. (slightly larger than Vermont).

Cities: (2001 est.) Capital—Skopje 600,000; Tetovo, Kumanovo, Gostivar and Bitola 100,000+.

Geography: Situated in the southern region of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia is landlocked and mountainous.

Climate: Three climatic types overlap—Mediterranean; moderately continental; and mountainous, producing hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.

People

Population: (2002) 2,063,122.

Growth rate: (2003 est.) 0.4%.

Ethnic groups: (2002) Macedonian 64.18%, Albanian 25.17%, Turkish 3.85%, Roma 2.66%, Serb 1.78%.

Religions: Eastern Orthodox 65%, Muslim 29%, Catholic 4% and others 2%.

Languages: Macedonian 70%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 3%, and others 3%.

Education: Years compulsory—8. Literacy—94.6%.

Health: (2001 est.) Infant mortality rate—12.95 deaths/per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy—males 71.79 years; females 76.43 years.

Work force: (2003) 860,976; employed 545,108: services—32.6%; industry and commerce—45.4%; agriculture—22.0%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.

Constitution: Adopted November 17, 1991; effective November 20, 1991.

Independence: September 8, 1991 (from Yugoslavia).

Branches: Executive—prime minister (head of government), council of ministers (cabinet), president (head of state). Legislative—unicameral parliament or Sobranie (120 members elected by popular vote to 4-year terms from party lists based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of the six election units). Judicial—Supreme Court, Republican Judicial Council, Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia, Public Prosecutor's Office, Public Attorney. Legal system is based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts.

Administrative subdivisions: 123 opstini (municipalities) plus the city of Skopje (implementation of legislation to reduce the number of municipalities to 84 will begin in January 2005).

Suffrage: Universal at age 18.

Political parties: Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM); Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRODPMNE); Democratic Union for Integration (DUI); Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA); Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP); National Democratic Party (NDP); Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP); Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM); Liberal Party (LP); Democratic Alternative (DA); Democratic Union (DU); Democratic Party of the Turks in Macedonia (DPTM); Democratic League of Bosniaks; Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, United Party of Romas in Macedonia; Democratic Union of Vlachs from Macedonia; Labor-Agricultural Party of Macedonia, Socialist-Christian Party of Macedonia; Green Party of Macedonia.

Economy (2003)

GDP: $4,036 billion.

Per capita GDP: $2,192 (est.).

Real GDP growth: 3.1%.

Inflation rate: 1.2%.

Unemployment rate: 36.7%.

Trade: Significant exports—steel, textile products, coal, chromium, lead, zinc, nickel, tobacco, lamb, and wine.

Official exchange rate: (2004 avg.) 48.5 Macedonian denars =U.S.$1.


GEOGRAPHY

Macedonia is located in the heart of south central Europe. It shares a border with Greece to the south, Bulgaria to the east, Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia and Kosovo) to the north, and Albania to the west. The country is 80% mountainous, rising to its highest point at Mt. Korab (peak 2,764 m).


PEOPLE

Since the end of the Second World War, Macedonia's population has grown steadily, with the greatest increases occurring in the ethnic Albanian community. From 1953 through the time of the latest official census in 2002 (initial official results were released December 2003), the percentage of Albanians living in Macedonia rose 313%. The western part of the country, where most ethnic Albanians live, is the most heavily populated, with approximately 40% of the total population. Due to population growth and as part of former communist industrial policy, more people have moved into the cities in search of employment. Macedonia also experienced sustained high rates of emigration.


HISTORY

Throughout its history, the present-day territory of Macedonia has been a crossroads for both traders and conquerors moving between the European continent and Asia Minor. Each of these transiting powers left its mark upon the region, giving rise to a rich and varied cultural and historical tradition.

The ancient territory of Macedon included, in addition to the areas of the present-day Macedonia, large parts of present-day northern Greece and southwestern Bulgaria. This ancient kingdom reached its height during the reign of Alexander III ("the Great"), who extended Macedon's influence over most of Asia Minor, the Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and even parts of India. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, the Macedon Empire gradually declined, until Rome conquered it in 168 BC and made it a province in 148 BC.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the territory of Macedonia fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was during this period that large groups of Slavic people migrated to the Balkan region. The Serbs, Bulgarians, and Byzantines fought for control of Macedonia until the late 14th century, when the Ottoman Turks conquered the territory; it remained under Turkish rule until 1912.

After more than four centuries of rule, Ottoman power in the region began to wane, and by the middle of the 19th century, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia were competing for influence in the territory. During this time, a nationalist movement emerged and grew in Macedonia. The latter half of the 19th century was marked by sporadic nationalist uprisings, culminating in the Ilinden Uprising of August 2, 1903. Macedonian revolutionaries liberated the town of Krushevo and established the short-lived Republic of Krushevo, which was put down by Ottoman forces after 10 days. Following Ottoman Turkey's defeat by the allied Balkan countries—Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece—during the First Balkan War in autumn 1912, the same allies fought the Second Balkan War over the division of Macedonia. The August 1913 Treaty of Bucharest ended this conflict by dividing the territory between Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles sanctioned partitioning Macedonia between The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Bulgaria, and Greece. In the wake of the First World War, Vardarian Macedonia (the present day area of Macedonia) was incorporated into the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

Throughout much of the Second World War, Bulgaria and Italy occupied Macedonia. Many people joined partisan movements during this time and succeeded in liberating the region in late 1944. Following the war, Macedonia became one of the constituent republics of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito. During this period, Macedonian culture and language flourished.

As communism fell throughout Eastern Europe in the late 20th century, Macedonia followed its other federation partners and declared its independence from Yugoslavia in late 1991. The new Macedonian constitution took effect November 20, 1991 and called for a system of government based on a parliamentary democracy. The first democratically elected coalition government was led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and included the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP). Kiro Gligorov became the first President of an independent Macedonia.

President Gligorov was the first president of a former Yugoslav republic to relinquish office. In accordance with the terms of the Macedonian constitution, his presidency ended in November 1999 after 8 years in office, which included surviving a car bombing assassination attempt in 1995. He was succeeded by former Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski (VMRO), who defeated Tito Petkovski (SDSM) in a second-round run-off election for the presidency November 14, 1999. Trajkovski's election was confirmed by a December 5, 1999 partial re-vote in 230 polling stations, which the Macedonian Supreme Court mandated due to election irregularities.

Macedonia was the only republic of the former Yugoslavia whose secession in 1991 was not clouded by ethnic or other armed conflict, although the ethnic Albanian population declined to participate in the referendum on independence. During the Yugoslav period, Macedonian ethnic identity exhibited itself, in that most of Macedonia's Slavic population identified themselves as Macedonians, while several minority groups, in particular ethnic

Albanians, sought to retain their own distinct political culture and language. Although interethnic tensions simmered under Yugoslav authority and during the first decade of its independence, the country avoided ethnically motivated conflict until several years after independence.

In November 1998 parliamentary elections, the SDSM lost its majority. A new coalition government emerged under the leadership of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRODPMNE). The initial coalition included the ethnic Albanian Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA).

Ethnic minority grievances, which had erupted on occasion (1995 and 1997), rapidly began to gain political currency in late 2000, leading many in the ethnic Albanian community in Macedonia to question their minority protection under, and participation in, the government. Tensions erupted into open hostilities in Macedonia in February 2001, when a group of ethnic Albanians near the Kosovo border carried out armed provocations that soon escalated into an insurgency. Purporting to fight for greater civil rights for ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, the group seized territory and launched attacks against government forces. Many observers ascribed other motives to the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA), including support for criminality and the assertion of political control over affected areas. The insurgency spread through northern and western Macedonia during the first half of 2001. Under international mediation, a cease-fire was brokered in July 2001, and the government coalition was expanded in July 2001 to include the major opposition parties.

The expanded coalition of ruling ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders, with facilitation by U.S. and European Union (EU) diplomats, negotiated and then signed the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August 2001, which brought an end to the fighting. The agreement called for implementation of constitutional and legislative changes, which lay the foundation for improved civil rights for minority groups. The Macedonian parliament adopted the constitutional changes outlined in the accord in November 2001. The grand coalition disbanded following the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and the passage of new constitutional amendments. A coalition led by Prime Minister Georgievski, including DPA and several smaller parties, finished out the parliamentary term.

In September 2002 elections, an SDSM-led pre-election coalition won half of the 120 seats in parliament. Branko Crvenkovski was elected Prime Minister in coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party and the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP).

On February 26, 2004 President Trajkovski died in a plane crash in Bosnia. Presidential elections were held April 14 and 28, 2004. Then-Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski won the second round and was inaugurated President on May 12, 2004. The parliament confirmed Hari Kostov, former Interior Minister, as Prime Minister June 2, 2004. Prime Minister Kostov resigned November 15, 2004. On December 17, 2004, former Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski was confirmed by parliament as Prime Minister, maintaining the coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Liberal-Democratic (LDP) parties.

With international assistance, the current governing coalition has made significant strides toward implementation of remaining provisions of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which is a precondition for Macedonia's eventual integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. A referendum scheduled for November 7, 2004, which would have delayed completion of this process, failed, freeing the way for the government to complete Framework Agreement implementation.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The unicameral assembly (Sobranie) consists of 120 seats. Members are elected by popular vote from party lists, based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of six election districts of 20 seats each. Members of parliament have a 4-year mandate.

The prime minister is the head of government and is selected by the party or coalition that gains a majority of seats in parliament. The prime minister and other ministers must not be members of parliament.

The president represents Macedonia at home and abroad. He is the commander in chief of the armed forces of Macedonia and heads its Security Council. The president is elected by general, direct ballot and has a term of 5 years, with the right to one reelection.

General parliamentary elections were last held on September 15, 2002. Presidential elections were held April 14 and 28, 2004 to succeed President Trajkovski, who died in office in February 2004. Local elections will be held in 2005.

The court system consists of a Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and local and appeals courts. The Republican Judicial Council is composed of 7 members elected by parliament for a period of 6 years with the right to one re-election; it governs the ethical conduct of judges and recommends to parliament the election of judges. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country and is responsible for the equal administration of laws by all courts. Its judges are appointed by parliament without time limit. The Constitutional Court is responsible for the protection of constitutional and legal rights and for resolving conflicts of power between the three branches of government. Its 9 judges are appointed by parliament with a mandate of 9 years, without the possibility of re-election. An independent Public Prosecutor is appointed by parliament with a 6-year mandate.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 12/17/04

President: Branko CRVENKOVSKI
Prime Minister: Vlado BUCKOVSKI
Dep. Prime Min. for Economic Policy: Minco JORDANOV
Dep. Prime Min. for European Integration: Radmila SEKERINSKA
Dep. Prime Min. for Framework Agreement Implementation: Musa XHAFERI
Dep. Prime Min. for Political Systems: Jovan MANASIEVSKI
Min. of Agriculture, Forestry, & Waterways: Sadulla DURAKU
Min. of Culture: Blagoj STEFANOVSKI
Min. of Defense: Jovan MANASIEVSKI
Min. of Economics: Fatmir BESIMI
Min. of Education & Science: Aziz POLLOZHANI
Min. of Environment: Zoran SAPURIC
Min. of Finance: Nikola POPOVSKI
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Ilinka MITREVA
Min. of Health: Vladimir DIMOV
Min. of the Interior: Ljubomir MIHAJLOVSKI
Min. of Justice: Meri MLADENOVSKA-GEORGIEVSKA
Min. of Labor & Social Welfare: Stevco JAKIMOVSKI
Min. of Local Government: Rizvan SULEJMANI
Min. of Transportation & Communications: Xhemali MEHAZI
Min. Without Portfolio: Vlado POPOVSKI
Min. Without Portfolio: Musa XHAFERI
Min. Without Portfolio: Radmila SEKERINSKA
Min. Without Portfolio: Minco JORDANOV
Speaker, Assembly: Ljubco JORDANOVSKI
Governor, Macedonian National Bank: Petar GOSEV
Ambassador to the US: Nikola DIMITROV
Charge d'Affaires to the UN, New York: Jon IVONOVSKI

The country maintains an embassy in the United States at 1101 30 Street, NW, Suite 302, Washington, DC 20007 (tel: (202) 337-3063; fax: (202) 337-3093).


ECONOMY

Macedonia is a small economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $4.6 billion, representing about 0.01% of the total world output. It also is an open economy, highly integrated into international trade, with a total trade-to-GDP ratio of 79.5%. Agriculture and industry have been the two most important sectors of the economy, but the services sector came on strong in the past few years. All three sectors provide a limited number of high-quality finished products. Like most transition economies, problems persist, even as Macedonia takes steps toward reform. A largely obsolete industrial infrastructure has not seen much investment during the transition period. Work force education and skills are competitive, but without adequate jobs, many with the best skills seek employment abroad. A low standard of living and high unemployment rates prompt occasional social unrest.

Five years of continuous economic expansion in Macedonia was interrupted by the 2001 conflict, which led to a contraction of 4.5% in 2001, despite the government being able to hold inflation at a stable average 5.3%. In 2002, the economy struggled to recover, posting only 0.7% growth. Growth started to pick up in 2003, with real GDP reaching 3.1%. The external debt-to-GDP ratio in 2003 was 38.4%. The economy still has not been able to fully recover to its pre-2001 crisis level, and living standards still lag those of pre-independence. In 2004, real growth is projected to reach 2.5% with inflation of up to 2.8%. The United States is supporting Macedonia's transition to a democratic, secure, market-oriented society with substantial amounts of assistance.

Background

After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia, the former Yugoslavia's poorest republic, faced formidable economic challenges posed by both the transition to a market economy and a difficult regional situation. The breakup deprived Macedonia of key protected markets and large transfer payments from the central Yugoslav government. The war in nearby Bosnia, international sanctions on Serbia, and the neighboring Kosovo crisis in 1999 delivered successive shocks to Macedonia's trade-dependent economy. The government's painful but necessary structural reforms and macroeconomic stabilization program generated additional economic dislocation. Macedonia was especially hurt by the Greek trade embargo, imposed in February 1994 in a dispute over the country's name, flag, and constitution, and by international trade sanctions against Serbia that were not suspended until a month after conclusion of the Dayton Accords. As a result of these two border closures, 1995 GDP declined to 41% of its 1989 level.

Coincident to these problems, the country pursued an ambitious stabilization and reform program after independence. Despite external factors, the program yielded positive results through 1998 and won praise from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. A robust financial austerity program stabilized the Macedonian denar and reduced the fiscal deficit. Inflation remained low for several years and was on average slightly negative in 1998 and 1999. Though economic growth suffered in the country's first 5 years of independence, a modest recovery was in progress—with 3.4% growth for 1998—until the Kosovo crisis.

Macedonia proved the most economically vulnerable of regional neighbors to the 1999 Kosovo conflict's spill-overs. At the height of the crisis, Macedonia sheltered more than 350,000 Kosovar refugees, straining fiscal accounts and increasing social pressures. Per capita foreign direct investment (FDI), already the lowest in the region, worsened as investors lost confidence. With unemployment around 33%, the crisis exacerbated economic privation.

Before the Kosovo crisis, up to 70% of the country's economy had been dependent on inputs from, exports to, or transport through the then-Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). At the height of the crisis, total exports had fallen to about 75% of the 1998 level. Exports to the FRY were down by about 80%. Exports that had previously transited the FRY (one-half of total exports) were hurt, as alternative transit routes through Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece increased transportation costs and delivery times, making Macedonian products less competitive. Export-processing contracts with other countries suffered cancellations over concerns about delivery risks.

Despite the impact of the Kosovo crisis on Macedonia's economy, marketing efforts were reoriented, new markets were identified and exploited, and the Kosovo market reopened in mid-summer 1999. A May 1999 international donors conference projected contraction of Macedonia's economy of around 5%—a swing of 10 percentage points from pre-conflict projections of 5% growth. However, these projections assumed the Kosovo conflict would continue through the end of the year. Early termination of the conflict in June led to an economic rebound and growth of around 2.7% in real terms for 1999.

Macedonia rescheduled its Paris Club debt in 1995, and again in early 1999, including $93 million of debt, interest, and arrears to the United States. The Kosovo crisis led to an appeal to have debt forgiven or deferred. A Paris Club agreement to defer Macedonian debt service ran out April 2000. Paris Club creditors agreed that repayment terms for amounts deferred during the Kosovo crisis would be set at 5 years, with 1 year as grace.

At the beginning of 2001, Macedonia's economic situation appeared to be improving, with visible signs of increased activity and dynamism, but with the start of the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia, the country's solid macroeconomic performance in 2000 and the beginning of 2001 began to slide and remained substantially depressed in 2001. Real GDP declined by 4.5% in 2001, as output deteriorated in most sectors. Inflation averaged 5.5% instead of the initially projected 2.2%. Current account deficit in the balance of payments was around 10.1% of GDP, down from an expected surplus of 1%, while the central government budget deficit reached 5.8%. From January through September 2001 the country lost around $200 million of its foreign currency reserves defending the targeted level of the denar against the German mark. Foreign direct investments, credits, grants, and donations declined when the insurgency began, and Macedonia's IMF program went off-track. The IMF and the Government of Macedonia agreed to a 6-month staff-monitored program, beginning January 1, 2002, but government decisions to reimburse depositors of a 1997 failed pyramid scheme and a general wage bill increase in public administration were seen as a threat to a viable budget expenditures policy, posing an obstacle to continuation of the staff-monitoring program and negotiations on a stand-by arrangement. Discussions between the IMF and the new government on a new agreement resumed in November 2002, and a new stand-by arrangement was signed in February 2003 and approved April 30, 2003.

The impact of the 2001 crisis, lower international demand for Macedonian products, canceled contracts in the textile and iron and steel industry, as well as the drought in 2001 affected Macedonia's growth prospects and foreign trade in 2002. Although Macedonia had been scheduled to graduate from International Development Association (IDA) financing in 2001, the World Bank provided $15 million in emergency economic assistance to finance critical imports for the private sector. Real GDP in 2002 grew by 0.3% on annual basis in spite of subdued inflation. The Consumer Price Index-based inflation in 2002 was 1.8%. Declining industrial output adversely affected foreign trade, with exports dropping by 3.7% and imports rising by 16.3%, resulting in a trade deficit of 23% of GDP. The current account deficit in 2002 was 8.8% of GDP. An international donors conference, organized by the World Bank and the European Commission, was held March 12, 2002, in Brussels, at which donors pledged $275 million to assist in covering the projected budget gap, implementing Framework Agreement reforms, and re-energizing the Macedonian economy. Donors also pledged an additional $244 million for general economic development in 2002, outside of the pledge categories defined by the World Bank and European Commission.

Most donor money came in 2003, rewarding the disciplined fiscal policy and stable monetary policy. The IMF signed a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the Macedonian Government worth $27 million. In 2003, real GDP grew by 3.1%, mainly driven by the re-opening of a few loss-makers and strong exports given favorable prices on world markets. The consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation remained very low at 1.2%. The official unemployment rate climbed to 36.7% in 2003. A restrictive fiscal policy under the IMF program brought the budget deficit down to 1.1% of GDP, providing room for a relaxation of monetary policy, which resulted in lower interest rates. Although exports grew faster than imports compared to 2002, the trade deficit in 2003 remained large at 20.3% of GDP, while the current account deficit stabilized at 6% of GDP. External debt stood at 38.4% of GDP.

Currently, Macedonia is undertaking reforms in its economic and political systems, with the goal of boosting economic growth and attracting increased levels of foreign investment. Macedonia recently passed a progressive trade companies law, which should ease impediments to foreign investment, along with tax and investment incentives. Though concerns stemming from the 2001 conflict linger, the internationally mediated Framework Agreement is being implemented, and Macedonia's political and security situation has stabilized, allowing the government to refocus energies on domestic reforms. Fiscal consolidation, low inflation, and a fall in interest rates indicate good potential for an eventual recovery of the economy. Political and security normalization, macro-economic stability, and fiscal discipline are providing a foundation for higher growth rates. The Macedonian Government's main economic policy goals remain to attract foreign investments, to increase employment and to reduce poverty. It has pledged to undertake measures to maintain fiscal discipline and to reduce interest rates even further. Developing the Small and Medium-Size Enterprise (SME) sector and intensifying structural reforms also are high on the government's list of priorities. The Government's progress on structural economic reforms slowed in 2004 as the country faced a series of challenges—the death of President Trajkovski, resulting in early presidential elections, a contentious debate over Framework Agreement-mandated decentralization legislation, and most recently a referendum on municipal boundaries, which took place November 7, 2004. Industrial output fell during the first half of 2004, forcing a downward revision in annual GDP growth estimates from 4 to 2.5%. Macedonian authorities and the IMF are discussing a follow-on to the Stand-By-Arrangement, which ended mid-2004.

Macedonia is committed to pursuing membership in European and global economic structures. It was officially accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on October 15, 2002. Parliament ratified the agreement in January 2003, clearing the way for Macedonia to become a full member in March 2003. Following a 1997 cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU), Macedonia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in April 2001, giving Macedonia duty-free access to European markets. After ratification in parliaments of all EU member countries, the agreement went into force on April 2, 2004.

Trade

Macedonia's foreign trade balance has been in deficit since 1994, and is expected to widen in 2004 to an estimated $745 million, or 14.9% of GDP. Total 2003 trade was $3.66 billion, or 79.5% of GDP—imports plus exports of goods and services. Macedonia's major trading partners are Serbia and Montenegro, Germany, and Greece. The United States is Macedonia's seventh-largest trading partner. In 2003, U.S.-Macedonia trade in goods totaled $129.1 million. According to Macedonian trade data, U.S. exports accounted for 2.4% of Macedonia's total imports. U.S. meat, mainly poultry, and electrical machinery have been particularly attractive to Macedonian importers. Principal Macedonian exports to the United States are tobacco, apparel, footwear, and iron and steel.

Macedonia has signed Free Trade Agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Turkey, and the European Free Trade Association countries, and is currently in the early stages of negotiating an agreement with Kosovo.


DEFENSE

Macedonia established its armed forces following independence and the complete withdrawal of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in March 1992. The Macedonian Armed Forces consist of an army, navy, air and air defense force, and a police force (under the Ministry of Interior). Under its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Membership Action Plan, Macedonia has launched a major effort to reform and reconstruct its armed forces with the goal of building and sustaining a modern, professional defense force of about 12,000 troops.

Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has worked toward increased ties with the transatlantic community. Despite the fragile political, economic, and military situation in the region over the past decade, Macedonia has provided consistent support for NATO. Macedonia is engaged in military, economic, and political reforms to enhance its security and NATO candidacy, although the security crisis of 2001 represented a setback to those efforts. The Government of Macedonia plans to assume greater responsibility for its share of ensuring the security of the region without reliance on an international military presence. Successive Macedonian governments have viewed integration into Euro-Atlantic political, economic, and security institutions as the country's primary foreign policy goal. In pursuit of these goals, Macedonia is restructuring its military to be smaller, more affordable, defensively oriented, and interoperable with NATO. The Macedonian Government has welcomed close cooperation with the U.S. military and seeks to deepen this relationship as it restructures its forces.

The UN Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in Macedonia patrolled the borders with Serbia and Albania from 1992 to November 1998, enhancing Macedonian stability. In early December 1998, the Macedonian Government approved local basing of the NATO Extraction Force (XFOR) and the Kosovo Verification Coordination Cell (KVCC), in anticipation of a political resolution of the Kosovo crisis, also contributing to Macedonia's safety and stability. Prior to the bombing campaign in Yugoslavia in March 1999, the number of NATO troops in Macedonia peaked at 17,000.

In the wake of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia, at the government's request, NATO deployed Task Forces "Essential Harvest," then "Amber Fox," and later "Allied Harmony" in Macedonia in confidence-building tasks and protection for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors in the former conflict area. Task Force Essential Harvest collected more than 4,000 weapons from the National Liberation Army (NLA) in a confidence-building effort to restore stability within Macedonia. "Amber Fox" (June through December 2002) and its smaller successor "Allied Harmony" (January to March 2003) worked with Macedonian security forces to ensure the safety of international monitors overseeing Framework Agreement implementation in Macedonia. On March 31, 2003, the EU (EUFOR) took over this role from NATO with the launch of "Operation Concordia," which ended December 15, 2003. At the Macedonian Government's request, the EU established a Police Advisory Mission in Macedonia in December 2003 to assist the country's police reforms.

Macedonia continues to play an indispensable role as the Kosovo Force's (KFOR) rear area, hosting the logistical supply line for KFOR troops in Kosovo. As part of these efforts, Macedonia hosts about 150 NATO troops, including U.S. troops, in support of NATO operations in Kosovo and assisting Macedonia's efforts to reform its military to meet NATO standards. Due to improvements in the security situation and U.S. KFOR drawdowns in Kosovo, the United States closed its Camp Able Sentry base in Macedonia in December 2002. Close U.S.-Macedonian bilateral defense cooperation continues.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

In February 1994, Greece imposed a trade embargo on Macedonia due to disputes over the use of the name "Macedonia" and other issues. Greece and Macedonia signed an interim accord in October 1995 ending the embargo and opening the way to diplomatic recognition and increased trade. After signing the agreement with Greece, Macedonia joined the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP). Athens and Skopje began talks on the name issue in New York under UN auspices in December 1995, opening liaison offices in respective capitals January 1996. These talks continue.

The stability of the young state was gravely tested during the 1999 Kosovo crisis, when Macedonia temporarily hosted about 360,000 refugees from the violence and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, as Serb atrocities against Kosovar Albanians and other minority groups caused a mass exodus. The refugee influx put significant stress on Macedonia's weak social infrastructure. With the help of NATO and the international community, Macedonia ultimately was able to accommodate the influx. Following the resolution of the conflict, the overwhelming majority of refugees returned to Kosovo. The Macedonian Government demonstrated a strong commitment to regional stability as an essential partner during the Kosovo crisis.

In addition to improving relations with its neighbors, Macedonia has made strides toward European and international integration, especially with the EU and NATO. Macedonia is an active participant in NATO's Partnership for Peace and Membership Action Plan, the OSCE, and United Nations, and was accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October 2002. In 1999, the EU agreed to develop a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Macedonia; negotiations with Macedonia were launched April 5, 2000. The SAA was signed April 2001 and came into force in April 2004. Its trade and trade-related provisions have been in force since June 2001. For Macedonia to successfully integrate within the global arena, continued efforts to strengthen its multiethnic civil society institutions, to develop measures to promote economic growth and investment, and to foster strong indigenous non-governmental organizations are necessary.


U.S.-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Macedonia have enjoyed good bilateral relations since Macedonia gained its independence in 1991. The United States formally recognized Macedonia on February 8, 1994, and the two countries established full diplomatic relations on September 13, 1995. The U.S. Liaison Office was upgraded to an Embassy in February 1996, and the first U.S. Ambassador to Skopje arrived in July 1996. The development of political relations between the United States and Macedonia has ushered in a whole host of other contacts between the two states.

During the 1999 Kosovo crisis, Macedonia played a key role in facilitating U.S. and international efforts in the region by accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees, served as a launching pad for allied military efforts, and functioned as the long-term conduit for humanitarian assistance programs and military logistics for Kosovo. The United States, together with its European allies, strongly condemned the initiators of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia and closely supported the government and major parties' successful efforts to forge a peaceful, political solution to the crisis through the Ohrid Framework Agreement. In partnership with the EU and other international organizations active in Macedonia, the United States is facilitating the Macedonian Government's implementation of the Framework Agreement and fostering long-term peace and stability in the country. Macedonia continues to make an important contribution to regional stability by facilitating the logistical supply of NATO (including U.S.) peacekeepers in Kosovo.

Today, Macedonia and the United States enjoy a cooperative relationship across a broad range of political, economic, cultural, military, and social issues. The United States supports Macedonia's aspirations to build a democratically secure and market-oriented society, and has donated large amounts of foreign assistance for military reform, democracy and economic reform, and humanitarian relief efforts. The United States pledged $6 million in debt relief and $22 million in Economic Support Funds to Macedonia in 1999 to help offset the strains of the Kosovo crisis. The United States provided an estimated $35 million to Macedonia to help host communities cope with refugee inflows. In addition, the United States helped reduce the refugee impact on Macedonia by resettling in the United States more than 13,000 persons through the Humanitarian Evacuation Program. Bilateral assistance provided to Macedonia under the Southeast Europe Economic Development (SEED) Act totaled over $378 million from 1990 to 2003, including budget support and other assistance to help Macedonia recover from the 2001 crisis. Macedonia will have received $39 million in 2004.

The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) development program in Macedonia targets four goals: accelerating economic growth and private sector development; strengthening democratic institutions; mitigating adverse impacts of market economic transition; and supporting cross-cutting and special initiatives. USAID provides assistance to Macedonian enterprises through a business resource center, credit and equity mechanisms, trade and investment facilitation, and other programs. In 2002 and 2003, USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives through a small grants program helped mitigate conflict and strengthen relations between diverse groups of peoples by bringing them together to identify and address common needs. A competitiveness initiative is identifying constraints to economic growth and strategies for export promotion. USAID legal advisers helped reform taxation, banking, bankruptcy, and monopoly regulations and assisted with Macedonia's accession to the WTO. Programs are helping to build the capacity of municipal governments to better serve the public and to advance the decentralization of power to municipalities under the Framework Agreement.

USAID assistance helps strengthen Macedonia's non-governmental organization (NGO) networks, bolster media professionalism, further legal system reforms, and increase public confidence and participation in the democratic process and institutions. Activities address the quality of education and work force development, through support for the private, accredited South East Europe University and primary and secondary education reforms to meet employer needs and market requirement in the 21st century. USAID efforts encourage job creation, especially for youth, expand markets for Macedonian artisans, and improve cooperation between municipalities and the private sector. USAID also is addressing cross-cutting issues such as ethnic cooperation, gender-based problems and disparities, youth, corruption, HIV/AIDS, and conflict mitigation.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SKOPJE (E) Address: Bul Ilinden bb, 1000 Skopje; Phone: 389-2-311-6180; Fax: 389-2-311-7103; INMARSAT Tel: 871-761-836-255; Work-week: Mon-Fri 0800-1700; Website:

AMB:Lawrence E. Butler
AMB OMS:Colleen Kozubek
DCM:Paul Wohlers
POL/ECO:Stephen Hubler
CON:Julie Ruterbories
MGT:Sarah Solberg
AFSA:Victor Myev
AID:Richard Goldman
CLO:David Brown
CUS:Mark Stomski
DAO:Ulises Soto
ECO:Victor Myev
EEO:Lisa Gisvold
FMO:Al Gorriaran
GSO:Luisa Abbott
ICASS Chair:Christopher Benya
IMO:Mark Wilson
IPO:Sheik Huie
ISSO:Scott Guilliatt
MLO:Christopher Benya
PAO:Michael Orlansky
RSO:Seth Lindenfeld
State ICASS:Victor Myev
Last Updated: 11/4/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 22, 2004

Country Description: Macedonia is a developing nation undergoing economic change. Conditions in tourist facilities vary considerably and may not be up to western standards.

Entry/Exit Requirements: U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Macedonia. A visa for Macedonia is not required for tourist/business purposes for stays up to 90 days. For stays longer than 90 days, American citizens need to obtain the appropriate visa at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate prior to their trip. Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Macedonian Embassy at 1101 30 th St. NW, Suite 302, Washington, D.C., 20007, telephone (202) 337-3063, fax (202) 337-3093, e-mail [email protected], or the Macedonian Consulate General in Detroit, 2000 Town center, Suite 1130, Southfield, MI 48075, telephone (248) 354-5537, fax (248) 354-5538.

Foreigners, including American citizens, who enter Macedonia and will stay in private accommodations, are required to register with the nearest police station within three days. Foreigners staying in hotels are not required to register, as the hotel is responsible for registration with the police. Persons who overstay their visas should contact the Ministry of Interior in Skopje to obtain an exit visa; failure to do so may result in difficulties in departing the country.

Travelers should be aware that all immediate border areas apart from designated border crossings are military restricted zones. Presence in these zones is forbidden without prior official permission.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

Safety and Security: While the security situation in Macedonia has stabilized, occasional inter-ethnic and criminal violence remains a concern. The overall number of security incidents has diminished significantly since 2001. Travelers should be alert for unusual behavior and other possible indicators that something out of the ordinary is in progress. Acts of intimidation and violence against American citizens have not occurred recently but remain possible.

Americans should avoid demonstrations and other sites, such as roadblocks, where large crowds are gathered, particularly those involving political causes or striking workers.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where current Worldwide Caution Public Announcements, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security conditions can also be obtained by calling 1-800-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00a.m. to 8:00p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet: A Safe Trip Abroad.

Crime: Crime in Macedonia is low by U.S. standards; however, incidents of theft and other petty crimes do occur, and travelers should take the same precautions they would take in any unfamiliar environment. Criminal inter-gang rivalries and individuals associated with organized crime, particularly in western Macedonia, have been the source of periodic violent confrontations resulting in serious injury and even death to innocent people.

The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Information for Victims of Crime: If you are a victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to the local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/brochure_victim_assistance.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Although Macedonian physicians are trained to a high standard, most hospitals and clinics are generally not equipped and maintained at U.S. or Western European standards. Basic medical supplies are available, but specialized treatment may not be obtainable. Travelers with previously diagnosed medical conditions may wish to consult their physician before travel.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Macedonia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:

Driving safely in Macedonia requires good defensive driving skills. Drivers routinely ignore traffic regulations including driving through red lights and stop signs and turning left from the far right hand lane. These driving practices cause frequent traffic accidents. With a rate of 7.8 deaths per million kilometers driven, drivers, passengers and pedestrians in Macedonia are over seven times more likely to die from a traffic accident than if they were in the United States. Macedonia is currently one of the highest ranked countries in the world for per capital traffic related fatalities.

Driving is on the right side of the road. Speed limits are generally posted. Americans driving in Macedonia should possess a valid American driver's license and an International Driving Permit. Most major highways are in good repair, but secondary urban and rural roads are poorly maintained, often unlit and are used by horse-drawn carts and livestock. While driving, it is not unusual to come across dead animals, rocks, or objects that have fallen from trucks. Some vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Secondary mountain roads can be narrow, poorly marked, lack guard-rails and quickly become dangerous in inclement weather. Overall public transportation in Macedonia is dilapidated. Roadside emergency services are limited.

In case of emergency, drivers may contact the police at telephone 192, the Ambulance Service at telephone 194 and Roadside Assistance at telephone 196.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information or visit Macedonia's national tourist office website at: http://www.skopjetourism.org.

Special Circumstances: In addition to being subject to all Macedonian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual U.S./Macedonian nationals may be subject to Macedonian laws that impose special obligations. Male Macedonian citizens are subject to compulsory military draft regulations. If such persons are found guilty of draft evasion in Macedonia – or draft evasion from the former Yugoslavia prior to 1991 – they are subject to prosecution by Macedonian authorities. Those who might be affected should inquire at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate outside Macedonia regarding their status before travel.

Macedonian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or export from Macedonia of certain items, including items deemed to be of historical value or significance. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities. If in doubt, please ask permission before taking photographs. Macedonia has a cash based economy. The local currency is the denar. Few establishments accept dollars, credit cars or travelers' checks.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Macedonian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Macedonia are severe and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at: http://www.travel.state.gov/family/index.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Macedonia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website: https://travelregistration.state.gov/, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Macedonia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of an emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Ilindenska bb, 91000 Skopje, tel. (389) (2) 3116-180, fax (389) (2) 3213-767. Registration forms are available on the Embassy's website, located at: http://skopje.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption

January 2005

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family

Disclaimer: This document regarding the legal requirements on adoption of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

Availability of Children for Adoption: In general, the number of requests for adoption is significantly higher than the number of children available for adoption.

FY-1998: IR-3 immigrant visas issued to Macedonian orphans adopted abroad – 1, IR-4 immigrant visas issued to Macedonian orphans adopted in the U.S. – 0

FY-1999: IR-3 visas—1, IR-4 visas – 2
FY-2000: IR-3 visas—0, IR-4 visas – 2

* Please note: The American Embassy in Belgrade had jurisdiction over the Macedonian consular district until March 1999. Most Macedonian immigrant visas were issued in Belgrade*

Macedonian Adoption Authority: The office responsible for foreign adoptions in Macedonia is the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, whose address is: 14 Dame Gruev St.; Skopje 1000; Tel: 389-2-106-226.

The completion of the adoption case in Macedonia involves a choice of a name and place of birth within Macedonia for the child made by the adoptive parents. A birth certificate is then issued within 2-3 days and the names of the adoptive parents are listed in the birth certificate as biological parents. The next step is for the adoptive parents to apply for a Macedonian passport for their adopted child in order to apply for immigrant visa at the American Embassy in Skopje.

Parents should be aware that adopted children lose their Macedonian nationality once the adoption is completed.

Age and Civil Status Requirements: There are no age requirements or restrictions on who may adopt an infant from Macedonia.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: The Macedonian Ministry of Labor does not deal with any adoption agency or lawyer for foreign adoptions. The Ministry will only communicate directly with the adoptive parents.

Doctors: The U.S. Embassy maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines should either you or your child experience health problems while in Macedonia.

Documents Required for Adoption: The following documents are required by the Macedonian Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs:

  • Home study conducted by U.S. authorities
  • Certified Copy of a Birth Certificate for each parent (issued within the last 6 months);
  • Certified Copy of the parent's Marriage Certificate (issued within the last 6 months);
  • Medical certificate certifying good mental and physical condition for each parent;
  • Certificate from a Office of Social Services from the parent's state of residence certifying that the adoptive parents were never deprived of their parental rights;
  • A letter from the employer for each parent showing that they have a current employment;
  • Notarized/authenticated Statement showing proof of adequate financial status sufficient to support a child;
  • Request for adoption;
  • Approved petition from the BCIS (Form I-171H);

Each parent should present a separate document from item 2 to 6. The documents must be translated in Macedonian, and certified by a licensed court translator.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: A Macedonian child adopted by an American citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details.

Macedonian Embassy and Consulate Office in the United States:

Embassy of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
3050 K. Street NW, Suite 210
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: 202-337-3063; Fax: 202-337-3093

Consulate General of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
866 United Nations Plaza; Suite 4018
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-317-1727; Fax: 212-317-1484

U.S. Embassy in Macedonia:
U.S. Embassy Macedonia
Ilindenska, b.b.
1000 Skopje
Tel: 389-2-116-180;
Fax: 389-2-213-767

Questions: Any further questions regarding adoption of an infant from Macedonia may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, SA-29, 2201 C Street, NW, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-2818, phone 1-888-407-4747 with specific questions.

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Macedonia

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the October 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Macedonia

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 25,713 square km. (slightly larger than Vermont).

Cities: (2001 est.) Capital—Skopje 600,000; Tetovo, Kumanovo, Gostivar and Bitola 100,000+.

Geography: Situated in the southern region of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia is landlocked and mountainous.

Climate: Three climatic types overlap—Mediterranean; moderately continental; and mountainous, producing hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.

People

Population: (2006 est.) 2,042,894.

Growth rate: (2006 est.) 0.2%.

Ethnic groups: (2002) Macedonian 64.18%, Albanian 25.17%, Turkish 3.85%, Roma 2.66%, Serb 1.78%.

Religions: Eastern Orthodox 65%, Muslim 29%, Catholic 4% and others 2%.

Languages: Macedonian 70%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 3%, and others 3%.

Education: Years compulsory—8. Literacy—94.6%.

Health: (2006 est.) Infant mortality rate—11.1 deaths/per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy—males 71.79 years; females 76.43 years. Labor force (2006) 903,576; employed 578,810: services—37.5%; industry and commerce—44.9%; agriculture—17.6%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.

Constitution: Adopted November 17, 1991; effective November 20, 1991. Amended January 6, 1992.

Independence: September 8, 1991 (from Yugoslavia).

Government branches: Executive—prime minister (head of government), council of ministers (cabinet), president (head of state). Legislative—unicameral parliament or Sobranie (120 members elected by popular vote to 4-year terms from party lists based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of six election units). Judicial—Supreme Court, State Judicial Council, Constitutional Court, Public Prosecutor's Office, Public Attorney. Legal system is based on civil law; judicial review of legislative acts.

Political subdivisions: 84 opstini (municipalities) plus the city of Sko-e.

Suffrage: Universal at age 18.

Political parties: Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE); Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM); Democratic Union for Integration (DUI); Democratic Part of Albanians (DPA); New Social Democratic Party (NSDP); Internal Mace-donian Revolutionary Organization-People's Party (VMRO-NP); Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP); Democratic Renewal of Macedonia (DOM); National Democratic Party (NDP); Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP); Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM); Liberal Party (LP); Democratic Alternative (DA); Democratic Union (DU); Democratic Party of the Turks in Macedonia (DPTM); Democratic League of Bosniaks; Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, United Party of Romas in Macedonia; Democratic Union of Vlachs from Macedonia; Labor-Agricultural Party of Macedonia, Socialist-Christian Party of Macedonia.

Economy

GDP: (2006 est.) $6.215 billion.

Per capita GDP: (2006 est.) $3,042.

Real GDP growth: (2006 est.) 3.1%.

Annualized inflation rate: (2006) 3.2%.

Unemployment rate: (2006) 36.0%.

Trade: Significant exports—steel, textile products, chromium, lead, zinc, nickel, tobacco, lamb, and wine.

Exchange rate: (2005 avg.) 49.3 Macedonian denars = U.S.$1; (2006 avg.) 48.8 Macedonian denars = U.S.$1.

GEOGRAPHY

Macedonia is located in the heart of south central Europe. It shares a border with Greece to the south, Bulgaria to the east, Serbia (and Kosovo) to the north, and Albania to the west. The country is 80% mountainous, rising to its highest point at Mt. Korab (peak 2,764 m).

PEOPLE

Since the end of the Second World War, Macedonia's population has grown steadily, with the greatest increases occurring in the ethnic Albanian community. From 1953 through the time of the latest official census in 2002 (initial official results were released December 2003), the percentage of ethnic Albanians living in Macedonia rose threefold. The western part of the country, where most ethnic Albanians live, is the most heavily populated, with approximately 40% of the total population. As in many countries, people have moved into the cities in search of employment. Macedonia has also experienced sustained high rates of permanent or seasonal emigration.

HISTORY

Throughout its history, the present-day territory of Macedonia has been a crossroads for both traders and conquerors moving between the European continent and Asia Minor. Each of these transiting powers left its mark upon the region, giving rise to a rich and varied cultural and historical tradition.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the territory of Macedonia fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was during this period that large groups of Slavic people migrated to the Balkan region. The Ottoman Turks conquered the territory in the 15th century; it remained under Ottoman Turkish rule until 1912.

After more than four centuries of rule, Ottoman power in the region began to wane, and by the middle of the 19th century, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia were competing for influence in the territory. During this time, a nationalist movement emerged and grew in Macedonia. The latter half of the 19th century, and continuing into the early part of the 20th century, was marked by sporadic nationalist uprisings, culminating in the Ilinden Uprising of August 2, 1903. Macedonian revolutionaries liberated the town of Krushevo and established the short-lived Republic of Krushevo, which was put down by Ottoman forces after 10 days. Following Ottoman Turkey's defeat by the allied Balkan countries—Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece—during the First Balkan War in autumn 1912, the same allies fought the Second Balkan War over the division of Macedonia. The August 1913 Treaty of Bucharest ended this conflict by dividing the territory between Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles sanctioned partitioning Macedonia between The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Bulgaria, and Greece. In the wake of the First World War, Vardar Macedonia (the present day area of the Republic of Macedonia) was incorporated into the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

Throughout much of the Second World War, Bulgaria and Italy occupied Macedonia. Many people joined partisan movements during this time and succeeded in liberating the region in late 1944. Following the war, Macedonia became one of the constituent republics of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito. During this period, Macedonian culture and language flourished.

As communism fell throughout Eastern Europe in the late 20th century, Macedonia followed its other federation partners and declared its independence from Yugoslavia in late 1991. Macedonia was the only republic of the former Yugoslavia whose secession in 1991 was not clouded by ethnic or other armed conflict, although the ethnic Albanian population declined to participate in the referendum on independence. The new Macedonian constitution took effect November 20, 1991 and called for a system of government based on a parliamentary democracy. The first democratically elected coalition government was led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and included the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP). Kiro Gligorov became the first President of an independent Macedonia.

President Gligorov was the first president of a former Yugoslav republic to relinquish office. In accordance with the terms of the Macedonian constitution, his presidency ended in November 1999 after 8 years in office, which included surviving a car bombing assassination attempt in 1995. He was succeeded by former Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski (VMRO-DPMNE), who defeated Tito Petkovski (SDSM) in a second-round run-off election for the presidency on November 14, 1999. Trajkovski's election was confirmed by a December 5, 1999 partial re-vote in 230 polling stations, which the Macedonian Supreme Court mandated due to election irregularities.

In November 1998 parliamentary elections, the SDSM lost its majority. A new coalition government emerged under the leadership of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE). The initial coalition included the ethnic Albanian Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA).

During the Yugoslav period, Macedonian ethnic identity was evident in that most of Macedonia's Slavic population identified themselves as Macedonians, while several minority groups, in particular ethnic Albanians, retained their own distinct political culture and language. Although interethnic tensions simmered under Yugoslav authority and during the first decade of its independence, the country avoided ethnically motivated conflict until several years after independence. Ethnic minority grievances, which had erupted on occasion (1995 and 1997), rapidly began to gain political currency in late 2000, leading many in the ethnic Albanian community in Macedonia to question their minority protection under, and participation in, the government. Tensions erupted into open hostilities in Macedonia in February 2001, when a group of ethnic Albanians near the Kosovo border carried out armed provocations that soon escalated into an insurgency. Purporting to fight for greater civil rights for ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, the group seized territory and launched attacks against government forces. Many observers ascribed other motives to the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA), including support for criminality and the assertion of political control over affected areas. The insurgency spread through northern and western Macedonia during the first half of 2001. Under international mediation, a cease-fire was brokered in July 2001, and the government coalition was expanded in July 2001 to form a grand coalition which included the major opposition parties.

The expanded coalition of ruling ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders, with facilitation by U.S. and European Union (EU) diplomats, negotiated and then signed the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August 2001, which brought an end to the fighting. The agreement called for implementation of constitutional and legislative changes, which lay the foundation for improved civil rights for minority groups. The Macedonian parliament adopted the constitutional changes outlined in the accord in November 2001. The grand coalition disbanded following the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and the passage of new constitutional amendments. A coalition led by Prime Minister Georgievski, including DPA and several smaller parties, completed its parliamentary term.

In September 2002 elections, an SDSM-led pre-election coalition won half of the 120 seats in parliament. Branko Crvenkovski was elected Prime Minister in coalition with the

ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party and the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP).

On February 26, 2004 President Tra-jkovski died in a plane crash in Bosnia. Presidential elections were held April 14 and 28, 2004. Then-Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski won the second round and was inaugurated President on May 12, 2004. The parliament confirmed Hari Kostov, former Interior Minister, as Prime Minister June 2, 2004. Prime Minister Kostov resigned November 15, 2004. On December 17, 2004, former Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski was confirmed by parliament as Prime Minister, maintaining the coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Liberal-Democratic (LDP) parties.

With international assistance, the SDSM-DUI-LDP governing coalition completed the legislative implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which is a precondition for Macedonia's integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. A November 7, 2004 referendum opposing completion of this process failed, freeing the way for the government to complete Framework Agreement implementation.

Local elections were held in March-April 2005 under a new territorial reorganization plan that consolidated the overall number of Macedonia's municipalities and created a number of ethnically-mixed municipalities in which ethnic Albanian populations were dominant. The process of decentralization began in the new municipalities in July 2005 and is continuing.

The July 2006 parliamentary elections resulted in a VMRO-DPMNE-led government assuming power, in coalition with DPA, NSDP, and several smaller parties. The new government, which was confirmed in office by a parliamentary vote on August 26, 2006, stated its commitment to completing Framework Agreement implementation and reaffirmed its commitment to pursuing NATO and EU membership.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The unicameral assembly (Sobranie) consists of 120 seats. Members are elected by popular vote from party lists, based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of six election districts of 20 seats each. Members of parliament have a 4-year mandate.

The Prime Minister is the head of government and is selected by the party or coalition that gains a majority of seats in parliament. The Prime Minister and other ministers must not be members of parliament.

The President represents Macedonia at home and abroad. He is the commander in chief of the armed forces of Macedonia and heads its Security Council. The President is elected by general, direct ballot and has a term of 5 years, with the right to one reelection.

General parliamentary elections were last held on July 5, 2006. Presidential elections were held April 14 and 28, 2004 to succeed President Trajkovski, who died in office in February 2004. Local elections on the basis of a new municipal division mandated by the Framework Agreement were held in March-April 2005. The court system consists of a Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and local and appeals courts. The State Judicial Council governs the ethical conduct of judges and recommends to parliament the election of judges. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country and is responsible for the equal administration of laws by all courts. Its judges are appointed by parliament without time limit. The Constitutional Court is responsible for the protection of constitutional and legal rights and for resolving conflicts of power between the three branches of government. Its 9 judges are appointed by parliament with a mandate of 9 years, without the possibility of reelection. An independent Public Prosecutor is appointed by parliament with a 6-year mandate.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Pres.: Branko CRVENKOVSKI

Prime Min.: Nikola GRUEVSKI

Dep. Prime Min. for Agriculture & Education: Zivko JANKULOVSKI

Dep. Prime Min. for Economic Affairs: Zoran STAVRESKI

Dep. Prime Min. for European Integration: Gabriela KONEVSKA-TRAJKOVSKA

Dep. Prime Min. for Framework Agreement Implementation: Imer ALIU

Min. of Agriculture, Forestry, & Waterways: Ace SPASENOVSKI

Min. of Culture: Arifhikmet XHEMAILI

Min. of Defense: Lazar ELENOVSKI

Min. of Economy: Vera RAFAJLOVSKA

Min. of Education: Sulejman RUSHITI

Min. of Environment: Dzelil BAJRAMI

Min. of Finance: Trajko SLAVESKI

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Antonio MILOSOSKI

Min. of Health: Imer SELMANI

Min. of the Interior: Gordana JANKULOVSKA

Min. of Justice: Mihajlo MANEVSKI

Min. of Labor & Social Policy: Ljupco MESKOV

Min. of Local Self-Govt.: Zoran KONJANOVSKI

Min. of Transport & Communications: Mile JANAKIESKI

Governor, Macedonian National Bank: Petar GOSEV

Ambassador to the US: Zoran JOLEVSKI Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Igor DZUNDEV

The country maintains an embassy in the United States at 2129 Wyoming Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: (202) 667-0501; fax: (202) 667-2131). It maintains a Consulate General in Detroit: 2000 Town Center, Suite 1130, Southfield, MI 48075 (tel: (248) 354-5537; fax: (248) 354-5538).

ECONOMY

Macedonia is a small economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $6.2 billion, representing about 0.01% of the total world output. It also is an open economy, highly integrated into international trade, with a total trade-to-GDP ratio of 99.2%. Agriculture and industry have been the two most important sectors of the economy, but the services sector has gained prominence in the past few years. Economic problems persist, even as Macedonia undertakes structural reforms to finish the transition to a market-oriented economy.

A largely obsolete industrial infrastructure has not seen much investment during the transition period. Labor force education and skills are competitive, but without adequate job opportunities, many with the best skills seek employment abroad. A low standard of living, high unemployment rate, and relatively modest economic growth rate are the central economic problems.

Five years of continuous economic expansion in Macedonia was interrupted by the 2001 conflict, which led to a contraction of 4.5% in 2001. Growth started to pick up in 2003 (2.8%) and continued in 2004 (4.1%), 2005 (3.8%), and 2006 (3.1%). Living standards still lag behind those enjoyed before independence. In 2007, real growth is projected to reach a rather optimistic 6% annually, with inflation of up to 3.2%. The United States is supporting Macedonia's transition to a democratic, secure, market-oriented society with substantial amounts of assistance.

Background

After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia, the former Yugoslavia's poorest republic, faced formidable economic challenges posed by both the transition to a market economy and a difficult regional situation. The breakup deprived Macedonia of key protected markets and large transfer payments from the central Yugoslav government. The war in Bosnia, international sanctions on Serbia, and the 1999 crisis in neighboring Kosovo delivered successive shocks to Macedonia's trade-dependent economy. The government's painful but necessary structural reforms and macroeconomic stabilization program generated additional economic dislocation. Macedonia's economy was hurt especially by a trade embargo imposed by Greece in February 1994 in a dispute over the country's name, flag, and constitution, and by international trade sanctions against Serbia that were not suspended until a month after conclusion of the Dayton Accords. The impact of the 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia, decreased international demand for Macedonian products, canceled contracts in the textile and iron and steel industry, and poor restructuring of the private sector affected Macedonia's growth and foreign trade prospects through 2004.

Macedonia's political and security situation is stable. This has allowed the government to refocus energies on domestic reforms, boosting economic growth, and attracting increased levels of foreign investment. In 2004, the government passed a progressive Trade Companies Law aimed at easing impediments to foreign investment, providing tax and investment incentives, and guaranteeing shareholder rights. In 2006, the government began implementing a one-stop procedure for business registration that considerably shortened the time required to register a new business. The government's fiscal policy, aligned with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank policies, helped maintain a stable macroeconomic environment. Legislation that would further liberalize the telecommunications market, and completion of the first phase of privatization of the electricity sector, sent promising signals to investors. However, economic growth remained sub-par in 2005 and 2006, due in part to poor government results in combating corruption and a weak judiciary, as well as high domestic finance costs and continued bureaucratic obstacles to doing business. The new Government of Macedonia that took office in August 2006 put the fight against corruption and attracting foreign investors at the very top of its priority list. In 2007, it launched an expensive marketing campaign promoting the country as a good investment destination. It provided business incentives by cutting rates on profit tax and personal income tax, while implementing a “regulatory guillotine” an activity which aims to significantly reduce procedures and legislative requirements for doing business.

Macroeconomy

The upward trend of real GDP continued in 2006 as well. After growing by 4.1% and 4% respectively in 2004 and 2005, it grew by 3.1% in 2006. The growth was broad-based as value added increased in all sectors, except in health and social protection. Mining and quarrying led the growth with a 26.8% annual increase, capitalizing on favorable world prices for various metals. Services grew by 3.6% on average, and trade was higher by 5%. Industrial output in 2006 was 3.6% higher than in 2005. The annualized consumer price index (CPI) rose by 3.2%. The official unemployment rate came down a bit to 36.0% in 2006. A conservative and poorly structured fiscal policy has kept the budget in a negligible budget deficit of 0.2% of GDP, well below the revised 0.8% annual target. In such circumstances, monetary policy provided for credit to households and enterprises to expand by 30.5% in 2006, and interest rates have continued to come down. Although export growth topped import growth by one percentage point in 2006, the trade deficit remained high at 21.9% of GDP. In spite of that, the current account deficit was only 0.4% of GDP, primarily due to large private transfers inflow. External debt remained stable at 39.3% of GDP.

In late 2005, Macedonian authorities concluded a new Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF and a Programmatic Development Policy Loan (PDPL) with the World Bank. In 2006 both financial institutions positively assessed their first review of enforcement of the programs, which resulted in the Macedonian Government withdrawing $12 million from the IMF and $30 million from the World Bank. Since that, the SBA has turned to be only precautionary as balance-of-payment support is not needed anymore. In March 2007, the World Bank Board approved the PDPL 2 arrangement, allowing the Government of Macedonia to withdraw another tranche worth $30 million. In late April 2007, the IMF Board approved the second positive review of the SBA.

Trade

Macedonia remains committed to pursuing membership in the European Union and global economic structures. It became a full World Trade Organization (WTO) member in April 2003. Following a 1997 cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU), Macedonia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in April 2001, giving Macedonia duty-free access to European markets. In December 2005, it moved a step forward, obtaining candidate country status for EU accession. Macedonia has had a foreign trade deficit since 1994, which reached a record high of $1362 billion in 2006, or 21.9% of GDP. Total 2006 trade (imports plus exports of goods and services) was $6.163 billion, or 99.2% of GDP. Macedonia's major trading partners are Serbia, Montenegro, Germany, and Greece. In 2006, total trade between Macedonia and the United States was $63.4 million. U.S. exports accounted for 1.1% of Macedonia's total imports. U.S. meat, mainly poultry, and electrical machinery have been particularly attractive to Macedonian importers. Principal Macedonian exports to the United States are tobacco, apparel, footwear, and iron and steel.

Macedonia has Free Trade Agreements with Ukraine, Turkey, and the European Free Trade Association countries. Bilateral agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, UN Mission in Kosovo, and Moldova were replaced with the membership in the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), which the other countries joined in December 2006.

DEFENSE

Macedonia established its armed forces following independence and the complete withdrawal of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in March 1992. The Macedonian Armed Forces consist of an army, navy, air and air defense force, and a police force (under the Ministry of Interior). Under its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Membership Action Plan, Macedonia has launched a major effort to reform and reconstruct its armed forces with the goal of building and sustaining a modern, professional defense force of about 12,000 troops.

Successive Macedonian governments have viewed integration into Euro-Atlantic political, economic, and security institutions as the country's primary foreign policy goal. In pursuit of these goals, Macedonia is restructuring its military to be smaller, more affordable, defensively oriented, and interoperable with NATO. The Macedonian Government has welcomed close cooperation with the U.S. military and seeks to deepen this relationship as it restructures its forces.

Macedonia continues to play an indispensable role as the Kosovo Force's (KFOR) rear area, hosting the logistical supply line for KFOR troops in Kosovo. As part of these efforts, Macedonia hosts NATO troops, including U.S. troops, in support of NATO operations in Kosovo and to assist Macedonia's efforts to reform its military to meet NATO standards. Close U.S.-Macedonian bilateral defense cooperation continues. Macedonia also contributes troops to international coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recently deployed troops and equipment to support the EU peace support operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

In February 1994, Greece imposed a trade embargo on Macedonia due to disputes over the use of the name “Macedonia” and other issues. Greece and Macedonia signed an interim accord in October 1995 ending the embargo and opening the way to diplomatic recognition and increased trade. After signing the agreement with Greece, Macedonia joined the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP). Athens and Skopje began talks on the name issue in New York under UN auspices in December 1995, opening liaison offices in respective capitals January 1996. These talks continue.

The stability of the young state was gravely tested during the 1999 Kosovo crisis, when Macedonia temporarily hosted about 360,000 refugees from the violence and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. The refugee influx put significant stress on Macedonia's weak social infrastructure. With the help of NATO and the international community, Macedonia ultimately was able to accommodate the influx. Following the resolution of the conflict, the overwhelming majority of refugees returned to Kosovo. A small number of Roma refugees from Kosovo remains in Macedonia, most of them housed in the predominantly Roma municipality of Suto Orizari in the Skopje suburbs, and supported by the UNHCR.

Macedonia enjoys good relations with its neighbors. It has strong trade and tourism ties with Greece, and has developed similarly robust political and trade ties with Albania and Bulgaria. Relations between Belgrade and Skopje are good overall, although a dispute between the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Serb Orthodox Church has strained ties over the past two years. Relations with Kosovo are good, with Macedonia having signed an Interim Free Trade Agreement with UNMIK in 2005 and with regular bilateral political contacts occurring between Pristina and Skopje since 2005.

Macedonia also has made important strides toward Euro-Atlantic integration. Macedonia is an active participant in NATO's Partnership for Peace and Membership Action Plan, the OSCE, and United Nations, and was accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October 2002. In May 2003, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and the U.S. created the Adriatic Charter, modeled on the Baltic Charter, as a mechanism for promoting regional cooperation to advance each country's NATO candidacy. Since then, the Adriatic Charter countries have cooperated closely in regional military exercises, and have deployed a joint medical team to support international coalition operations in Afghanistan. In 1999, the EU agreed to pursue a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Macedonia; negotiations with Macedonia were launched April 5, 2000. The SAA was signed April 2001 and came into force in April 2004. Its trade and trade-related provisions have been in force since June 2001. For Macedonia to successfully integrate within the global arena, continued efforts to strengthen its multiethnic civil society institutions, to develop measures to promote economic growth and investment, and to foster strong indigenous non-governmental organizations are necessary. On November 9, 2005 the European Commission recommended EU candidate status for the country. It recommended beginning formal accession negotiations after Macedonia had made further progress on a number of reform fronts, including combating corruption; enacting judicial, administrative, and economic reforms; and conducting free and fair parliamentary elections, in accordance with European standards, in 2006. In December 2005, the European Council granted candidate country status to Macedonia, taking into account the “substantial progress made in completing the legislative framework related to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, as well as its track record in implementing the Stabilization and Association Agreement (including its trade-related provisions) since 2001.” The Council also noted the need to consider further steps toward membership in light of the debate on the enlargement strategy, and the need for Macedonia to continue strong progress toward meeting the Copenhagen political criteria, as well as Stabilization and Association Agreement requirements.

U.S.-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Macedonia have enjoyed good bilateral relations since Macedonia gained its independence in 1991. The United States formally recognized Macedonia on February 8, 1994, and the two countries established full diplomatic relations on September 13, 1995. The U.S. Liaison Office was upgraded to an Embassy in February 1996, and the first U.S. Ambassador to Skopje arrived in July 1996. The development of political relations between the United States and Macedonia has ushered in a whole host of other contacts between the two states.

The United States, together with its European allies, strongly condemned the initiators of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia and closely supported the government and major parties’ successful efforts to forge a peaceful, political solution to the crisis through the Ohrid Framework Agreement. In partnership with the EU and other international organizations active in Macedonia, the United States is facilitating the Macedonian Government's implementation of the Framework Agreement and fostering long-term peace and stability in the country. Macedonia continues to make an important contribution to regional stability by facilitating the logistical supply of NATO (including U.S.) peacekeepers in Kosovo.

Today, Macedonia and the United States enjoy a cooperative relationship across a broad range of political, economic, cultural, military, and social issues. The United States supports Macedonia's aspirations to build a democratically secure and market-oriented society, and has donated large amounts of foreign assistance for democracy and economic reforms, defense reforms, and projects to strengthen rule of law and improve education. Bilateral assistance budgeted to Macedonia under the Support Europe Economic Development (SEED) Act totaled over $320 million from 1990 to 2004, including budget support and other assistance to help Macedonia recover from the 2001 crisis. Macedonia received approximately $37 million in SEED Act assistance in 2005.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs in Macedonia promote accelerated growth, support stronger democratic institutions, and help educate Macedonians for a modern economy. A key focus of U.S. assistance is helping Macedonia implement the August 2001 Framework Agreement; implementing the decentralization provision is a priority. USAID is targeting capacity building for local government officials, who will have more authority and responsibility devolved from the central government, as well as providing grants to fund small-scale infrastructure projects.

A further priority of U.S. assistance is to facilitate Macedonia's transition to a market economy and increase employment and growth levels. USAID has identified and is now assisting the five most competitive sub-sectors of Macedonia's economy. USAID also helps Macedonian enterprises through business resource centers, improved access to credit and equity, trade and investment facilitation, and training. Programs target improvements in the business-enabling environment by helping to bring legislative and regulator frameworks in line with EU standards and improving the transparency and efficiency of government services through technology. A resident U.S. Department of Treasury advisor is assisting the Ministry of Finance improve strategy, planning and execution, and public expenditure management.

USAID is working to strengthen Macedonia's non-governmental organization (NGO) and community networks, encourage judicial reform, in particular by modernizing court administration, and build capacity and transparency of the parliament and local governments. USAID has helped strengthen the State Election Commission's capacity to administer elections and supported domestic NGO election monitoring of the spring 2005 municipal elections. A U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor focuses on strengthening the independence of the judiciary, efficacy of public prosecution, reform of criminal codes, and capacity to fight trafficking in persons and organized crime. Complementing its assistance in Macedonia's political and economic transition, USAID programs improve education and human capacity in Macedonia through projects on the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Targets include improving teaching techniques, modernizing vocational education, providing computer labs in all schools, and expanding broadband Internet service throughout the country using primary and secondary schools as a platform. Other programs address crosscutting issues, including interethnic cooperation, assistance to the Roma minority, corruption, HIV/AIDS, and trafficking.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

SKOPJE (E) Bul Ilinden bb, 1000 Skopje, APO/FPO Unit 7120 Box 1000; APO/AE 09737-1000, 389-2-311-6180, Fax 389-2-311-7103, INMARSAT Tel 871-761-836-255, Workweek: Mon-Fri 0800-1700, Website: http://skopje.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Susan Grisky
AMB OMS:Dragana Houk
DHS/CIS:Gary L. Cote
DHS/ICE:Kenneth McDonald
ECO:Michael Latham
FM:Keith Reling
HRO:Gary Heinrich
MGT:Bruce Wilson
POL ECO:Stephen Hubler
AMB:Gillian A. Milovanovic
CON:Kimberly McDonald
DCM:Thomas Navratil
PAO:Ryan Rowlands
GSO:Melisa Doherty
RSO:Bart Brown
AFSA:Michael Latham
AGR:Brian Goggin
AID:Patricia Rader
CLO:Ana Dimitrovska
DAO:Christopher Benya
EEO:Kimberly McDonald
FMO:Gary Heinrich
IMO:Ryan Boera
IPO:Dianna Rosa
IRS:Garrard, Linda M.
ISO:Jeffrey Shrader
ISSO:Mathew Lappe
LEGATT:Michael Clarke
MLO:Ltc.Thomas F. Wilson

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

July 6, 2007

Country Description: Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy that is steadily transforming its economy. Tourist facilities are available in the capital, Skopje, and other major towns. In tourist centers, such as Skopje and Ohrid, European-standard hotels and other travel amenities are available, while the standard of facilities throughout the rest of the country varies considerably.

Entry and Exit Requirements: U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Macedonia. A visa for Macedonia is not required for tourist/business purposes for stays up to 90 days. For stays longer than 90 days, American citizens need to obtain the appropriate visa at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate prior to their trip. Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Macedonian Embassy at 2129 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20008, telephone (202) 667-0501, fax (202) 337-3093; or the Macedonian Consulate General in Detroit, 2000 Town Center, Suite 1130, Southfield, MI 48075, telephone (248) 354-5537, fax (248) 354-5538. Visit the Embassy of Macedonia web site at http://www.macedonianembassy.org or http://www.mfa.gov.mk.

Foreigners, including American citizens, who enter Macedonia and stay in private accommodations are required to register with the nearest police station within three days. Foreigners staying in hotels are not required to register, as the hotel is responsible for registration with the police. Persons who overstay their visas should contact the branch office of the Ministry of Interior near their place of residence to obtain an exit visa; failure to do so may result in difficulties in departing the country.

Travelers should be aware that all immediate border areas apart from designated border crossings are restricted zones. Presence in these zones is forbidden without prior official permission.

Safety and Security: The security situation in Macedonia is stable, although occasional criminal violence does occur. Americans should avoid areas with demonstrations, strikes, or roadblocks where large crowds are gathered, particularly those involving political causes or striking workers.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Crime in Macedonia is low by U.S. standards, and violent crime against Americans is rare. Pickpocketing, theft, and other petty street crimes do occur, however, particularly in areas where tourists and foreigners congregate. American travelers are advised to take the same precautions against becoming crime victims as they would in any American city. Valuables, including cell phones and electronic items, should not be left in plain view in unattended vehicles. Windows and doors should be securely locked when residences are not occupied. Organized crime is present in Macedonia; organized criminal activity occasionally results in violent confrontations between members of rival organizations. ATM use is safe, as long as standard safety precautions are taken.

Information for Victims of Crime: If you are a victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to the local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Although many Macedonian physicians are trained to a high standard, and a number of well-equipped private clinics are available especially in Skopje, most public hospitals and clinics are not equipped and maintained at U.S. or Western European standards. Basic medical supplies are usually available, but specialized treatment may not be obtainable. Travelers with previously diagnosed medical conditions may wish to consult their physician before travel.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about out-breaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Macedonia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving safely in Macedonia requires excellent defensive driving skills. Pedestrians should also exercise defensive walking skills. Many drivers routinely ignore speed limits and other traffic regulations, such as stopping for red lights and stop signs. Drivers may make illegal left turns from the far right lane, or drive into oncoming lanes of traffic. The combination of speeding, unsafe driving practices, poor vehicle maintenance, the mixture of new and old vehicles on the roads, and poor lighting contributes to unsafe driving conditions. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution when crossing the street, even when using crosswalks, as local drivers rarely slow down or stop for pedestrians.

A valid U.S. driver's license in conjunction with an International Driving Permit is required for Americans driving in Macedonia. Driving is on the right side of the road. Speed limits are generally posted. Most major highways are in good repair, but many secondary urban and rural roads are poorly maintained and lit. Horse-drawn carts, livestock, dead animals, rocks, or other objects are sometimes found in the roadway. Some vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Secondary mountain roads can be narrow and poorly marked, lack guardrails, and quickly become dangerous in inclement weather. Overall, public transportation in Macedonia is dilapidated. Roadside emergency services are limited.

In case of emergency, drivers may contact the police at telephone 192, the Ambulance Service at telephone 194, and Roadside Assistance at telephone 196.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Macedonia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Macedonia's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

Special Circumstances: Macedonian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or export from Macedonia of certain items, including items deemed to be of historical value or significance. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities. Visitors should always observe “no photographing” signs. If in doubt, please ask permission before taking photographs.

The local currency is the denar. While credit cards are accepted in larger stores and restaurants, cash in local currency is advised for purchases in small establishments.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Macedonian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Macedonia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Prostitution is illegal in Macedonia.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Macedonia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Macedonia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Skopje is located at Ilindenska bb, 1000 Skopje, tel. (389) (2) 311-6180, fax (389) (2) 321-3767, email: [email protected] Registration forms are available on the Embassy's web site, located at: http://skopje.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption

April 2006

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The office responsible for foreign adoptions in Macedonia is the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, whose address is: 14 Dame Gruev St. Skopje 1000 Tel: ++389-2-3106-247 or 3117-288 Fax: ++389-2-3106-252

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Prospective adoptive parents may be either married or single. However, preference is given to married couples. Adoptive parents must be at least 18 years older than their adoptive children, but no more than 45 years older. In exceptional circumstances, persons older than 45 may be permitted to adopt, but the age difference between the parent and child may not exceed 45 years. When it comes to the age difference, the age of the younger parent is taken into account. Note: Under U.S. law, at least one parent must be 25 years old.

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements to complete an intercountry adoption in Macedonia. However, there is a fostering period of 2 to 3 months prior to the final adoption of the child, where the prospective adoptive parents are required to live with the child in Macedonia, before the final approval for adoption is given to the parents.

Time Frame: The adoption process may take varying amounts of time, depending on availability of children and the number of requests for adoption. The number of children available for adoption is usually much lower than the number of requests for adoption. In Macedonia, domestic adoptions have priority over international adoptions.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no U.S. adoption agencies operating in Macedonia. However, the prospective parents may hire a Macedonian lawyer or an individual with a power of attorney authorizing him/her to find a suitable child and proceed with the adoption process. It is also possible for this entire process to be carried out by the prospective parents. The U.S. Embassy in Skopje maintains a list of attorneys, which can also be seen at http://skopje.usembassy.gov.

Adoption Fees: The Macedonian government does not charge a fee for its role in the adoption process.

Adoption Procedures: Persons who wish to apply to adopt a child from Macedonia can do so by submitting the complete paperwork, along with a letter requesting permission to adopt, to the Adoption Board at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. Parents and children are matched based on the needs of the child as well as the requirements of the prospective adoptive parents. If the match is successful, the Adoption Board gives an approval and forwards it to the Center for Social Welfare of the municipality in which the child originally resided.

The Center advises the family to come to Macedonia and proceed with the adoption process, which consists of releasing the child to the prospective parents for 2 to 3 months, and going through the fostering/adaptation period together. The parents are expected to rent an apartment or stay in a hotel for that period of time. After the adaptation period, the Center for Social Welfare submits a Proposal for Adoption to the Adoption Board, after which a date is set for the official adoption ceremony, which takes place at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. At the ceremony, the prospective parents must provide a licensed court translator and be in possession of their passports. The presence of the child is necessary if the child is over the age of 12. At the time of the adoption, the adoptive parents choose a name for the child, and designate a place of birth within Macedonia. The Adoption Board issues an official adoption decree. The Center is in charge of obtaining a birth certificate for the child on which the names of the adoptive parents are listed as his/her parents. Once the adoption is completed, the next step for the adoptive parents is to apply for a passport for their adopted child with the branch office of the Mace-donian Ministry of Interior, in order to apply for an immigrant visa at the American Embassy in Skopje. The passport fee is $30.00 USD (subject to change).

Information on the Macedonian adoption law can be found at the official website of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy at http://www.mtsp.gov.mk.

Required Documents: There is no specific application form. A request for adoption should be in the form of a letter, written by the prospective adoptive parents, detailing their circumstances and their desire for adoption, and bearing original signatures of both parents. It can be submitted by mail or through an authorized representative or attorney. The application must be accompanied by the following documents for each of the adoptive parents:

  • Proof of Citizenship (certified copy of a Naturalization Certificate or passport);
  • Home study conducted by a licensed U.S. adoption agency;
  • Marriage Certificate (issued within the last 12 months);
  • Birth Certificate for each parent (issued within the last 12 months);
  • Medical certificate certifying good mental and physical condition of each parent;
  • Police certificate issued by the local law enforcement authorities (stating that no criminal record exists);
  • Certificate from the Office of Social Services from the parents’ state of residence certifying that the adoptive parents were never deprived of their parental rights;
  • A letter from the employer for each parent showing their current employment and their salary;
  • Documents testifying to the prospective parents’ income and property; i.e., proof of financial status sufficient to support a child;
  • Notarized Certificate showing parents’ educational background;
  • Copy of a U.S. passport;
  • Approved petition from DHS (Form I-171H).

All original documents and the application letter must be in English and each must be accompanied by a translation into Macedonian done by a licensed court translator. It is easier and less expensive to have the translations done in Macedonia.

Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia
2129 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-337-3063
Fax: 202-337-3093
E-mail:
[email protected]

Macedonian Consulate General
2000 Town Center, Suite 1130
Southfield, MI 48075
Tel: 248-354-5537
Fax: 248-354-5538
E-mail: [email protected]

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy
Ilindenska, b.b.
1000 Skopje
Macedonia
Tel: ++389-2-3116-180
Fax: ++389-2-3213-767
Email: [email protected]

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Macedonia may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Skopje. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

Macedonia

Compiled from the September 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Macedonia

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

DEFENSE

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 25,713 square km. (slightly larger than Vermont).

Cities: (2001 est.) Capital—Skopje 600,000; Tetovo, Kumanovo, Gostivar and Bitola 100,000+.

Geography: Situated in the southern region of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia is landlocked and mountainous.

Climate: Three climatic types over-lap—Mediterranean; moderately continental; and mountainous, producing hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.

People

Population: (July 2004 est.) 2,071,210.

Growth rate: (2003 est.) 0.4%.

Ethnic groups: (2002) Macedonian 64.18%, Albanian 25.17%, Turkish 3.85%, Roma 2.66%, Serb 1.78%.

Religions: Eastern Orthodox 65%, Muslim 29%, Catholic 4% and others 2%.

Languages: Macedonian 70%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 3%, and others 3%.

Education: Years compulsory—8. Literacy—94.6%.

Health: (2001 est.) Infant mortality rate—12.95 deaths/per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy—males 71.79 years; females 76.43 years.

Labor force: (Q1 2006) 877,798; employed 559,702: services—34.2%; industry and commerce—47.3%; agriculture—18.5%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.

Constitution: Adopted November 17, 1991; effective November 20, 1991. Amended January 6, 1992.

Independence: September 8, 1991 (from Yugoslavia).

Government branches: Executive—prime minister (head of government), council of ministers (cabinet), president (head of state). Legislative—unicameral parliament or Sobranie (120 members elected by popular vote to 4-year terms from party lists based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of six election units). Judicial—Supreme Court, State Judicial Council, Constitutional Court, Public Prosecutor’s Office, Public Attorney. Legal system is based on civil law; judicial review of legislative acts.

Political subdivisions: 84 opstini (municipalities) plus the city of Skopje.

Suffrage: Universal at age 18.

Political parties: Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE); Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM); Democratic Union for Integration (DUI); Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA); New Social Democratic Party (NSDP); Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-People’s Party (VMRO-NP); Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP); Democratic Renewal of Macedonia (DOM); National Democratic Party (NDP); Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP); Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM); Liberal Party (LP); Democratic Alternative (DA); Democratic Union (DU); Democratic Party of the Turks in Macedonia (DPTM); Democratic League of Bosniaks; Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, United Party of Romas in Macedonia; Democratic Union of Vlachs from Macedonia; Labor-Agricultural Party of Macedonia, Socialist-Christian Party of Macedonia.

Economy

GDP: $5,647 million (2005 est.)

Per capita GDP: $2,725 (2005 est.)

Real GDP growth: 2.6%. (Q1 2006)

Inflation rate—annualized: 3.3%.(as of August 2006)

Unemployment rate: 36.2%. (Q1 2006)

Trade: Significant exports—steel, textile products, chromium, lead, zinc, nickel, tobacco, lamb, and wine.

Exchange rate: (2005 avg.) 49.3 Macedonian denars = U.S.$1; (August 2006 avg.) 47.8 Macedonian denars = U.S.$1.

GEOGRAPHY

Macedonia is located in the heart of south central Europe. It shares a border with Greece to the south, Bulgaria to the east, Serbia (and Kosovo to the north, and Albania to the west. The country is 80% mountainous, rising to its highest point at Mt. Korab (peak 2,764 m).

PEOPLE

Since the end of the Second World War, Macedonia’s population has grown steadily, with the greatest increases occurring in the ethnic Albanian community. From 1953 through the time of the latest official census in 2002 (initial official results were released December 2003), the percentage of ethnic Albanians living in Macedonia rose threefold. The western part of the country, where most ethnic Albanians live, is the most heavily populated, with approximately 40% of the total population. As in many countries, people have moved into the cities in search of employment. Macedonia has also experienced sustained high rates of permanent or seasonal emigration.

HISTORY

Throughout its history, the present-day territory of Macedonia has been a crossroads for both traders and conquerors moving between the European continent and Asia Minor. Each of these transiting powers left its mark upon the region, giving rise to a rich and varied cultural and historical tradition.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the territory of Macedonia fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was during this period that large groups of Slavic people migrated to the Balkan region. The Ottoman Turks conquered the territory in the 15th century; it remained under Ottoman Turkish rule until 1912.

After more than four centuries of rule, Ottoman power in the region began to wane, and by the middle of the 19th century, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia were competing for influence in the territory. During this time, a nationalist movement emerged and grew in Macedonia. The latter half of the 19th century, and continuing into the early part of the 20th century, was marked by sporadic nationalist uprisings, culminating in the Ilinden Uprising of August 2, 1903. Macedonian revolutionaries liberated the town of Krushevo and established the short-lived Republic of Krushevo, which was put down by Ottoman forces after 10 days. Following Ottoman Turkey’s defeat by the allied Balkan countries—Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece—during the First Balkan War in autumn 1912, the same allies fought the Second Balkan War over the division of Macedonia. The August 1913 Treaty of Bucharest ended this conflict by dividing the territory between Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles sanctioned partitioning Macedonia between The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Bulgaria, and Greece. In the wake of the First World War, Vardar Macedonia (the present day area of the Republic of Macedonia) was incorporated into the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

Throughout much of the Second World War, Bulgaria and Italy occupied Macedonia. Many people joined partisan movements during this time and succeeded in liberating the region in late 1944. Following the war, Macedonia became one of the constituent republics of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito. During this period, Macedonian culture and language flourished.

As communism fell throughout Eastern Europe in the late 20th century, Macedonia followed its other federation partners and declared its independence from Yugoslavia in late 1991. Macedonia was the only republic of the former Yugoslavia whose secession in 1991 was not clouded by ethnic or other armed conflict, although the ethnic Albanian population declined to participate in the referendum on independence. The new Macedonian constitution took effect November 20, 1991 and called for a system of government based on a parliamentary democracy. The first democratically elected coalition government was led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and included the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP). Kiro Gligorov became the first President of an independent Macedonia.

President Gligorov was the first president of a former Yugoslav republic to relinquish office. In accordance with the terms of the Macedonian constitution, his presidency ended in November 1999 after 8 years in office, which included surviving a car bombing assassination attempt in 1995. He was succeeded by former Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski (VMRO-DPMNE), who defeated Tito Petkovski (SDSM) in a second-round run-off election for the presidency on November 14, 1999. Trajkovski’s election was confirmed by a December 5, 1999 partial re-vote in 230 polling stations, which the Macedonian Supreme Court mandated due to election irregularities.

In November 1998 parliamentary elections, the SDSM lost its majority. A new coalition government emerged under the leadership of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRODPMNE). The initial coalition included the ethnic Albanian Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA).

During the Yugoslav period, Macedonian ethnic identity was evident in that most of Macedonia’s Slavic population identified themselves as Macedonians, while several minority groups, in particular ethnic Albanians, retained their own distinct political culture and language. Although interethnic tensions simmered under Yugoslav authority and during the first decade of its independence, the country avoided ethnically motivated conflict until several years

after independence. Ethnic minority grievances, which had erupted on occasion (1995 and 1997), rapidly began to gain political currency in late 2000, leading many in the ethnic Albanian community in Macedonia to question their minority protection under, and participation in, the government. Tensions erupted into open hostilities in Macedonia in February 2001, when a group of ethnic Albanians near the Kosovo border carried out armed provocations that soon escalated into an insurgency. Purporting to fight for greater civil rights for ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, the group seized territory and launched attacks against government forces. Many observers ascribed other motives to the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA), including support for criminality and the assertion of political control over affected areas. The insurgency spread through northern and western Macedonia during the first half of 2001. Under international mediation, a ceasefire was brokered in July 2001, and the government coalition was expanded in July 2001 to form a grand coalition which included the major opposition parties.

The expanded coalition of ruling ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders, with facilitation by U.S. and European Union (EU) diplomats, negotiated and then signed the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August 2001, which brought an end to the fighting. The agreement called for implementation of constitutional and legislative changes, which lay the foundation for improved civil rights for minority groups. The Macedonian parliament adopted the constitutional changes outlined in the accord in November 2001. The grand coalition disbanded following the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and the passage of new constitutional amendments. A coalition led by Prime Minister Georgievski, including DPA and several smaller parties, completed their parliamentary term.

In September 2002 elections, an SDSM-led pre-election coalition won half of the 120 seats in parliament. Branko Crvenkovski was elected Prime Minister in coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party and the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP).

On February 26, 2004 President Trajkovski died in a plane crash in Bosnia. Presidential elections were held April 14 and 28, 2004. Then-Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski won the second round and was inaugurated President on May 12, 2004.

The parliament confirmed Hari Kostov, former Interior Minister, as Prime Minister June 2, 2004. Prime Minister Kostov resigned November 15, 2004. On December 17, 2004, former Defense Minister Vlado Buck-ovski was confirmed by parliament as Prime Minister, maintaining the coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Liberal-Democratic (LDP) parties.

With international assistance, the SDSM-DUI-LDP governing coalition completed the legislative implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which is a precondition for Macedonia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. A November 7, 2004 referendum opposing completion of this process failed, freeing the way for the government to complete Framework Agreement implementation.

Local elections were held in March-April 2005 under a new territorial reorganization plan that consolidated the overall number of Macedonia’s municipalities and created a number of ethnically-mixed municipalities in which ethnic Albanian populations were dominant. The process of decentralization began in the new municipalities in July 2005 and is continuing.

The July 2006 parliamentary elections resulted in a VMRO-DPMNEled government assuming power, in coalition with DPA, NSDP, and several smaller parties. The new government, which was confirmed in office by a parliamentary vote on August 26, 2006, stated its commitment to completing Framework Agreement implementation and reaffirmed its commitment to pursuing NATO and EU membership.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The unicameral assembly (Sobranie) consists of 120 seats. Members are elected by popular vote from party lists, based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of six election districts of 20 seats each. Members of parliament have a 4-year mandate.

The Prime Minister is the head of government and is selected by the party or coalition that gains a majority of seats in parliament. The Prime Minister and other ministers must not be members of parliament.

The President represents Macedonia at home and abroad. He is the commander in chief of the armed forces of Macedonia and heads its Security Council. The President is elected by general, direct ballot and has a term of 5 years, with the right to one re-election.

General parliamentary elections were last held on July 5, 2006. Presidential elections were held April 14 and 28, 2004 to succeed President Trajkovski, who died in office in February 2004. Local elections on the basis of a new municipal division mandated by the Framework Agreement were held in March-April 2005.

The court system consists of a Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and local and appeals courts. The State Judicial Council governs the ethical conduct of judges and recommends to parliament the election of judges. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country and is responsible for the equal administration of laws by all courts. Its judges are appointed by parliament without time limit. The Constitutional Court is responsible for the protection of constitutional and legal rights and for resolving conflicts of power between the three branches of government. Its 9 judges are appointed by parliament with a mandate of 9 years, without the possibility of re-election. An independent Public Prosecutor is appointed by parliament with a 6-year mandate.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/31/2006

President: Branko CRVENKOVSKI

Prime Minister: Nikola GRUEVSKI

Dep. Prime Min. for Agriculture & Education: Zivko JANKULOVSKI

Dep. Prime Min. for Economic Affairs: Zoran STAVRESKI

Dep. Prime Min. for European Integration: Gabriela KONEVSKATRAJKOVSKA

Dep. Prime Min. for Framework Agreement Implementation: Imer SELMANI

Min. of Agriculture, Forestry, & Waterways: Ace SPASENOVSKI

Min. of Culture: Ilirjan BEKIRI

Min. of Defense: Lazar ELENOVSKI

Min. of Economy: Vera RAFAJLOVSKA

Min. of Education: Sulejman RUSHITI

Min. of Environment: Imer ALIU

Min. of Finance: Trajko SLAVESKI

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Antonio MILOSOSKI

Min. of Health: Vladimir DIMOV

Min. of the Interior: Gordana JANKULOVSKA

Min. of Justice: Mihajlo MANEVSKI

Min. of Labor & Social Policy: Ljupco MESKOV

Min. of Local Self-Government: Zoran KONJANOVSKI

Min. of Transport & Communications: Mile JANAKIESKI

Governor, Macedonian National Bank: Petar GOSEV

Ambassador to the US: Ljupco JORDANOVSKI

Charge d’Affaires to the UN, New York: Jon IVONOVSKI

The country maintains an embassy in the United States at 2129 Wyoming Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: (202) 667-0501; fax: (202) 667-2131). It maintains a Consulate General in Detroit: 2000 Town Center, Suite 1130, Southfield, MI 48075 (tel: (248) 354-5537; fax: (248) 354-5538).

ECONOMY

Macedonia is a small economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $5.1 billion, representing about 0.01% of the total world output. It also is an open economy, highly integrated into international trade, with a total trade-to-GDP ratio of 93.3%. Agriculture and industry have been the two most important sectors of the economy, but the services sector has gained prominence in the past few years.

Like most transition economies, problems persist, even as Macedonia takes steps toward reform. A largely obsolete industrial infrastructure has not seen much investment during the transition period. Labor force education and skills are competitive, but without adequate job opportunities, many with the best skills seek employment abroad. A low standard of living, high unemployment rate, and relatively modest economic growth rate are the central economic problems.

Five years of continuous economic expansion in Macedonia was interrupted by the 2001 conflict, which led to a contraction of 4.5% in 2001. Growth started to pick up in 2003 (2.8%) and continued in 2004 (4.1%), 2005 (4.0%) and in the first quarter of 2006 (2.6%). Living standards still lag behind those enjoyed before independence. In 2006, real growth is projected to reach 4% again, with inflation of 1.8% or lower. The United States is supporting Macedonia’s transition to a democratic, secure, market-oriented society with substantial amounts of assistance.

Background

After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia, the former Yugoslavia’s poorest republic, faced formidable economic challenges posed by both the transition to a market economy and a difficult regional situation. The breakup deprived Macedonia of key protected markets and large transfer payments from the central Yugoslav government. The war in Bosnia, international sanctions on Serbia, and the 1999 crisis in neighboring Kosovo delivered successive shocks to Macedonia’s trade-dependent economy. The government’s painful but necessary structural reforms and macroeconomic stabilization program generated additional economic dislocation. Macedonia’s economy was hurt especially by a trade embargo imposed by Greece in February 1994 in a dispute over the country’s name, flag, and constitution, and by international trade sanctions against Serbia that were not suspended until a month after conclusion of the Dayton Accords. The impact of the 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia, decreased international demand for Macedonian products, canceled contracts in the textile and iron and steel industry, and poor restructuring of the private sector affected Mace-donia’s growth and foreign trade prospects through 2004.

Macedonia’s political and security situation is stable. This has allowed the government to refocus energies on domestic reforms, boosting economic growth, and attracting increased levels of foreign investment. In 2004, the government passed a progressive Trade Companies Law aimed at easing impediments to foreign investment, providing tax and investment incentives, and guaranteeing shareholder rights. In 2006, the government began implementing a one-stop procedure for business registration that considerably shortened the time required to register a new business. The government’s fiscal policy, aligned with IMF and World Bank policies, helped maintain a stable macroeconomic environment. Legislation that would further liberalize the telecommunications market, and completion of the first phase of privatization of the electricity sector, sent promising signals to investors. However, economic growth remained subpar in 2005 and the first half of 2006 due in part to poor government results in combating corruption and a weak judiciary, as well as high domestic finance costs and continued bureaucratic obstacles to doing business.

Macroeconomy

GDP grew by 2.6% in the first quarter of 2006, after growing by 4.1% and 4% respectively in 2004 and 2005,. The growth was broad-based and included all sectors except construction. Services led the growth, followed by trade and industry, which enjoyed favorable world market prices, especially for metals. Industrial output at the end of July 2006 was 6.2% higher than in the same month of the previous year. The annualized consumer price index (CPI) at the end of August rose by 3.3%. The official unemployment rate in Q1 of 2006 came down to 36.2%. A conservative fiscal policy maintained a budget surplus of 0.3% during the first seven months of 2006; the government’s target is -0.6% for 2006. Rather stringent monetary policy provided little room for credit expansion, although referent interest rates have come down. Export growth lagged behind the import growth in the first seven months of 2006, creating a trade deficit of 13.2% of GDP. In spite of that, the current account deficit was only 1.4% of GDP, primarily due to large private transfers inflow. External debt remained stable at 36.2% of GDP.

In late 2005, Macedonian authorities concluded a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF and a Program-matic Development Policy Loan (PDPL) with the World Bank. In 2006 both financial institutions positively assessed their first review of enforcement of the programs, which resulted in the Macedonian Government withdrawing $12 million from the IMF and $30 million from the World Bank. Since then, the SBA has become only precautionary, as balance-of-payment support is not needed anymore. In September 2006, the Government started negotiations with the World Bank for the PDPL 2 arrangement.

Trade

Macedonia remains committed to pursuing membership in European and global economic structures. It became a full World Trade Organization (WTO) member in April 2003. Following a 1997 cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU), Macedonia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in April 2001, giving Macedonia duty-free access to European markets. In December 2005, it went a step forward, obtaining EU candidate country status. Macedonia has had a foreign trade deficit since 1994, which reached a record high of $1,256 million in 2004. In 2005, it was slightly reduced to $1,187 million. Total 2005 trade (imports plus exports of goods and services) was $5,269 billion, or 93.3% of GDP. The deficit in the first seven months of 2006 reached $785 million, which is already 13.2% of GDP. Macedonia’s major trading partners are Serbia and Montenegro, Germany, and Greece. As of end-July 2006, the total trade between Macedonia and the United States for 2006 totaled $38.3 million. U.S. exports accounted for 1.2% of Macedonia’s total imports. U.S. meat, mainly poultry, and electrical machinery have been particularly attractive to Macedonian importers. Principal Macedonian exports to the United States are tobacco, apparel, footwear, and iron and steel.

Macedonia has signed Free Trade Agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Turkey, Romania, and the European Free Trade Association countries. It also has signed an Interim Free Trade Agreement with the UN Mission in Kosovo.

DEFENSE

Macedonia established its armed forces following independence and the complete withdrawal of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in March 1992. The Macedonian Armed Forces consist of an army, navy, air and air defense force, and a police force (under the Ministry of Interior). Under its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Membership Action Plan, Macedonia has launched a major effort to reform and reconstruct its armed forces with the goal of building and sustaining a modern, professional defense force of about 12,000 troops.

Successive Macedonian governments have viewed integration into Euro-Atlantic political, economic, and security institutions as the country’s primary foreign policy goal. In pursuit of these goals, Macedonia is restructuring its military to be smaller, more affordable, defensively oriented, and interoperable with NATO. The Macedonian Government has welcomed close cooperation with the U.S. military and seeks to deepen this relationship as it restructures its forces.

Macedonia continues to play an indispensable role as the Kosovo Force’s (KFOR) rear area, hosting the logistical supply line for KFOR troops in Kosovo. As part of these efforts, Macedonia hosts NATO troops, including U.S. troops, in support of NATO operations in Kosovo and to assist Macedonia’s efforts to reform its military to meet NATO standards. Close U.S.-Macedonian bilateral defense cooperation continues. Macedonia also contributes troops to international coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recently deployed troops and equipment to support the EU peace support operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

In February 1994, Greece imposed a trade embargo on Macedonia due to disputes over the use of the name “Macedonia” and other issues. Greece and Macedonia signed an interim accord in October 1995 ending the embargo and opening the way to diplomatic recognition and increased trade. After signing the agreement with Greece, Macedonia joined the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP). Athens and Skopje began talks on the name issue in New York under UN auspices in December 1995, opening liaison offices in respective capitals January 1996. These talks continue.

The stability of the young state was gravely tested during the 1999 Kosovo crisis, when Macedonia temporarily hosted about 360,000 refugees from the violence and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. The refugee influx put significant stress on Macedonia’s weak social infrastructure. With the help of NATO and the international community, Macedonia ultimately was able to accommodate the influx. Following the resolution of the conflict, the overwhelming majority of refugees returned to Kosovo. A small number of Roma refugees from Kosovo remains in Macedonia, most of them housed in the predominantly Roma municipality of Suto Orizari in the Skopje suburbs, and supported by the UNHCR.

Macedonia enjoys good relations with its neighbors. It has strong trade and tourism ties with Greece, and has developed similarly robust political and trade ties with Albania and Bulgaria. Relations between Belgrade and Skopje are good overall, although a dispute between the Macedonian Orthodox Church and the Serb Orthodox Church has strained ties over the past two years. Relations with Kosovo are good, with Macedonia having signed an Interim Free Trade Agreement with UNMIK in 2005 and with regular bilateral political contacts occurring between Pris-tina and Skopje since 2005.

Macedonia also has made important strides toward Euro-Atlantic integration. Macedonia is an active participant in NATO’s Partnership for Peace and Membership Action Plan, the OSCE, and United Nations, and was accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October 2002. In May 2003, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and the U.S. created the Adriatic Charter, modeled on the Baltic Charter, as a mechanism for promoting regional cooperation to advance each country’s NATO candidacy. Since then, the Adriatic Charter countries have cooperated closely in regional military exercises, and have deployed a joint medical team to support international coalition operations in Afghanistan. In 1999, the EU agreed to pursue a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Macedonia; negotiations with Macedonia were launched April 5, 2000. The SAA was signed April 2001 and came into force in April 2004. Its trade and trade-related provisions have been in force since June 2001. For Macedonia to successfully integrate within the global arena, continued efforts to strengthen its multi-ethnic civil society institutions, to develop measures to promote economic growth and investment, and to foster strong indigenous non-governmental organizations are necessary. On November 9, 2005 the European Commission recommended EU candidate status for the country. It recommended beginning formal accession negotiations after Macedonia has made further progress on a number of reform fronts, including combating corruption; enacting judicial, administrative, and economic reforms; and conducting free and fair parliamentary elections, in accordance with European standards, in 2006. In December 2005, the European Council granted candidate country status to Macedonia, taking into account the “substantial progress made in completing the legislative framework related to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, as well as its track record in implementing the Stabilization and Association Agreement (including its trade-related provisions) since 2001.” The Council also noted the need to consider further steps toward membership in light of the debate on the enlargement strategy, and the need for Macedonia to continue strong progress toward meeting the Copenhagen political criteria, as well as Stabilization and Association Agreement requirements.

U.S.-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Macedonia have enjoyed good bilateral relations since Macedonia gained its independence in 1991. The United States formally recognized Macedonia on February 8, 1994, and the two countries established full diplomatic relations on September 13, 1995. The U.S. Liaison Office was upgraded to an Embassy in February 1996, and the first U.S. Ambassador to Skopje arrived in July 1996. The development of political relations between the United States and Macedonia has ushered in a whole host of other contacts between the two states.

The United States, together with its European allies, strongly condemned the initiators of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia and closely supported the government and major parties’ successful efforts to forge a peaceful, political solution to the crisis through the Ohrid Framework Agreement. In partnership with the EU and other international organizations active in Macedonia, the United States is facilitating the Macedonian Government’s implementation of the Framework Agreement and fostering long-term peace and stability in the country. Macedonia continues to make an important contribution to regional stability by facilitating the logistical supply of NATO (including U.S.) peacekeepers in Kosovo.

Today, Macedonia and the United States enjoy a cooperative relationship across a broad range of political, economic, cultural, military, and social issues. The United States supports Macedonia’s aspirations to build a democratically secure and market-oriented society, and has donated large amounts of foreign assistance for democracy and economic reforms, defense reforms, and projects to strengthen rule of law and improve education. Bilateral assistance budgeted to Macedonia under the Support Europe Economic Development (SEED) Act totaled over $320 million from 1990 to 2004, including budget support and other assistance to help Macedonia recover from the 2001 crisis. Macedonia received approximately $37 million in SEED Act assistance in 2005.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs in Macedonia promote accelerated growth, support stronger democratic institutions, and help educate Macedonians for a modern economy. A key focus of U.S. assistance is helping Macedonia implement the August 2001 Framework Agreement; implementing the decentralization provision is a priority. USAID is targeting capacity building for local government officials, who will have more authority and responsibility devolved from the central government, as well as providing grants to fund small-scale infrastructure projects.

A further priority of U.S. assistance is to facilitate Macedonia’s transition to a market economy and increase employment and growth levels. USAID has identified and is now assisting the five most competitive sub-sectors of Macedonia’s economy. USAID also helps Macedonian enterprises through business resource centers, improved access to credit and equity, trade and investment facilitation, and training. Programs target improvements in the business-enabling environment by helping to bring legislative and regulatory frameworks in line with EU standards and improving the transparency and efficiency of government services through technology. A resident U.S. Department of Treasury advisor is assisting the Ministry of Finance improve strategy, planning and execution, and public expenditure management.

USAID is working to strengthen Macedonia’s non-governmental organization (NGO) and community networks, encourage judicial reform, in particular by modernizing court administration, and build capacity and transparency of the parliament and local governments. USAID has helped strengthen the State Election Commission’s capacity to administer elections and supported domestic NGO election monitoring of the spring 2005 municipal elections. A U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor focuses on strengthening the independence of the judiciary, efficacy of public prosecution, reform of criminal codes, and capacity to fight trafficking in persons and organized crime.

Complementing its assistance in Macedonia’s political and economic transition, USAID programs improve education and human capacity in Macedonia through projects on the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Targets include improving teaching techniques, modernizing vocational education, providing computer labs in all schools, and expanding broadband Internet service throughout the country using primary and secondary schools as a platform. Other programs address crosscutting issues, including inter-ethnic cooperation, assistance to the Roma minority, corruption, HIV/AIDS, and trafficking.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SKOPJE (E) Address: Bul Ilinden bb, 1000 Skopje; APO/FPO: Unit 7120 Box 1000; APO AE 09737-1000; Phone: 389-2-311-6180; Fax: 389-2-311-7103; INMARSAT Tel: 871-761-836-255; Workweek: Mon-Fri 0800-1700.

AMB:Gillian A. Milovanovic
AMB OMS:Carol Oakley
DCM:Paul Wohlers
DCM OMS:Susan Grisky
POL/ECO:Stephen Hubler
CON:Kimberly McDonald
MGT:Gary Anderson
AFSA:Michael Latham
AGR:Brian Goggin
AID:Tim Donnay
CLO:Dinka Masic
CUS:Kenneth McDonald
DAO:Christopher Benya
ECO:Michael Latham
EEO:Kimberly McDonald
FMO:Anna Kosinska
GSO:Melisa Doherty
ICASS Chair:Tony Altimore
IMO:Mark Wilson
INS:Gary L. Cote
IPO:Dianna Rosa
IRS:Garrard, Linda M.
ISO:Jeffrey Shrader
ISSO:Mathew Lappe
LEGATT:Michael Clarke
MLO:Thomas F. Wilson
PAO:Brian Shott
RSO:Aria Lu

Last Updated: 1/17/2007

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : November 15, 2006

Country Description: Macedonia is a parliamentary democracy that is steadily transforming its economy. Tourist facilities are available in the capital, Skopje, and other major towns. In tourist centers, such as Skopje and Ohrid, European-standard hotels and other travel amenities are available, while the standard of facilities throughout the rest of the country varies considerably.

Entry and Exit Requirements: U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Macedonia. A visa for Macedonia is not required for tourist/business purposes for stays up to 90 days. For stays longer than 90 days, American citizens need to obtain the appropriate visa at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate prior to their trip. Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Macedonian Embassy at 2129 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20008, telephone (202) 337-3063, fax (202) 337-3093, or the Macedonian Consulate General in Detroit, 2000 Town Center, Suite 1130, Southfield, MI 48075, telephone (248) 354-5537, fax (248) 354-5538. Visit the Embassy of Macedonia web site at http://www.macedonianembassy.org or http://www.mfa.gov.mk/default_en.asp for the most current visa information.

Foreigners, including American citizens, who enter Macedonia and will stay in private accommodations, are required to register with the nearest police station within three days. Foreigners staying in hotels are not required to register, as the hotel is responsible for registration with the police. Persons who overstay their visas should contact the branch office of the Ministry of Interior near their place of residence to obtain an exit visa; failure to do so may result in difficulties in departing the country.

Travelers should be aware that all immediate border areas apart from designated border crossings are restricted zones. Presence in these zones is forbidden without prior official permission.

Safety and Security: The security situation in Macedonia is stable, although occasional criminal violence does occur. Americans should avoid areas with demonstrations, strikes, or roadblocks where large crowds are gathered, particularly those involving political causes or striking workers. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Crime in Macedonia is low by U.S. standards and violent crime against Americans is rare. Pick pocketing, theft, and other petty street crimes do occur, however, particularly in areas where tourists and foreigners congregate. American travelers are advised to take the same precautions against becoming crime victims as they would in any American city. Valuables, including cell phones and electronic items, should not be left in plain view in unattended vehicles. Windows and doors should be securely locked when residences are uninhabited. Organized crime is present in Macedonia, which occasionally results in violent confrontations between members of rival organizations. ATM use is safe, as long as standard safety precautions are taken.

Information for Victims of Crime: If you are a victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to the local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Although many Macedonian physicians are trained to a high standard, and a number of well-equipped private clinics are available especially in Skopje, most public hospitals and clinics are not equipped and maintained at U.S. or Western European standards. Basic medical supplies are usually available, but specialized treatment may not be obtainable. Travelers with previously diagnosed medical conditions may wish to consult their physician before travel.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Macedonia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving safely in Macedonia requires excellent defensive driving skills. Pedestrians should also exercise defensive walking skills. Many drivers routinely ignore speed limits and other traffic regulations, such as stopping for red lights and stop signs. Drivers may make illegal left turns from the far right lane, or drive into oncoming lanes of traffic. The combination of speeding, unsafe driving practices, poor vehicle maintenance, the mixture of new and old vehicles on the roads, and poor lighting, contributes to unsafe driving conditions. Pedestrians should use crosswalks and take extreme care when crossing the street.

A valid U.S. driver’s license in conjunction with an International Driving Permit is required for Americans driving in Macedonia. Driving is on the right side of the road. Speed limits are generally posted. Most major highways are in good repair, but many secondary urban and rural roads are poorly maintained and lit. Horse-drawn carts, livestock, dead animals, rocks, or other objects are sometimes found in the roadway. Some vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Secondary mountain roads can be narrow and poorly marked, lack guardrails, and quickly become dangerous in inclement weather. Overall, public transportation in Macedonia is dilapidated. Roadside emergency services are limited.

In case of emergency, drivers may contact the police at telephone 192, the Ambulance Service at telephone 194, and Roadside Assistance at telephone 196.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Macedonia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Macedonia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site at http://faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

Special Circumstances: Macedonian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or export from Macedonia of certain items, including items deemed to be of historical value or significance. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities. Visitors should always observe “no photographing” signs. If in doubt, please ask permission before taking photographs.

The local currency is the denar. While credit cards are accepted in larger stores and restaurants, cash in local currency is advised for purchases in small establishments.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Macedonian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Macedonia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Prostitution is illegal in Macedonia.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration and Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Macedonia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Macedonia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Skopje is located at Ilindenska bb, 1000 Skopje, tel. (389) (2) 311-6180, fax (389) (2) 321-3767, email: [email protected] Registration forms are available on the Embassy’s website, located at: http://skopje.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption : April 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The office responsible for foreign adoptions in Macedonia is the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, whose address is:

14 Dame Gruev St.
Skopje 1000
Tel: ++389-2-3106-247 or 3117-288
Fax: ++389-2-3106-252

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Prospective adoptive parents may be either married or single. However, preference is given to married couples. Adoptive parents must be at least 18 years older than their adoptive children, but no more than 45 years older. In exceptional circumstances, persons older than 45 may be permitted to adopt, but the age difference between the parent and child may not exceed 45 years. When it comes to the age difference, the age of the younger parent is taken into account. Note: Under U.S. law, at least one parent must be 25 years old.

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements to complete an intercountry adoption in Macedonia. However, there is a fostering period of 2 to 3 months prior to the final adoption of the child, where the prospective adoptive parents are required to live with the child in Macedonia, before the final approval for adoption is given to the parents.

Time Frame: The adoption process may take varying amounts of time, depending on availability of children and the number of requests for adoption. The number of children available for adoption is usually much lower than the number of requests for adoption. In Macedonia, domestic adoptions have priority over international adoptions.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no U.S. adoption agencies operating in Macedonia. However, the prospective parents may hire a Macedonian lawyer or an individual with a power of attorney authorizing him/her to find a suitable child and proceed with the adoption process. It is also possible for this entire process to be carried out by the prospective parents. The U.S. Embassy in Skopje maintains a list of attorneys, which can also be seen at http://skopje.usembassy.gov.

Adoption Fees: The Macedonian government does not charge a fee for its role in the adoption process.

Adoption Procedures: Persons who wish to apply to adopt a child from Macedonia can do so by submitting the complete paperwork, along with a letter requesting permission to adopt, to the Adoption Board at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. Parents and children are matched based on the needs of the child as well as the requirements of the prospective adoptive parents. If the match is successful, the Adoption Board gives an approval and forwards it to the Center for Social Welfare of the municipality in which the child originally resided. The Center advises the family to come to Macedonia and proceed with the adoption process, which consists of releasing the child to the prospective parents for 2 to 3 months, and going through the fostering/adaptation period together. The parents are expected to rent an apartment or stay in a hotel for that period of time. After the adaptation period, the Center for Social Welfare submits a Proposal for Adoption to the Adoption Board, after which a date is set for the official adoption ceremony, which takes place at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. At the ceremony, the prospective parents must provide a licensed court translator and be in possession of their passports. The presence of the child is necessary if the child is over the age of 12. At the time of the adoption, the adoptive parents choose a name for the child, and designate a place of birth within Macedonia. The Adoption Board issues an official adoption decree. The Center is in charge of obtaining a birth certificate for the child on which the names of the adoptive parents are listed as his/her parents. Once the adoption is completed, the next step for the adoptive parents is to apply for a passport for their adopted child with the branch office of the Macedonian Ministry of Interior, in order to apply for an immigrant visa at the American Embassy in Skopje. The passport fee is $30.00 USD (subject to change).

Information on the Macedonian adoption law can be found at the official website of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy at http://www.mtsp.gov.mk.

Documentary Requirements: There is no specific application form. A request for adoption should be in the form of a letter, written by the prospective adoptive parents, detailing their circumstances and their desire for adoption, and bearing original signatures of both parents. It can be submitted by mail or through an authorized representative or attorney. The application must be accompanied by the following documents for each of the adoptive parents:

  • Proof of Citizenship (certified copy of a Naturalization Certificate or passport);
  • Home study conducted by a licensed U.S. adoption agency;
  • Marriage Certificate (issued within the last 12 months);
  • Birth Certificate for each parent (issued within the last 12 months);
  • Medical certificate certifying good mental and physical condition of each parent;
  • Certificate from the Office of Social Services from the parents’ state of residence certifying that the adoptive parents were never deprived of their parental rights;
  • Police certificate issued by the local law enforcement authorities (stating that no criminal record exists);
  • A letter from the employer for each parent showing their current employment and their salary;
  • Documents testifying to the prospective parents’ income and property; i.e., proof of financial status sufficient to support a child;
  • Notarized Certificate showing parents’ educational background;
  • Copy of a U.S. passport;
  • Approved petition from DHS (Form I-171H).

All original documents and the application letter must be in English and each must be accompanied by a translation into Macedonian done by a licensed court translator. It is easier and less expensive to have the translations done in Macedonia.

Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia:
2129 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-337-3063
Fax: 202-337-3093
E-mail: [email protected]

Macedonian Consulate General:
2000 Town Center, Suite 1130
Southfield, MI 48075
Tel: 248-354-5537
Fax: 248-354-5538
E-mail: [email protected]

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adopting Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy in Macedonia:
Ilindenska, b.b.
1000 Skopje
Tel: ++389-2-3116-180
Fax: ++389-2-3213-767

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Macedonia may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Skopje. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

MACEDONIA

Compiled from the December 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.


Official Name:
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia



The United States and the United Nations officially refer to Macedonia by its provisional name, "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," pending the outcome of UN-mediated negotiations between Macedonia and Greece.



PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 25,713 square km. (slightly larger than Vermont).

Cities: Capital—Skopje 600,000; Tetovo, Kumanovo, Gostivar and Bitola 100,000+ (2001 est.).

Geography: Situated in the southern region of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia is landlocked and mountainous.

Climate: Three climatic types overlap—Mediterranean; moderately continental; and mountainous-producing hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.


People

Population: 2,022,547 (2003 census preliminary data).

Growth rate: (2001 est.) 0.43%.

Ethnic groups: Macedonian 64.18%, Albanian 25.17%, Turkish 3.85%, Roma 2.66%, Serb 1.78%. (2003 census).

Religions: Eastern Orthodox 65%, Muslim 29%, Catholic 4% and others 2%.

Languages: Macedonian 70%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 3%, and others 3%.

Education: Years compulsory—8. Literacy—94.6%.

Health: (2001 est) Infant mortality rate—12.95 deaths/per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy—males 71.79 years; females 76.43 years.

Work force: (824,824) Employed 561,341: services—31.3%; industry and commerce—44.9%; agriculture—23.8%


Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.

Constitution: Adopted November 17, 1991; effective November 20, 1991.

Independence: September 8, 1991 (from Yugoslavia).

Branches: Executive—prime minister (head of government), council of ministers (cabinet), president (head of state). Legislative—unicameral parliament or Sobranie, 120 representatives; (120 seats; members elected by popular vote to 4-year terms from party lists based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of the six election units). Judicial—Supreme Court: Republican Judicial Council; Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia; Public Prosecutor's Office; Public Attorney. Legal system is based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts.

Subdivisions: 123 Opstini (municipalities) plus the city of Skopje.

Suffrage: Universal at age 18.

Main political parties: Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM); Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE); Democratic Union for Integration (DUI); Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA); Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP); National Democratic Party (NDP); Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP); Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM); Liberal Party (LP); Democratic Alternative (DA); Democratic Union (DU); Democratic Party of the Turks in Macedonia (DPTM); Democratic League of Bosniaks; Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, United Party of Romas in Macedonia; Democratic Union of Vlachs from Macedonia; Labor-Agricultural Party of Macedonia, Socialist-Christian Party of Macedonia; Green Party of Macedonia.


Economy (2002)

GDP: $3.734 billion.

Per capita GDP: $1,835.

Real GDP growth: 0.7%.

Inflation rate: 1.8%.

Unemployment rate: 31.9%.

Trade: Significant exports—steel, textile products, coal, chromium, lead, zinc, nickel, tobacco, lamb, and wine.

Official exchange rate: (2002 avg.) 64.8 Macedonian Denars =U.S.$1.



GEOGRAPHY

Macedonia is located in the heart of South Central Europe. It shares a border with Greece to the south, Bulgaria to the east, Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia and Kosov o) to the north, and Albania to the west. The country is 80% mountainous, rising to its highest point at Mt. Korab (peak 2,764 m).




PEOPLE

Since the end of the Second World War, Macedoni a's population has grown steadily, with the greatest increases occurring in the ethnic Albanian community. From 1953 through the time of the latest official census in 2002 (initial official results were released December 2003), the percentage of Albanians living in Macedonia rose 313%. The western part of the country, where most ethnic Albanians live, is the most heavily populated, with approximately 40% of the total population. As the population grew, more people moved into the cities in search of employment. Comparing 1948 census results to the 1994 recording, the urban population grew from 28.7% to 58.4% of the population.


HISTORY

Throughout its history, the presentday territory of Macedonia has been a crossroads for both traders and conquerors moving between the European Continent and Asia Minor. Each of these transiting powers left its mark upon the region, giving rise to a rich and varied cultural and historical tradition.


The ancient territory of Macedon, included, in addition to the areas of the present-day Macedoni a, large parts of present-day Northern Greece and Southwestern Bulgaria. This ancient kingdom reached its height during the reign of Alexander III ("the Great"), who extended Macedon's influence over most of Asia Minor, the Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and even parts of India. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, the Macedon Empire gradu ally declined, until it was conquered in 168 BC and made a province by the Romans in 148 BC.


After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the territory of Macedonia fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire. It was during this period (the 6th and 7th centuries) that large groups of Slavic people migrated to the Balkan region. The Serbs, Bulgarians, and Byzantines fought for control of Macedonia until the late 14th century, when the territory was again conquered, this time by the Ottoman Turks and remained under Turkish rule until 1912.


After more than four centuries of rule, Ottoman power in the region began to wane, and by the middle of the 19th century, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia were competing for influence in the territory. During this time, a nationalist movement emerged and grew in Macedonia. The latter half of the 19th century was marked by sporadic nationalist uprisings, culminating in the Ilinden Uprising of August 2, 1903. Macedonian revolutionaries liberated the town of Krushevo and established the short-lived Republic of Krushevo, which was put down by Ottoman forces after 10 days. Following Ottoman Turkey's defeat by the allied Balkan countries—Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece—during the First Balkan War (autumn 1912), the same allies fought the Second Balkan War over the division of Macedonia. The Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913) ended this conflict by dividing the territory between Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 sanctioned partitioning Macedonia between The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Bulgaria and Greece. In the wake of the First World War, Vardarian Macedonia (the present day area of Macedonia) was incorporated into the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.


Through out much of the Second World War, Bulgaria and Italy occupied Macedonia. Many people joined partisan movements during this time and succeeded in liberating the region in 1944. Following the war, under Marshall Tito, Macedonia became one of the constituent republics of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During this period, Macedonian culture and language flourished.


As communism fell throughout eastern Europe in the late 20th century, Macedonia followed its other federation partners and declared its independence from Yugoslavia in late 1991. The new Macedonian Constitution took effect November 20, 1991, and called for a system of government based on a parliamentary democracy. The first democratically elected coalition government was led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and included the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP).


In November 1998 parliamentary elections, the SDSM lost its majority. A new coalition government emerged under the leadership of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE). The initial coalition included the ethnic Albanian Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA). Following the outbreak of an ethnic Albanian insurgency in February 2001, the government coalition was expanded in July 2001 to include the major opposition parties. This grand coalition disbanded following signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (August 2001), which brought an end to the fighting, and the passage of new constitutional amendments (November 2001). A coalition led by Prime Minister Georgievski, including DPA and several smaller parties, finished out the parliamentary term.

In September 2002 elections, an SDSM-led pre-election coalition won half of the 120 seats in Parliament. Branko Crvenkovski was elected Prime Minister in coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party and the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP).


Kiro Gligorov, the first president of an independent Macedonia, also was the first president of a former Yugoslav republic to relinquish office. His presidency ended in November 1999 after 8 years in office, in accordance with the terms of the Macedonian Constitution. Gligorov was succeeded by former Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski (VMRO), who defeated Tito Petkovski (SDSM) in a second-round run-off election for the presidency November 14, 1999. Trajkovski's election was confirmed by a December 5 partial re-vote in 230 polling stations, which the Macedonian Supreme Court mandated due to election irregularities. Presidential elections will be held again in 2004.


Macedonia was the only republic of the former Yugoslavia whose secession in 1991 was not clouded by ethnic or other armed conflict. During the Yugoslav period, Macedonian ethnic identity again exhibited itself, in that most of Macedonia's Slavic population identified themselves as Macedonians, while several minority groups, in particular ethnic Albanians, sought to retain their own distinct political culture and language. Although interethnic tensions simmered under Yugoslav authority and during the first decade of its independence, the country avoided ethnically motivated conflict.

Ethnic minority grievances rapidly began to gain political currency in late 2000, leading many in the ethnic Albanian community in Macedonia to question their minority protection under, and participation in, the government. Tensions erupted into open hostilities in Macedonia in February 2001, when a group of ethnic Al banians near the Kosovo border carried out armed provocations that soon escalated into an insurgency. Purporting to fight for greater civil rights for ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, the group seized territory and launched attacks against government forces. Many observers ascribed other motives to the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA), including support for criminality and the assertion of political control over affected areas. The insurgency spread through northern and western Macedonia during the first half of 2001. Under international mediation, a cease-fire was brokered in July 2001.


A coalition of ruling ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders, with facilitation by U.S. and European Union (EU) diplomats, negotiated and then signed the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August 2001. The agreement called for implementation of constitutional and legislative changes, which lay the foundation for improved civil rights for minority groups. The Macedonian Parliament adopted the constitutional changes outlined in the accord in November 2001. Efforts are currently underway to implement remaining provisions in the Framework Agreement with international assistance.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The unicameral assembly (Sobranie) consists of 120 seats. Members are elected by popular vote from party lists, based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of six election districts of 20 seats each. Members of parliament have 4-year mandate.


General parliamentary elections were last held on September 15, 2002. Both local and presidential elections will be held in late 2004


The prime minister is the head of government and is selected by the party or coalition that gains a majority of seats in Parliament. The prime minister and other ministers must not be members of Parliament.


The president represents Macedonia at home and abroad. He is the commander in chief of the armed forces of Macedonia and heads its Security Council. The president is elected by general, direct ballot and has a term of 5 years, with the right to one reelection.


The court system consists of a Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and local and appeals courts. A Republican Judicial Council, composed of 7 members elected by Parliament for a period of 6 years with right to one re-election, governs the ethical conduct of judges, and recommends to Parliament the election of judges. The Supreme Court, responsible for the equal administration of laws by all courts, is the highest court in the country. Its judges are appointed by Parliament without time limit. The Constitutional Court is responsible for the protection of constitutional and legal rights and for resolving conflicts of power between the three branches of government. Its nine judges are appointed by Parliament with a mandate of 9 years, without the possibility of re-election. An independent Public Prosecutor is appointed by Parliament with a 6-year mandate.

Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 12/5/03


President: Trajkovski, Boris

Prime Minister: Crvenkovski, Branko

Dep. Prime Min. for Political Systems: Xhaferi, Musa

Dep. Prime Min. for European Integration: Sekerinska, Radmila

Min. of Agriculture, Forestry, & Waterways: Petrov, Slavko

Min. of Culture: Stefanovski, Blagoja

Min. of Defense: Buckovski, Vlado

Min. of Economics: Jakimovski, Stevco

Min. of Education & Science: Pollozhani, Aziz

Min. of Environment: Janev, Ljubomir

Min. of Finance: Popovski, Nikola

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Mitreva, Ilinka

Min. of Health: Selmani, Rexhep

Min. of the Interior: Kostov, Hari

Min. of Justice: Memeti, Ixhet

Min. of Labor & Social Welfare: Manasievski, Jovan

Min. of Local Government: Gestakovski, Aleksandar

Min. of Transportation & Communications: Buxhaku, Agron

Min. Without Portfolio: Popovski, Vlado

Speaker, Assembly: Jordanovski, Ljubco

Governor, Macedonian National Bank: Trpeski, Ljube

Ambassador to the US: Dimitrov, Nikola

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York:




ECONOMY

Macedonia is a small economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of U.S.$3.7 billion representing about 0.01% of the total world output. It also is an open economy, highly integrated in international trade, with a total trade-to-GDP ratio of 81.3%. Agriculture and industry have been the two most important sectors of the economy, although both sectors provide only a limited number of high-quality finished products. Like most transition economies, problems persist, even as Macedonia takes steps toward reform. A largely obsolete industrial infrastructure has not seen much investment during the transition period. Work force education and skills are competitive, but without adequate jobs, many with the best skills seek employment abroad. A low standard of living and high unemployment rates prompt occasional social unrest. Five years of continuous economic expansion in Macedonia was interrupted by the 2001 conflict, which led to a contraction of 4.5% in 2001, despite the government being able to hold inflation at a stable average 5.3%. In 2002, the economy struggled to recover, posting only 0.7% growth. The external debt-to-GDP ratio end 2002 was 38.8%. The economy still has not been able to fully recover to its pre-2001 crisis level. In 2003, growth is projected at 2.75%. The United States is supporting Macedonia's transition to a democratic, secure, marke t-oriented society with substantial amounts of assistance.


Background

After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia, the former Yugoslavia's poorest republic, faced formidable economic challenges posed by both the transition to a market economy and a difficult regional situation. The breakup deprived Macedonia of key protected markets and large transfer payments from the central Yugoslav government. The war in nearby Bosnia, international sanctions on Serbia, and the neighboring Kosovo crisis in 1999 delivered successive shocks to Macedonia's trade-dependent economy. The government's painful but necessary structural reforms and macroeconomic stabilization program generated additional economic dislocation. Macedonia was especially hurt by the Greek trade embargo, imposed in February 1994 in a dispute over the country's name, flag, and Constitution, and by international trade sanctions against Serbia that were not suspended until a month after conclusion of the Dayton Accords. As a result of these two border closures, 1995 GDP declined to 41% of its 1989 level.


Coincident to these problems, the country pursued an ambitious stabilization and reform program after independence. Despite external factors, the program yielded positive results through 1998 and won praise from the IMF and the World Bank. A robust financial austerity program stabilized the Macedonian denar and reduced the fiscal deficit. Inflation remained low for several years and was on average slightly negative in 1998 and 1999. Though economic growth suffered in the country's first 5 years of independence, a modest recovery was in progress (1998=3.4% growth) until the Kosovo crisis.


Macedonia proved the most economically vulnerable of regional neighbors to the 1999 Kosovo conflict's spillovers. At the crisis' height, Macedonia sheltered more than 350,000 Kosovar refugees, straining fiscal accounts and increasing social pressures. Per capita foreign direct investment (FDI), already the lowest in the region, worsened as investors lost confidence. With unemployment around 33%, the crisis exacerbated economic privation. Before the Kosovo crisis, up to 70% of the country's economy had been dependent on inputs from, exports to, or transport through the then-Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). At the height of the crisis, total exports had fallen to about 75% of the 1998 level. Exports to the FRY were down by about 80%. Exports which had previously transited the FRY (one-half of total exports) were hurt, as alternative transit routes through Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece increased transportation costs and delivery times, making Macedonian products less competitive. Export-processing contracts with other countries suffered cancellations over concerns about delivery risks.


Despite the impact of the Kosovo crisis on Macedonia's economy, marketing efforts were reoriented, new markets were identified and exploited, and the Kosovo market reopened in mid-summer 1999. A May 1999 international donors conference projected contraction of Macedonia's economy of around 5%—a swing of 10 percentage points from pre-conflict projections of 5% growth. However, these projections assumed the Kosovo conflict would continue through the end of the year. Early termination of the conflict in June led to an economic rebound and growth of around 2.7% in real terms for 1999.

Macedonia rescheduled its Paris Club debt in 1995, and again in early 1999, including $93 million of debt, interest, and arrears to the United States. The Kosovo crisis led to an appeal to have debt forgiven or deferred. A Paris Club agreement to defer Macedonian debt service ran out April 2000. Paris Club creditors agreed that repayment terms for amounts deferred during the Kosovo crisis would be set at 5 years, with one year as grace.


At the beginning of 2001, Macedonia's economic situation appeared to be improving, with visible signs of increased activity and dynamism, but with the start of the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia, the country's solid macroeconomic performance in 2000 and the beginning of 2001 began to slide and remained substantially depressed in 2001. Real GDP declined by 4.5% in 2001, as output deteriorated in most sectors. Inflation averaged 5.5% instead of the initially projected 2.2%. Current account deficit in the balance of payments was around 10.1% of GDP, down from an expected surplus of 1%, while the central government budget deficit reached 5.8%. From January through September 2001 the country lost around U.S.$200 million of its foreign currency reserves defending the targeted level of the Denar against the German Mark. Foreign direct investments, credits, grants, and donations declined when the insurgency began, and the Macedonia's IMF program went off-track. The IMF and the Government of Macedonia agreed to a 6-month staff-monitored program, beginning January 1, 2002, but government decisions to reimburse depositors of the 1997 failed pyramid scheme and the general wage bill increase in public administration were seen as a threat to a viable budget expenditures policy, posing an obstacle to continuation of the staff-monitoring program and negotiations on a stand-by arrangement. Discussions between the IMF and the new government on a new ag reement resumed in November 2002, and a new stand-by arrangement was signed in February 2003 and approved April 30.

The impact of the 2001 crisis, lower international demand for Macedonian products, canceled contracts in the textile and iron and steel industry, as well as the drought in 2001 affected Macedonia's growth prospects and foreign trade in 2002. Although Macedonia had been scheduled to graduate from IDA financing in 2001, the World Bank provided U.S.$15 million in emergency economic assistance to finance critical imports for the private sector. Real GDP in 2002 grew by 0.3% on annual basis in spite of subdued inflation. The Consumer Price Index-based inflation in 2002 was 1.8%. Declining industrial output adversely affected foreign trade, with exports dropping by 3.7% and imports rising by 16.3%, resulting in a trade deficit of 23% of GDP. The current account deficit in 2002 was 8.8% of GDP. An international donors conference, organized by the World Bank and the European Commission, was held March 12, 2002, in Brussels, at which donors pledged $275 million to assist in covering the projected budget gap, implementing Framework Agreement reforms, and re-energizing the Macedonian economy. Donors also pledged an additional $244 million for general economic development in 2002, outside of the pledge categories defined by the World Bank and European Commission.


Currently, Macedonia is undertaking substantial reforms in its economic and political systems, with the goal of boosting economic growth and attracting increased levels of foreign investment. Macedonia passed a progressive companies law in July 2002, which should ease impediments to foreign investment, along with tax and investment incentives. Though concerns stemming from the 2001 conflict linger, the internationally mediated Framework Agreement is being implemented, and Macedonia's political and security situation has stabilized, allowing the government to refocus energies on domestic reforms. The Macedonian Government's two main economic policy goals remain to reduce poverty and to increase employment. It also has pledged to undertake measures to strengthen fiscal discipline and to reduce the high interest rates. Developing the Small and Medium-Size Enterprise (SME) sector also is high on the government's list of priorities. Macedonia is committed to pursuing membership in European and global economic structures. It was officially accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on October 15, 2002. Parliament ratified the agreement in January 2003, clearing the way for Macedonia to become a full member in March 2003. Following a 1997 cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU), Macedonia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in April 2001, giving Macedonia duty-free access to European markets.


Trade

Macedonia's foreign trade balance has been in deficit since 1994, reaching U.S.$849.4 million in 2002. Total 2002 trade was U.S.$3.07 billion, or 82.3% of GDP—imports plus exports of goods and services. Macedonia's major trading partners are Serbia and Montenegro, Germany, and Greece. The United States is Macedonia's seventh-largest trading partner. In 2002, U.S.-Macedonia trade totaled U.S.$91.8 million (goods only). According to Macedonian trade data, U.S. exports accounted for 3.6% of Macedonia's total imports. U.S. meat (mainly poultry), and electrical machinery have been particularly attractive to Macedonian importers. Principal Macedonian exports to the United States are tobacco, apparel, footwear, and iron and steel.


Macedonia has signed Free Trade Agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Turkey, and the European Free Trade Association countries.




DEFENSE

Macedonia established its armed forces following independence and the complete withdrawal of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in March 1992. The Macedonian Armed Forces consist of an army, navy, air and air defense force, and a police force (under the Ministry of Interior). Under its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Membership Action Plan, Macedonia has launched a major effort to reform and reconstruct its armed forces with the goal of building and sustaining a modern, professional defense force of about 12,000 troops.

Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has worked toward increased ties with the transatlantic community. Despite the fragile political, economic, and military situation in the region over the past decade, Macedonia has provided consistent support for NATO. Macedonia is engaged in military, economic, and political reforms to enhance its security and NATO candidacy, although the security crisis of 2001 represented a setback to those efforts. The Government of Macedonia plans to assume greater responsibility for its share of ensuring the security of the region without reliance on an international military presence. Successive Macedonian governments have viewed integration into Euro-Atlantic political, economic, and security institutions as its primary foreign policy goal. In pursuit of these goals, Macedonia is restructuring its military to be smaller, more affordable, defensively oriented, and interoperable with NATO. The Macedonian Government has welcomed close cooperation with the U.S. military and seeks to deepen this relationship as it restructures its forces.


The UN Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in Macedonia patrolled the borders with Serbia and Albania from 1992 to November 1998, enhancing Macedonian stability. In early December 1998, the Macedonian Government approved local basing of the NATO Extraction Force (XFOR) and the Kosovo Verification Coordination Cell (KVCC), in anticipation of a political resolution of the Kosovo crisis, also contributing to Macedonia's safety and stability. Prior to the bombing campaign in Yugoslavia in March 1999, the number of NATO troops in Macedoni a peaked at 17,000.

In the wake of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia, at the government's request, NATO deployed Task Forces "Essential Harvest," then "Amber Fox," and later "Allied Harmony" in Macedonia. NATO deployed a series of Task Forces—"Essential Harvest," "Amber Fox," and "Allied Harmony" in Macedonia in confidence-building tasks and protection for OSCE monitors in the former conflict area. Task Force Harvest collected more than 4,000 weapons from the National Liberation Army (NLA) in a confidence-building effort to restore stability within Macedonia. "Amber Fox" (June through December 2002) and its smaller successor "Allied Harmony" (January to March 2003) worked with Macedonian security forces to ensure the safety of international monitors overseeing Framework Agreement implementation in Macedonia. On March 31, 2003, the EU (EUFOR) took over this role from NATO with the launch of "Operation Concordia," scheduled to end December 15, 2003. At the Macedonian Government's request, the EU will establish a Police Mission in Macedonia in December 2003 to advise the country's police.


Macedonia continues to play an indispensable role as the Kosovo Force's (KFOR) rear area, hosting the logistical supply line for KFOR troops in Kosovo. As part of these efforts, Macedonia hosts about 150 NATO troops, including U.S. troops, in support of NATO operations in Kosovo and assisting Macedonia's efforts to reform its military to meet NATO standards. Due to improvements in the security situation and U.S. KFOR drawdowns in Kosovo, the United States closed its Camp Able Sentry base in Macedonia in December 2002. Close U.S.-Macedonian bilateral defense cooperation continues.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

In February 1994, Greece imposed a trade embargo on Macedonia due to disputes over the use of the name "Macedonia" and other issues. Greece and Macedonia signed an interim accord in October 1995 ending the embargo and opening the way to diplomatic recognition and increased trade. After signing the agreement with Greece, Macedonia joined the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Partnership for Peace (PfP). Athens and Skopje began talks on the name issue in New York under UN auspices in December 1995, opening liaison offices in respective capitals January 1996. These talks continue.


The stability of the young state was gravely tested during the 1999 Kosovo crisis, when Macedonia temporarily hosted about 360,000 refugees from the violence and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, as Serb atrocities against Kosovar Albanians and other minority groups caused a mass exodus. The refugee influx put significant stress on Macedonia's weak social infrastructure. With the help of NATO and the international community, Macedonia ultimately was able to accommodate the influx. Following the resolution of the conflict, the overwhelming majority of refugees returned to Kosovo. The Macedonian Government demonstrated a strong commitment to regional stability as an essential partner during the Kosovo crisis.


In addition to improving relations with its neighbors, Macedonia has made strides toward European and international integration, especially with the EU and NATO. Macedonia is an active participant in NATO's Partnership for Peace and Membership Action Plan, the OSCE, and United Nations, and was accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October 2002. In 1999, the EU agreed to develop a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Macedonia; negotiations with Macedonia were launched April 5, 2000, and the SAA was signed April 2001. Pending the SAA' final ratification, its trade and trade-related provisions are in force as of June 2001. For Macedonia to successfully integrate within the global arena, continued efforts to strengthen its multiethnic civil society institutions, develop measures to promote economic growth and investment, and to foster strong indigenous non-governmental organizations are necessary.



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U.S.-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Macedonia have enjoyed good bilateral relations since Macedonia gained its independence in 1991. The United States formally recognized the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on February 8, 1994, and the two countries established full diplomatic relations on September 13, 1995. The U.S. Liaison Office was upgraded to an embassy in February 1996, and the first U.S. Ambassador to Skopje arrived in July 1996. The development of political relations between the United States and Macedonia has ushered in a whole host of other contacts between the two states.


During the 1999 Kosovo crisis, Macedonia played a key role in facilitating U.S. and international efforts in the region by accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees, served as a launching pad for allied military efforts, and functioned as the long-term conduit for humanitarian assistance programs and military logistics for Kosovo. The United States, together with its European Allies strongly condemned the initiators of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia and closely supported the government and major parties' successful efforts to forge a peaceful, political solution to the crisis through the Ohrid Framework Agreement. In partnership with the EU and other international organizations active in Macedonia, the United States remains focused on facilitating the Macedonian Government's implementation of the Framework Agreement and fostering long-term peace and stability in the country. Macedonia continues to make an important contribution to regional stability by facilitating the logistical supply of NATO (including U.S.) peacekeepers in Kosovo.

Editor's Update
April 2004


A report on important events that have taken place since the last State Department revision of this Background Note.


On February 26, 2004, President Boris Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash near the town of Stolac. The plane had taken off from Skopje and was en route to Mostar where the president was to attend an investment conference. Eight other people were killed in the crash, including two pilots and six conference delegates. The crash came on the day after the president had signed Macedonia's application to join the European Union (EU). On March 22, 2004, Macedonia formally submitted its application to join the EU. Presidential elections to fill the vacant presidential seat were to be held on April 14.



Today, Macedonia and the United States enjoy a cooperative relationship across a broad range of political, economic, cultural, military, and social issues. The United States supports Macedonia's aspirations to build a democratically secure and market-oriented society, and has donated large amounts of foreign assistance for military reform, democracy and economic reform, and humanitarian relief efforts. The United States pledged $6 million in debt relief and $22 million in Economic Support Funds to Macedonia in 1999 to help offset the strains of the Kosovo crisis. The United States provided an estimated $35 million to Macedonia to help host communities cope with refugee inflows. In addition, the United States helped reduce the refugee impact on Macedonia by resettling in the United States more than 13,000 persons through the Humanitarian Evacuation Program. Bilateral assistance provided to Macedonia under the Southeast Europe Economic Development (SEED) ACT totaled over $328 million from 1990 to 2002, including budget support and other assistance to help Macedonia recover from the 2001 crisis. Macedonia received $50 million in SEED funding in 2003.

USAID's development program in Macedonia targets four goals: accelerating economic growth and private sector development; strengthening democratic institutions; mitigating adverse impacts of market economic transition; and supporting cross-cutting and special initiatives. USAID provides assistance to Macedonian enterprises through a business resource center, credit and equity mechanisms, trade and investment facilitation, and other programs. In 2002 a competitiveness initiative identified constraints to economic growth. USAID legal advisers help to reform taxation, banking, bankruptcy, and monopoly regulations and assisted with Macedonia's accession to the WTO. Programs help to build the capacity of municipal governments to better serve the public and to advance the decentralization of power to municipalities under the Framework Agreement.


USAID assistance helps to strengthen Macedonia's NGO networks, bolster media professionalism, further legal system reforms, and increase public confidence and participation in the democratic process and institutions. Activities address the quality of education and work force development, through support for the private, accredited South East Europe University and primary and secondary education reforms to meet employer needs and market requirement in the 21st century. USAID efforts encourage job creation—especially for youth, expand markets for Macedonian artisans, and improve cooperation between municipalities and the private sector. USAID also is addressing cross-cutting issues such as ethnic cooperation, gender-based problems and disparities, youth, corruption, HIV/AIDS, and conflict mitigation. Through a small grants program, USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives is helping to mitigate conflict and strengthen relations between diverse groups of peoples by bringing them together to identify and address common needs.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Skopje (E), Bul. Ilinden bb, 91000 Skopje • Pouch address: Dept. of State, 7120 Skopje Pl., Wash., D.C. 20521-7120, Tel [389] 116-180, Fax 117-103; AID: Veljko Vlahovich, 26/5, 91000 Skopje, Tel 117-211, 117-032, Fax 118-105; PAO Tel 116-623, 117-129; Fax 118-431; DAO Tel 118-690.

AMB: Lawrence E. Butler
AMB/DCM OMS: C. Colleen Kozubek
DCM: Eleanor J. Nagy
POL/ECO: Drew Blakeney
ECO/COM: Victor Myev
CON: Julie Ruterbories
MGT: Douglas S. Dobson
GSO: Luisa A. Abbott
RSO: Seth Lindenfeld
IRM: Raymond Shankweiler
DAO: COL James Beirne, USA
PAO: Deborah Jones
FAA: Steven B. Wallace (res. Rome)
AGR: Holly Higgins (res. Sofia)
AID: Richard I. Goldman
DOJ: Gary A. Bennett
IRS: Larry J. LeGrand (res. Rome)
DEA: James Soiles (res. Athens)
ODC: LTC Christopher Benya, USA


Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
August 4, 2003


Country Description: Macedonia is a developing nation undergoing economic change. Conditions in tourist facilities vary considerably and may not be up to western standards.


Entry and Exit Requirements: U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Macedonia. A visa for Macedonia is not required for tourist/business purposes for stays up to 90 days. For stays longer than 90 days, American citizens need to obtain the appropriate visa at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate prior to their trip. Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Macedonian Embassy at 1101 30th St. NW, Suite 302, Washington, D.C., 20007, telephone (202) 337-3063, fax (202) 337-3093, e-mail [email protected], or the Macedonian Consulate General, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 4018, New York, New York 10017; phone: (212) 317-1727.

Travelers are required to complete an entry/exit document when they enter the country. The exit portion of this document must be retained for presentation to officials upon departure. Loss of this form may result in departure delays. Please also see the "Customs Regulations" section below. Foreigners, including American citizens, who enter Macedonia and will stay in private accommodations, are required to register with the nearest police station within three days. Foreigners staying in hotels are not required to register, as the hotel is responsible for registration with the police. Persons who overstay their visas should contact the Ministry of Interior in Skopje to obtain an exit visa; failure to do so may result in denial of permission to depart the country.


Travelers should be aware that all immediate border areas apart from designated border crossings are military restricted zones. Travel in these zones is forbidden without prior official permission.


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In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all Macedonian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual U.S./Macedonian nationals may be subject to Macedonian laws that impose special obligations. Male Macedonian citizens are subject to compulsory military draft regulations. If such persons are found guilty of draft evasion in Macedonia – or draft evasion from the former Yugoslavia prior to 1991 – they are subject to prosecution by Macedonian authorities. Those who might be affected should inquire at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate outside Macedonia regarding their status before travel.


Safety and Security: While the security situation in Macedonia is stabilizing, it remains unsettled and potentially dangerous. Although the overall level of violence has diminished since 2001, localized inter-ethnic and criminal violence continues. Recent acts of violence, including bombings, have occurred in Skopje and other towns in Macedonia, and have resulted in the injury and death of by standers as well as property damage. An American citizen bystander was killed in such an attack in Skopje in July 2003. Travelers should be alert for unusual behavior and other possible indicators that something out of the ordinary is in progress. The potential remains for acts of intimidation and violence against American citizens.


Landmines north and west of Kumanovo and unexploded ordnance in the former conflict area pose a potential threat. Americans electing to travel in these areas are encouraged to restrict movements to daylight hours, keep to hard-topped roads, and contact the Embassy's Consular Section for up-to-date safety and security information.


Americans should avoid demonstrations and other sites, such as roadblocks, where large crowds are gathered, particularly those involving political causes or striking workers.


For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov where current Worldwide Caution Public Announcements, Travel Warnings and Pu blic Announcements can be found.

The Overseas Citizen Services call center at 1-800-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8: 00 p. m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during the se hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Crime Information: Crime in Macedonia is low by U.S. standards; however, incidents of theft and other petty crimes do occur, and travelers should take the same precautions they would take in any unfamiliar environment. Criminal inter-gang rivalries and individuals associated with organized crime, particularly in western Macedonia, have been the source of periodic violent confrontations resulting in serious injury and even death to innocent people.


The loss or theft of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are a victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to the local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed.


U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, http://travel.state.gov/asafetripabroad.html, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 20402 via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Medical Facilities: Although Macedonian physicians are trained to a high standard, most hospitals and clinics are generally not equipped and maintained at U.S. or Western European standards. Basic medical supplies are available, but specialized treatment may not be obtainable. Travelers with previously diagnosed medical conditions may wish to consult their physician before travel. Some maternity hospital facilities are considered less than adequate. Women may wish to consult their physicians about the advisability of traveling to and in Macedonia during pregnancy.


Medical Insurance: Doctors and hospitals typically expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation, which would otherwise cost in excess of $50,000. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs, found it lifesaving when a medical emergency has occurred. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at travel.state.gov.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-800-394-8747) fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-800-232-3299, or by visiting the CDC's Internet homepage at http://www.cdc.gov. For further information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int.ith.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Macedonia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:


Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor


Most major highways are in good repair, but secondary roads are poorly maintained and lit and are used by horse-drawn carts and livestock. Some vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Secondary mountain roads can be narrow, poorly marked, lack guardrails and quickly become dangerous in inclement weather.


For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/roadsafety.html. For specific information concerning Macedonia driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Macedonia at [email protected] For additional information about road travel in Macedonia see the U.S. Embassy home page at http://usembassy.mpt.com.mk.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the United States and Macedonia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Macedonia's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Macedonia's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at 1-703-697-7288.


Customs Regulations: Macedonian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or export from Macedonia of certain items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Macedonia for specific information regarding customs regulations. Customs regulations require that non-Macedonian citizens make a customs declaration upon entry into Macedonia when they bring more than 10,000 euros in cash or cash equivalents. Failure to complete such a declaration may result in the confiscation of any cash over that amount upon leaving the country.


Casual, non-business travelers with expensive lap-top computers, video cameras, extensive amounts of personal jewelry, etc., are advised that they should declare those items with Macedonian Customs upon entry to avoid problems and delays upon departure. Personal importation of duty-free liquor is limited to one liter. Two hundred cigarettes may also be imported without duty. Pets should have appropriate vaccination and/or health certificates. It is advisable to contact the Macedonian Embassy in Washington or Consulate General in New York for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Macedonian Customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information call 212-354-4480, or send an e-mail to [email protected], or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling, which sometime differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Macedonian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties in Macedonia for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.


Special Circumstances: Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities. If in doubt, please ask permission before taking photographs. Macedonia has a cashbased economy. The local currency is the denar. Few establishments accept dollars, credit cards or travelers' checks. Travelers are advised to avoid using credit cards due to numerous instances of credit card fraud.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizen Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. Those calling from overseas can dial 1-317-472-2328.

The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.


Registration and Embassy Locations: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje and obtain updated information on travel and security for both Macedonia and bordering countries. The U.S. Embassy is located at Ilindenska bb, 91000 Skopje, tel. (389) (2) 3116-180, fax (389) (2) 3213-767. Registration forms are available on the Embassy's website at usembassy.mpt.com.mk.

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MACEDONIA

Compiled from the November 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Macedonia


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

25,713 square km. (slightly larger than Vermont).

Cities (2001 est.):

Capital—Skopje 600,000; Tetovo, Kumanovo, Gostivar and Bitola 100,000+.

Geography:

Situated in the southern region of the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia is landlocked and mountainous.

Climate:

Three climatic types overlap—Mediterranean; moderately continental; and mountainous, producing hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters.

People

Population (July 2004 est.):

2,071,210.

Growth rate (2003 est.):

0.4%.

Ethnic groups (2002):

Macedonian 64.18%, Albanian 25.17%, Turkish 3.85%, Roma 2.66%, Serb 1.78%.

Religion:

Eastern Orthodox 65%, Muslim 29%, Catholic 4% and others 2%.

Language:

Macedonian 70%, Albanian 21%, Turkish 3%, Serbo-Croatian 3%, and others 3%.

Education:

Years compulsory—8. Literacy—94.6%.

Health (2001 est.):

Infant mortality rate—12.95 deaths/per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy—males 71.79 years; females 76.43 years.

Work force (2003):

860,976; employed 545,108: services—32.6%; industry and commerce—45.4%; agriculture—22.0%.

Government

Type:

Parliamentary democracy.

Constitution:

Adopted November 17, 1991; effective November 20, 1991.

Independence:

September 8, 1991 (from Yugoslavia).

Branches:

Executive—prime minister (head of government), council of ministers (cabinet), president (head of state). Legislative—unicameral parliament or Sobranie (120 members elected by popular vote to 4-year terms from party lists based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of the six election units). Judicial—Supreme Court, Republican Judicial Council, Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia, Public Prosecutor's Office, Public Attorney. Legal system is based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts.

Subdivisions:

84 opstini (municipalities) plus the city of Skopje.

Suffrage:

Universal at age 18.

Main political parties:

Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM); Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRODPMNE); Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-People's Party (VMRO-NP); Democratic Union for Integration (DUI); Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA); Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP); National Democratic Party (NDP); Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP); Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM); Liberal Party (LP); Democratic Alternative (DA); Democratic Union (DU); Democratic Party of the Turks in Macedonia (DPTM); Democratic League of Bosniaks; Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, United Party of Romas in Macedonia; Democratic Union of Vlachs from Macedonia; Labor-Agricultural Party of Macedonia, Socialist-Christian Party of Macedonia; Green Party of Macedonia.

Economy

(As of July 1, 2005)

GDP:

$5,072 billion.

Per capita GDP:

$2,570 (est.).

Real GDP growth:

3.7%.

Inflation rate:

0.2%.

Unemployment rate:

37.4%.

Trade:

Significant exports—steel, textile products, chromium, lead, zinc, nickel, tobacco, lamb, and wine.

Official exchange rate (2004 avg.):

49.4 Macedonian denars = U.S.$1.


GEOGRAPHY

Macedonia is located in the heart of south central Europe. It shares a border with Greece to the south, Bulgaria to the east, Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia and Kosovo) to the north, and Albania to the west. The country is 80% mountainous, rising to its highest point at Mt. Korab (peak 2,764 m).


PEOPLE

Since the end of the Second World War, Macedonia's population has grown steadily, with the greatest increases occurring in the ethnic Albanian community. From 1953 through the time of the latest official census in 2002 (initial official results were released December 2003), the percentage of Albanians living in Macedonia rose 313%. The western part of the country, where most ethnic Albanians live, is the most heavily populated, with approximately 40% of the total population. Due to population growth and as part of former communist industrial policy, more people have moved into the cities in search of employment. Macedonia also experienced sustained high rates of emigration.


HISTORY

Throughout its history, the present-day territory of Macedonia has been a crossroads for both traders and conquerors moving between the European continent and Asia Minor. Each of these transiting powers left its mark upon the region, giving rise to a rich and varied cultural and historical tradition.

The ancient territory of Macedon included, in addition to the areas of the present-day Macedonia, large parts of present-day northern Greece and southwestern Bulgaria. This ancient kingdom reached its height during the reign of Alexander III ("the Great"), who extended Macedon's influence over most of Asia Minor, the Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, and even parts of India. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, the Macedon Empire gradually declined, until Rome conquered it in 168 BC and made it a province in 148 BC.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the territory of Macedonia fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was during this period that large groups of Slavic people migrated to the Balkan region. The Serbs, Bulgarians, and Byzantines fought for control of Macedonia until the late 14th century, when the Ottoman Turks conquered the territory; it remained under Turkish rule until 1912.

After more than four centuries of rule, Ottoman power in the region began to wane, and by the middle of the 19th century, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia were competing for influence in the territory. During this time, a nationalist movement emerged and grew in Macedonia. The latter half of the 19th century was marked by sporadic nationalist uprisings, culminating in the Ilinden Uprising of August 2, 1903. Macedonian revolutionaries liberated the town of Krushevo and established the short-lived Republic of Krushevo, which was put down by Ottoman forces after 10 days. Following Ottoman Turkey's defeat by the allied Balkan countries—Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece—during the First Balkan War in autumn 1912, the same allies fought the Second Balkan War over the division of Macedonia. The August 1913 Treaty of Bucharest ended this conflict by dividing the territory between Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles sanctioned partitioning Macedonia between The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Bulgaria, and Greece. In the wake of the First World War, Vardarian Macedonia (the present day area of Macedonia) was incorporated into the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

Throughout much of the Second World War, Bulgaria and Italy occupied Macedonia. Many people joined partisan movements during this time and succeeded in liberating the region in late 1944. Following the war, Macedonia became one of the constituent republics of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito. During this period, Macedonian culture and language flourished.

As communism fell throughout Eastern Europe in the late 20th century, Macedonia followed its other federation partners and declared its independence from Yugoslavia in late 1991. The new Macedonian constitution took effect November 20, 1991 and called for a system of government based on a parliamentary democracy. The first democratically elected coalition government was led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) and included the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PDP). Kiro Gligorov became the first President of an independent Macedonia.

President Gligorov was the first president of a former Yugoslav republic to relinquish office. In accordance with the terms of the Macedonian constitution, his presidency ended in November 1999 after 8 years in office, which included surviving a car bombing assassination attempt in 1995. He was succeeded by former Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski (VMRO), who defeated Tito Petkovski (SDSM) in a second-round run-off election for the presidency November 14, 1999. Trajkovski's election was confirmed by a December 5, 1999 partial re-vote in 230 polling stations, which the Macedonian Supreme Court mandated due to election irregularities.

Macedonia was the only republic of the former Yugoslavia whose secession in 1991 was not clouded by ethnic or other armed conflict, although the ethnic Albanian population declined to participate in the referendum on independence. During the Yugoslav period, Macedonian ethnic identity exhibited itself, in that most of Macedonia's Slavic population identified themselves as Macedonians, while several minority groups, in particular ethnic Albanians, sought to retain their own distinct political culture and language. Although inter-ethnic tensions simmered under Yugoslav authority and during the first decade of its independence, the country avoided ethnically motivated conflict until several years after independence.

In November 1998 parliamentary elections, the SDSM lost its majority. A new coalition government emerged under the leadership of Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRODPMNE). The initial coalition included the ethnic Albanian Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA).

Ethnic minority grievances, which had erupted on occasion (1995 and 1997), rapidly began to gain political currency in late 2000, leading many in the ethnic Albanian community in Macedonia to question their minority protection under, and participation in, the government. Tensions erupted into open hostilities in Macedonia in February 2001, when a group of ethnic Albanians near the Kosovo border carried out armed provocations that soon escalated into an insurgency. Purporting to fight for greater civil rights for ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, the group seized territory and launched attacks against government forces. Many observers ascribed other motives to the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA), including support for criminality and the assertion of political control over affected areas. The insurgency spread through northern and western Macedonia during the first half of 2001. Under international mediation, a cease-fire was brokered in July 2001, and the government coalition was expanded in July 2001 to include the major opposition parties.

The expanded coalition of ruling ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders, with facilitation by U.S. and European Union (EU) diplomats, negotiated and then signed the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August 2001, which brought an end to the fighting. The agreement called

for implementation of constitutional and legislative changes, which lay the foundation for improved civil rights for minority groups. The Macedonian parliament adopted the constitutional changes outlined in the accord in November 2001. The grand coalition disbanded following the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement and the passage of new constitutional amendments. A coalition led by Prime Minister Georgievski, including DPA and several smaller parties, finished out the parliamentary term.

In September 2002 elections, an SDSM-led pre-election coalition won half of the 120 seats in parliament. Branko Crvenkovski was elected Prime Minister in coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party and the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDP).

On February 26, 2004 President Trajkovski died in a plane crash in Bosnia. Presidential elections were held April 14 and 28, 2004. Then-Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski won the second round and was inaugurated President on May 12, 2004. The parliament confirmed Hari Kostov, former Interior Minister, as Prime Minister June 2, 2004. Prime Minister Kostov resigned November 15, 2004. On December 17, 2004, former Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski was confirmed by parliament as Prime Minister, maintaining the coalition with the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and the Liberal-Democratic (LDP) parties.

With international assistance, the current governing coalition has completed the legislative implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which is a precondition for Macedonia's integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. A referendum scheduled for November 7, 2004, which would have delayed completion of this process, failed, freeing the way for the government to complete Framework Agreement implementation. The government continues to make significant strides on the practical implementation of the Agreement.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The unicameral assembly (Sobranie) consists of 120 seats. Members are elected by popular vote from party lists, based on the percentage parties gain of the overall vote in each of six election districts of 20 seats each. Members of parliament have a 4-year mandate.

The prime minister is the head of government and is selected by the party or coalition that gains a majority of seats in parliament. The prime minister and other ministers must not be members of parliament.

The president represents Macedonia at home and abroad. He is the commander in chief of the armed forces of Macedonia and heads its Security Council. The president is elected by general, direct ballot and has a term of 5 years, with the right to one reelection.

General parliamentary elections were last held on September 15, 2002. Presidential elections were held April 14 and 28, 2004 to succeed President Trajkovski, who died in office in February 2004. Local elections on the basis of a new municipal division mandated by the Framework Agreement were held in March-April 2005.

The court system consists of a Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and local and appeals courts. The Republic Judicial Council is composed of 7 members elected by parliament for a period of 6 years with the right to one re-election; it governs the ethical conduct of judges and recommends to parliament the election of judges. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country and is responsible for the equal administration of laws by all courts. Its judges are appointed by parliament without time limit. The Constitutional Court is responsible for the protection of constitutional and legal rights and for resolving conflicts of power between the three branches of government. Its 9 judges are appointed by parliament with a mandate of 9 years, without the possibility of reelection. An independent Public Prosecutor is appointed by parliament with a 6-year mandate.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 12/17/2004

President: Branko CRVENKOVSKI
Prime Minister: Vlado BUCKOVSKI
Dep. Prime Min. for Economic Policy: Minco JORDANOV
Dep. Prime Min. for European Integration: Radmila SEKERINSKA
Dep. Prime Min. for Framework Agreement Implementation: Musa XHAFERI
Dep. Prime Min. for Political Systems: Jovan MANASIEVSKI
Min. of Agriculture, Forestry, & Waterways: Sadulla DURAKU
Min. of Culture: Blagoj STEFANOVSKI
Min. of Defense: Jovan MANASIEVSKI
Min. of Economics: Fatmir BESIMI
Min. of Education & Science: Aziz POLLOZHANI
Min. of Environment: Zoran SAPURIC
Min. of Finance: Nikola POPOVSKI
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Ilinka MITREVA
Min. of Health: Vladimir DIMOV
Min. of the Interior: Ljubomir MIHAJLOVSKI
Min. of Justice: Meri MLADENOVSKA GEORGIEVSKA
Min. of Labor & Social Welfare: Stevco JAKIMOVSKI
Min. of Local Government: Rizvan SULEJMANI
Min. of Transportation & Communications: Xhemali MEHAZI
Min. Without Portfolio: Vlado POPOVSKI
Min. Without Portfolio: Musa XHAFERI
Min. Without Portfolio: Radmila SEKERINSKA
Min. Without Portfolio: Minco JORDANOV
Speaker, Assembly: Ljubco JORDANOVSKI
Governor, Macedonian National Bank: Petar GOSEV
Ambassador to the US: Nikola DIMITROV
Charge d'Affaires to the UN, New York: Jon IVONOVSKI

The country maintains an embassy in the United States at 1101 30 Street, NW, Suite 302, Washington, DC 20007 (tel: (202) 337-3063; fax: (202) 337-3093).


ECONOMY

Macedonia is a small economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $5.1 billion, representing about 0.01% of the total world output. It also is an open economy, highly integrated into international trade, with a total trade-to-GDP ratio of 90.2%. Agriculture and industry have been the two most important sectors of the economy, but the services sector has gained prominence in the past few years. Like most transition economies, problems persist, even as Macedonia takes steps toward reform. A largely obsolete industrial infrastructure has not seen much investment during the transition period. Work force education and skills are competitive, but without adequate job opportunities, many with the best skills seek employment abroad. A low standard of living, high unemployment rate, and relatively low economic growth rate are the central economic problems.

Five years of continuous economic expansion in Macedonia was interrupted by the 2001 conflict, which led to a contraction of 4.5% in 2001. Growth started to pick up in 2003 (3.4%) and continued in 2004 (2.9%) and the first half of 2005 (3.7%). Living standards still lag behind those enjoyed before independence. In 2005, real growth is projected to reach 3.8% with inflation of up to 1.5%. The United States is supporting Macedonia's transition to a democratic, secure, market-oriented society with substantial amounts of assistance.

Background

After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia, the former Yugoslavia's poorest republic, faced formidable economic challenges posed by both the transition to a market economy and a difficult regional situation. The breakup deprived Macedonia of key protected markets and large transfer payments from the central Yugoslav government. The war in Bosnia, international sanctions on Serbia, and the 1999 crisis in neighboring Kosovo delivered successive shocks to Macedonia's trade-dependent economy. The government's painful but necessary structural reforms and macroeconomic stabilization program generated additional economic dislocation. Macedonia's economy was hurt especially by a trade embargo imposed by Greece in February 1994 in a dispute over the country's name, flag, and constitution, and by international trade sanctions against Serbia that were not suspended until a month after conclusion of the Dayton Accords. The impact of the 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia, decreased international demand for Macedonian products, canceled contracts in the textile and iron and steel industry, and poor restructuring of the private sector affected Macedonia's growth and foreign trade prospects through 2004. An international donors conference, organized by the World Bank and the European Commission, was held March 12, 2002, at which donors pledged $275 million to assist in covering Mace-donia's projected budget gap, implementing Framework Agreement reforms, and re-energizing the Macedonian economy.

Although concerns stemming from the 2001 conflict linger, all constitutional changes and legislation mandated by the internationally mediated Framework Agreement have been implemented, and Macedonia's political and security situation is stable. This has allowed the government to refocus energies on domestic reforms, boosting economic growth, and attracting increased levels of foreign investment. In 2004, the government passed a progressive Trade Companies Law aimed at easing impediments to foreign investment, providing tax and investment incentives, and guaranteeing shareholder rights. The government's progress on structural economic reforms slowed in 2004 as the country faced another series of challenges—the death of President Trajkovski, resulting early presidential elections, a contentious debate over Framework Agreement-mandated decentralization legislation, and a polarizing referendum on new municipal boundaries, which took place November 7, 2004.

Macroeconomy

Real GDP in the first half of 2005 grew by 3.7%, following 2.9% growth in 2004. That growth was mainly driven by the re-opening of a few loss-making companies and by strong exports of primary metals. Industrial output rose dramatically in the first half of 2005, increasing by 9.3%. The annualized consumer price index (CPI) at the end-year rose by 0.2%. The official unemployment rate climbed to 37.4%. A conservative fiscal policy maintained a budget deficit of -0.1% during the first half of 2005; the government's target is -0.6% for 2005. Monetary policy also remained conservative, which provided little room for credit expansion. Exports grew faster than imports in the first half of 2005, narrowing the trade deficit to 10.6% of GDP, and reducing the current account deficit to about 2.1% of GDP. External debt remained stable at 35.2% of GDP.

In late 2005, Macedonian authorities concluded a new Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF and a Programmatic Development Policy Loan (PDPL) with the World Bank.

Trade

Macedonia remains committed to pursuing membership in European and global economic structures. It became a full World Trade Organization (WTO) member in April 2003. Following a 1997 cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU), Macedonia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU in April 2001, giving Macedonia duty-free access to European markets. Macedonia has had a foreign trade deficit since 1994, which reached a record high of $1,229 million in 2004. Total 2004 trade (imports plus exports of goods and services) was $4.58 billion, or 90.2% of GDP. Macedonia's major trading partners are Serbia and Montenegro, Germany, and Greece. The United States is Macedonia's eleventh-largest trading partner. In 2004, U.S.-Macedonia trade in goods totaled $119.8 million. According to Macedonian trade data, U.S. exports accounted for 1.6% of Macedonia's total imports. U.S. meat, mainly poultry, and electrical machinery have been particularly attractive to Macedonian importers. Principal Macedonian exports to the United States are tobacco, apparel, footwear, and iron and steel.

Macedonia has signed Free Trade Agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Turkey, Romania, and the European Free Trade Association countries. It also has signed an Interim Free Trade Agreement with the UN Mission in Kosovo.


DEFENSE

Macedonia established its armed forces following independence and the complete withdrawal of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in March 1992. The Macedonian Armed Forces consist of an army, navy, air and air defense force, and a police force (under the Ministry of Interior). Under its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Membership Action Plan, Macedonia has launched a major effort to reform and reconstruct its armed forces with the goal of building and sustaining a modern, professional defense force of about 12,000 troops.

Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has worked toward increased ties with the transatlantic community. Despite the fragile political, economic, and military situation in the region over the past decade, Macedonia has provided consistent support for NATO. Macedonia is engaged in military, economic, and political reforms to enhance its security and NATO candidacy, although the security crisis of 2001 represented a setback to those efforts. The Government of Macedonia plans to assume greater responsibility for its share of ensuring the security of the region without reliance on an international military presence. Successive Macedonian governments have viewed integration into Euro-Atlantic political, economic, and security institutions as the country's primary foreign policy goal. In pursuit of these goals, Macedonia is restructuring its military to be smaller, more affordable, defensively oriented, and interoperable with NATO. The Macedonian Government has welcomed close cooperation with the U.S. military and seeks to deepen this relationship as it restructures its forces.

The UN Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in Macedonia patrolled the borders with Serbia and Albania from 1992 to November 1998, enhancing Macedonian stability. In early December 1998, the Macedonian Government approved local basing of the NATO Extraction Force (XFOR) and the Kosovo Verification Coordination Cell (KVCC), in anticipation of a political resolution of the Kosovo crisis, also contributing to Macedonia's safety and stability. Prior to the bombing campaign in Yugoslavia in March 1999, the number of NATO troops in Macedonia peaked at 17,000.

In the wake of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia, at the government's request, NATO deployed Task Forces "Essential Harvest," then "Amber Fox," and later "Allied Harmony" in Macedonia in confidence-building tasks and protection for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors in the former conflict area. Task Force Essential Harvest collected more than 4,000 weapons from the National Liberation Army (NLA) in a confidence-building effort to restore stability within Macedonia. "Amber Fox" (June through December 2002) and its smaller successor "Allied Harmony" (January to March 2003) worked with Macedonian security forces to ensure the safety of international monitors overseeing Framework Agreement implementation in Macedonia. On March 31, 2003, the EU (EUFOR) took over this role from NATO with the launch of "Operation Concordia," which ended December 15, 2003. At the Macedonian Government's request, the EU established a Police Advisory Mission in Macedonia in December 2003 to assist the country's police reforms. The mission, Proxima, has been extended through December 2005.

Macedonia continues to play an indispensable role as the Kosovo Force's (KFOR) rear area, hosting the logistical supply line for KFOR troops in Kosovo. As part of these efforts, Macedonia hosts about 150 NATO troops, including U.S. troops, in support of NATO operations in Kosovo and assisting Macedonia's efforts to reform its military to meet NATO standards. Due to improvements in the security situation and U.S. KFOR drawdowns in Kosovo, the United States closed its Camp Able Sentry base in Macedonia in December 2002. Close U.S.-Macedonian bilateral defense cooperation continues. Macedonia also contributes troops to coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

In February 1994, Greece imposed a trade embargo on Macedonia due to disputes over the use of the name "Macedonia" and other issues. Greece and Macedonia signed an interim accord in October 1995 ending the embargo and opening the way to diplomatic recognition and increased trade. After signing the agreement with Greece, Macedonia joined the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP). Athens and Skopje began talks on the name issue in New York under UN auspices in December 1995, opening liaison offices in respective capitals January 1996. These talks continue.

The stability of the young state was gravely tested during the 1999 Kosovo crisis, when Macedonia temporarily hosted about 360,000 refugees from the violence and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, as Serb atrocities against Kosovar Albanians and other minority groups caused a mass exodus. The refugee influx put significant stress on Macedonia's weak social infrastructure. With the help of NATO and the international community, Macedonia ultimately was able to accommodate the influx. Following the resolution of the conflict, the overwhelming majority of refugees returned to Kosovo. The Macedonian Government demonstrated a strong commitment to regional stability as an essential partner during the Kosovo crisis.

In addition to improving relations with its neighbors, Macedonia has made strides toward European and international integration, especially with the EU and NATO. Macedonia is an active participant in NATO's Partnership for Peace and Membership Action Plan, the OSCE, and United Nations, and was accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in October 2002. In 1999, the EU agreed to develop a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with Macedonia; negotiations with Macedonia were launched April 5, 2000. The SAA was signed April 2001 and came into force in April 2004. Its trade and trade-related provisions have been in force since June 2001. For Macedonia to successfully integrate within the global arena, continued efforts to strengthen its multiethnic civil society institutions, to develop measures to promote economic growth and investment, and to foster strong indigenous nongovernmental organizations are necessary. On November 9, 2005 the European Commission issued an "avis" on Macedonia's EU membership candidacy in which it recommended EU candidate status for the country. It recommended beginning formal accession negotiations after Macedonia has made further progress on a number of reform fronts, including combating corruption; enacting judicial, administrative, and economic reforms; and conducting free and fair parliamentary elections, in accordance with European standards, in 2006.


U.S.-MACEDONIAN RELATIONS

The United States and Macedonia have enjoyed good bilateral relations since Macedonia gained its independence in 1991. The United States formally recognized Macedonia on February 8, 1994, and the two countries established full diplomatic relations on September 13, 1995. The U.S. Liaison Office was upgraded to an Embassy in February 1996, and the first U.S. Ambassador to Skopje arrived in July 1996. The development of political relations between the United States and Macedonia has ushered in a whole host of other contacts between the two states.

During the 1999 Kosovo crisis, Macedonia played a key role in facilitating U.S. and international efforts in the region by accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees, served as a launching pad for allied military efforts, and functioned as the long-term conduit for humanitarian assistance programs and military logistics for Kosovo. The United States, together with its European allies, strongly condemned the initiators of the 2001 insurgency in Macedonia and closely supported the government and major parties' successful efforts to forge a peaceful, political solution to the crisis through the Ohrid Framework Agreement. In partnership with the EU and other international organizations active in Macedonia, the United States is facilitating the Macedonian Government's implementation of the Framework Agreement and fostering long-term peace and stability in the country. Macedonia continues to make an important contribution to regional stability by facilitating the logistical supply of NATO (including U.S.) peacekeepers in Kosovo.

Today, Macedonia and the United States enjoy a cooperative relationship across a broad range of political, economic, cultural, military, and social issues. The United States supports Macedonia's aspirations to build a democratically secure and market-oriented society, and has donated large amounts of foreign assistance for military reform, democracy and economic reform, and humanitarian relief efforts. The United States pledged $6 million in debt relief and $22 million in Economic Support Funds to Macedonia in 1999 to help offset the strains of the Kosovo crisis. The United States provided an estimated $35 million to Macedonia to help host communities cope with refugee inflows. In addition, the United States helped reduce the refugee impact on Macedonia by resettling in the United States more than 13,000 persons through the Humanitarian Evacuation Program. Bilateral assistance budgeted to Macedonia under the Support Europe Economic Development (SEED) Act totaled over $320 million from 1990 to 2004, including budget support and other assistance to help Macedonia recover from the 2001 crisis. Macedonia received approximately $37 million in SEED Act assistance in 2005.

U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) programs in Macedonia promote accelerated growth, support stronger democratic institutions, and help educate Macedonians for a modern economy. A key focus of U.S. assistance is helping Macedonia implement the August 2001 Framework Agreement; implementing the decentralization provision is a priority. USAID is targeting capacity building for local government officials, who will have more authority and responsibility devolved from the central government, as well as providing grants to fund small-scale infrastructure projects.

A further priority of U.S. assistance is to facilitate Macedonia's transition to a market economy and increase employment and growth levels. USAID has identified and is now assisting the five most competitive sub-sectors of Macedonia's economy. USAID also helps Macedonian enterprises through business resource centers, improved access to credit and equity, trade and investment facilitation, and training. Programs target improvements in the business-enabling environment by helping to bring legislative and regulatory frameworks in line with EU standards and improving the transparency and efficiency of government services through technology. A resident U.S. Department of Treasury advisor is assisting the Ministry of Finance improve strategy, planning and execution, and public expenditure management.

USAID is working to strengthen Macedonia's non-governmental organization (NGO) and community networks, encourage judicial reform, in particular by modernizing court administration, and build capacity and transparency of the parliament and local governments. USAID has helped strengthen the State Election Commission's capacity to administer elections and supported domestic NGO election monitoring of the spring 2005 municipal elections. A U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor focuses on strengthening the independence of the judiciary, efficacy of public prosecution, reform of criminal codes, and capacity to fight trafficking in persons and organized crime.

Complementing its assistance in Macedonia's political and economic transition, USAID programs improve education and human capacity in Macedonia through projects on the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Targets include improving teaching techniques, modernizing vocational education, providing computer labs in all schools, and expanding broadband Internet service throughout the country using primary and secondary schools as a platform. Other programs address crosscutting issues, including inter-ethnic cooperation, assistance to the Roma minority, corruption, HIV/AIDS, and trafficking.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SKOPJE (E) Address: Bul Ilinden bb, 1000 Skopje; APO/FPO: Unit 7120 Box 1000; APO AE 09737-1000; Phone: 389-2-311-6180; Fax: 389-2-311-7103; INMARSAT Tel: 871-761-836-255; Workweek: Mon-Fri 0800-1700.

AMB:Gillian A. Milovanovic
AMB OMS:Carol Oakley
DCM:Paul Wohlers
DCM OMS:Colleen Kozubek
POL/ECO:Stephen Hubler
CON:Kimberly McDonald
MGT:Sarah Solberg
AFSA:Michael Latham
AGR:Brian Goggin
AID:Dick Goldman
CLO:Jackie Wilson/Lana Tarr
CUS:Kenneth McDonald
DAO:Ulises Soto
ECO:Michael Latham
EEO:Kimberly McDonald
FMO:Anna Kosinska
GSO:Robert B. Burnett
ICASS Chair:Tony Altimore
IMO:Mark Wilson
INS:Gary L. Cote
IPO:Sheik Huie
IRS:Garrard, Linda M.
ISSO:Scott Guilliatt
LEGATT:Michael Clarke
MLO:Thomas F. Wilson
PAO:Michael Orlansky
RSO:Aria Lu
Last Updated: 12/27/2005

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

November 14, 2005

Country Description:

Macedonia is a developing nation undergoing economic change. Conditions in tourist facilities vary considerably and may not be up to Western standards.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

U.S. citizens need a passport to enter Macedonia. A visa for Macedonia is not required for tourist/business purposes for stays up to 90 days. For stays longer than 90 days, American citizens need to obtain the appropriate visa at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate prior to their trip. Additional information on entry requirements may be obtained from the Macedonian Embassy at 2129 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 337-3063, fax (202) 337-3093, or the Macedonian Consulate General in Detroit, 2000 Town Center, Suite 1130, Southfield, MI 48075, telephone (248) 354-5537, fax (248) 354-5538. Visit the Embassy of Macedonia web site at www://macedonianembassy.org or http://www.mfa.gov.mk/default_en.asp for the most current visa information.

Foreigners, including American citizens, who enter Macedonia and will stay in private accommodations, are required to register with the nearest police station within three days. Foreigners staying in hotels are not required to register, as the hotel is responsible for registration with the police. Persons who overstay their visas should contact the Ministry of Interior in Skopje to obtain an exit visa; failure to do so may result in difficulties in departing the country.

Travelers should be aware that all immediate border areas apart from designated border crossings are military restricted zones. Presence in these zones is forbidden without prior official permission.

Safety and Security:

While the security situation in Macedonia is stable, occasional inter-ethnic and criminal violence remains a concern. The overall number of security incidents has diminished significantly since 2001. Travelers should be alert for unusual behavior and other possible indicators that something out of the ordinary is in progress. Acts of intimidation and violence against American citizens have not occurred recently but remain possible.

Americans should avoid demonstrations and other sites, such as roadblocks, where large crowds are gathered, particularly those involving political causes or striking workers.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where current Worldwide Caution Public Announcements, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security conditions can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-541-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Crime in Macedonia is low by U.S. standards; however, incidents of theft and other petty crimes do occur, and travelers should take the same precautions they would take in any unfamiliar environment. Criminal inter-gang rivalries and individuals associated with organized crime, particularly in western Macedonia, have been the source of periodic violent confrontations resulting in serious injury and even death to innocent people.

Information for Victims of Crime:

If you are a victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to the local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Although Macedonian physicians are trained to a high standard, most hospitals and clinics are generally not equipped and maintained at U.S. or Western European standards. Basic medical supplies are available, but specialized treatment may not be obtainable. Travelers with previously diagnosed medical conditions may wish to consult their physician before travel.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Macedonia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance: Driving safely in Macedonia requires good defensive driving skills. Drivers routinely ignore traffic regulations, and often drive through red lights and stop signs, and turn left from the far right hand lane. These driving practices cause frequent traffic accidents. With a rate of 7.8 deaths per million kilometers driven, drivers, passengers and pedestrians in Macedonia are over seven times more likely to die from a traffic accident than if they were in the United States. Macedonia is currently one of the highest ranked countries in the world for per capita traffic related fatalities.

Driving is on the right side of the road. Speed limits are generally posted. Americans driving in Macedonia should possess a valid American driver's license and an International Driving Permit. Most major highways are in good repair, but secondary urban and rural roads are poorly maintained, often unlit and used by horse-drawn carts and livestock. While driving, it is not unusual to come across dead animals, rocks, or objects that have fallen from trucks. Some vehicles are old and lack standard front or rear lights. Secondary mountain roads can be narrow and poorly marked, lack guardrails, and quickly become dangerous in inclement weather. Overall, public transportation in Macedonia is dilapidated. Roadside emergency services are limited.

In case of emergency, drivers may contact the police at telephone 192, the Ambulance Service at telephone 194, and Roadside Assistance at telephone 196. Visit Macedonia's National Tourist Office website at: http://www.skopjetourism.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Macedonia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Macedonia's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

Special Circumstances:

In addition to being subject to all Macedonian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual U.S./Macedonian nationals may be subject to Macedonian laws that impose special obligations. Male Macedonian citizens are subject to compulsory military draft regulations. If such persons are found guilty of draft evasion in Macedonia – or draft evasion from the former Yugoslavia prior to 1991 – they are subject to prosecution by Macedonian authorities. Those who might be affected should inquire at a Macedonian Embassy or Consulate outside Macedonia regarding their status before travel.

Macedonian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation or export from Macedonia of certain items, including items deemed to be of historical value or significance. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities. If in doubt, please ask permission before taking photographs. Macedonia has a cash based economy. The local currency is the denar. Few establishments accept dollars, credit cards or travelers' checks.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Macedonian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Macedonia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at: http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration and Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Macedonia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Skopje through the State Department's travel registration website: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/home.asp, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Macedonia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of an emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Skopje is located at Ilindenska bb, 1000 Skopje, tel. (389) (2) 311-6180, fax (389) (2) 321-3767, email: [email protected] Registration forms are available on the Embassy's website, located at: http://skopje.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption

January 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer:

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Availability of Children for Adoption:

In general, the number of requests for adoption is significantly higher than the number of children available for adoption.

FY-1998: IR-3 immigrant visas issued to Macedonian orphans adopted abroad - 1; IR-4 immigrant visas issued to Macedonian orphans adopted in the U.S. - 0
FY-1999: IR-3 visas - 1; IR-4 visas - 2
FY-2000: IR-3 visas - 0; IR-4 visas - 2

*Please note: The American Embassy in Belgrade had jurisdiction over the Macedonian consular district until March 1999. Most Macedonian immigrant visas were issued in Belgrade

Macedonian Adoption Authority:

The office responsible for foreign adoptions in Macedonia is the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, whose address is: 14 Dame Gruev St.; Skopje 1000; Tel: 389-2-106-226.

The completion of the adoption case in Macedonia involves a choice of a name and place of birth within Macedonia for the child made by the adoptive parents. A birth certificate is then issued within 2-3 days and the names of the adoptive parents are listed in the birth certificate as biological parents. The next step is for the adoptive parents to apply for a Passport for Foreigners (A Macedonian passport for their adopted child in order to apply for immigrant visa at the American Embassy in Skopje. Parents should be aware that adopted children lose their Macedonian nationality once the adoption is completed.

Age and Civil Status Requirements:

There are no age requirements or restrictions on who may adopt an infant from Macedonia.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys:

The Macedonian Ministry of Labor does not deal with any adoption agency or lawyer for foreign adoptions. The Ministry will only communicate directly with the adoptive parents.

Doctors:

The U.S. Embassy maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines should either you or your child experience health problems while in Macedonia.

Documents Required for Adoption:

The following documents are required by the Macedonian Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs:

  • Home study conducted by U.S. authorities
  • Certified Copy of a Birth Certificate for each parent (issued within the last 6 months);
  • Certified Copy of the parent's Marriage Certificate (issued within the last 6 months);
  • Medical certificate certifying good mental and physical condition for each parent;
  • Certificate from a Office of Social Services from the parent's state of residence certifying that the adoptive parents were never deprived of their parental rights;
  • A letter from the employer for each parent showing that they have a current employment;
  • Notarized/authenticated Statement showing proof of adequate financial status sufficient to support a child;
  • Request for adoption;
  • Approved petition from the BCIS (Form I-171H);

Each parent should present a separate document from item 2 to 6. The documents must be translated in Macedonian, and certified by a licensed court translator.

U.S. Immigration Requirements:

A Macedonian child adopted by an American citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

Macedonian Embassy and Consulate Office in the United States:

Embassy of the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia
3050 K. Street NW
Suite 210
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel: 202-337-3063
Fax: 202-337-3093

Consulate General of Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia
866 United Nations Plaza
Suite 4018
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-317-1727
Fax: 212-317-1484

U.S. Embassy in Macedonia:

The Consular Section is located at:
U.S. Embassy Macedonia
Ilindenska, b.b.
1000 Skopje
Tel: 389-2-116-180
Fax: 389-2-213-767

Questions:

Any further questions regarding adoption of an infant from Macedonia may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, SA-29, 2201 C Street, NW, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-2818, phone 1-888-407-4747 with specific questions.

views updated

MACEDONIA

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Republika Makedonija

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Located in southeastern Europe, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (generally referred to as Macedonia) is a completely landlocked country, covering an area of 25,333 square kilometers (9,781 square miles). It is bounded on the north by Serbia and Montenegro (collectively the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)mostly by the province of Kosovoon the east by Bulgaria, on the south by Greece, and on the west by Albania. Comparatively, the country is slightly larger than the state of Vermont. The capital, Skopje, is situated in the north-central part of the country; other cities of importance include Bitola, Kumanovo, and Tetovo.

POPULATION.

According to the 1994 census, the population was 1,945,932, or 88,000 fewer than the previous census recorded in 1991. This decline resulted from the emigration of ethnic Serbs after the breakup of Yugoslavia, and by a boycott of the census by ethnic Albanians. By July 2000, the population had risen to 2,041,467. Its birth rate is 13.73 per 1,000 population, and the death rate is 7.69 per 1,000 population, resulting in one of the highest rates of population growth in Europe. The population is expected to reach 2.2 million by 2010. The population density is nearly 79 persons per square kilometer (205 per square mile).

Macedonian Slavs constitute two-thirds of the population, with ethnic Albanians the second largest group, accounting for 22.7 percent. Turks make up 4 percent, Roma (Gypsies) 2.2 percent, and Serbs 2.1 percent. Several other small groups round out the total. Albanians dispute census results, claiming to represent one-third of the population. While Macedonia received many Kosovar Albanian refugees during the Kosovo war of 1999, most of them have since returned to their country. The population is young, with 23.8 percent below the age of 14 and 10 percent older than 65. Over 60 percent of the population live in urban areas, 23 percent of them in the capital city Skopje, and 5 percent in its suburbs.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

An agricultural economy before World War II, Macedonia was the least developed of the 6 former republics of Yugoslavia. The country inherited a poorly located state-owned industry, predominantly heavy, from the Yugoslav socialist period (1945-91), which is now largely seen as a deterrent to foreign investment. The breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991 deprived the country of protected markets and federal funds. In the first half of the 1990s, the economy suffered additionally from the United Nations (UN) embargo against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) as all exports to Serbian markets, especially of agricultural produce, were terminated, and land corridors to western Europe through Serbia were cut. Many violations of the sanctions occurred, fueling organized crime and corruption, and generating some huge illicit fortunes. Worse yet, when Macedonia declared independence in 1991, Greece imposed an economic blockade that was not lifted until 1995 and badly impaired foreign trade. Finally, in 1999, the country was affected by the Kosovo war and the in-flux of ethnic Albanian refugees.

In 1991, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was US$1,140; between 1991 and 1994 it shrank by over 10 percent annually; by 1997 it had rebounded slightly to US$1,100 a person, signaling a period of growth. The country's isolation and underdevelopment, and the instability generated by the conflicts in neighboring Serbia, have made it unattractive to investors. Money transfers from Macedonian workers abroad and foreign aid have helped towards a recovery, and the Stability Pacta U.S. and European Union (EU)-backed regional plan for economic development, democratization and securitymay generate new investment opportunities. Most importantly, the toppling of Yugoslavia's dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, is perceived as a major advantage towards achieving stability and growth in the region.

The decision of the EU in late 2000 to open up its market to imports from southeastern Europe, including Macedonia, brought up to 95 percent the proportion of industrial and farm goods not subject to EU customs fees. To the disappointment of the Macedonian government, however, the country was still regarded as a "potential" EU member when it had expected firm guarantees that it would be considered a membership candidate like Slovenia or neighboring Bulgaria. Macedonians expect their country to be more highly favored for its record of cooperation with the international community and are unimpressed with current EU plans to spend $2.4 billion of Stability Pact funds in the region as a whole, anticipating that they would receive only a minor portion of the money.

Economic progress depends on the Macedonian government's ability to attract foreign investment, redevelop trade with its neighbors and the EU, and liberalize the economy by disbanding loss-making state enterprises and privatizing those that might be profitable in the long term. Implementation of such structural reforms is vital for economic growth and integration with the European Community.

Macedonia's external debt was $1.13 billion in 1997. Although quite moderate by international standards, without substantial support the cash-stripped country could not meet its short-term financial obligations. Financial aid has been forthcoming in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with $10.5 million received from Taiwan, and an EU grant of $100 million to be split with Albania. The World Bank also granted an adjustment loan worth $50 million, of which $20 million came under conditions applying to the poorest countries and is interest-free for 35 years with a 10-year grace period, and the balance on terms for credit-worthy but poorer countriesfor 17 years, with an 8-year grace period.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Following its declaration of independence in 1991, Macedonia developed a consensual democratic multiparty system. Main parties include the ruling Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE), a moderate nationalist and reformist party with deep historic roots and liberal positions on economic and international issues; the Democratic Alternative (DA), a liberal party and former VMRO-DPMNE coalition partner; the Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM, reformed communists); and the 2 ethnic Albanian-dominated organizations, the Democratic Party of Albanians and the left-wing Party for Democratic Prosperity. Unlike other parts of the former Yugoslavia, Macedonian politics are not polarized along ethnic lines. Although there have been tensions between the Albanian minority and the government, the kind of ethnic violence seen elsewhere is rather unlikely, and Macedonia has occasionally compared itself with Switzerland as a land of peaceful ethnic co-existence.

The state still has considerable influence over the economy, but, since independence, the government has made progress in boosting private initiative and creating a viable private sector through its restitution and privatization program and by attracting foreign direct investment . The first step was the restitution (return) of nationalized property to former owners, considered a serious political gain by the VMRO-DPMNE, the first center-right reformist government since the country's independence. The privatization agency, a body overseeing both restitution and privatization, reserved a large cash fund to compensate the heirs of former property owners if restitution proved physically impossible. Out of 94 firms that were nationalized (claimed by the state) by the communist regime, restitution of physical assets was possible in 38 cases, and shares were distributed to the heirs in another 24 firms. Privatization of state assets is another, much more time-consuming, priority of the government, and it is being carried out through capital market offerings, mass privatization, and cash deals. The offerings on the capital market are very limited; in mass privatization, citizens and company employees are eligible to receive free vouchers for company shares; cash deals are by far the most attractive proposition for foreign direct investors. Taxes constitute 41 percent of the total government revenue, and continuing tax reform is aimed at reorienting taxation from direct towards indirect taxes and the value-added tax (VAT), which are believed to be more business-friendly.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Macedonia's transportation infrastructure includes 5,540 kilometers (3,450 miles) of paved roads with 133 kilometers (83 miles) of expressways and 699 kilometers (417 miles) of railroads, with a new 56-kilometer (35-mile) railroad line under construction to the Bulgarian border in 2000. Due to the old Yugoslav policy of keeping Macedonia economically dependent on Serbia and isolated from Bulgaria, most infrastructure runs north-south, while the improvement of the east-west transport corridor connecting Italy and Albania with Bulgaria and Turkey has only been included since the introduction of EU infrastructure development programs. The government claimed US$106.9 million in compensation from NATO for the use of its infrastructure during the 1999 Kosovo crisis and is planning to spend the money on new infrastructure projects. International airports operate in Skopje and Ohrid.

Macedonia has only 10 kilometers (6 miles) of oil and gas pipelines. The energy sector is state-owned and produced 6.664 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 1998 in thermal plants (85.37 percent) and hydro-electric facilities (14.63 percent). Electricity consumption was estimated at 6.198 billion kWh in 1998. Privatization is planned for ESM, the national electric utility, and in September 2000 the government began passing it into shareholder ownership. Talks have also been held with 2 potential foreign purchasers, Enron (U.S.) and RWE (Germany).

Of the international telecommunications operators interested in the privatization of the state-owned monopoly Makedonski Telekomunikacii (MT), the favorites are OTE (Greece), Matav (Hungary, owned by Deutsche Telekom), and Telekom Slovenije (Slovenia). A final decision on the bid was due to be made in 2001, with Matav considered the front-runner.

Growth in demand for transport and telecommunications services reflects the continuing logistical requirements of the international operations in Kosovo. The deployment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peacekeepers and the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in 1999 required huge spending on transportation, energy, and telecommunications (as did the presence of the UN preventive deployment force in 1993).

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Macedonia 21 200 250 N/A 15 1.5 N/A 4.40 30
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Yugoslavia 107 297 259 N/A 23 1.9 18.8 7.65 80
Albania 36 217 109 0.0 1 3.6 N/A 0.24 3
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

The largest sectors in terms of GDP contribution are services; light industry and mining; trade, tourism, and catering; agriculture, forestry and water management; transport and communications; and construction. Since independence, heavy industries have declined, while services have grown dynamically. In 1999, the economy recorded real GDP growth of 2.7 percent, the third consecutive year of moderate growth. In the first quarter of 2000, industrial production rose by 10.6 percent, and services (transport, communications, and retail ) expanded, mostly due to the continuing logistical requirements of the international operation in Kosovo. In 1998, the agricultural sector contributed 13 percent to GDP, industry contributed 32 percent, and services contributed 55 percent.

AGRICULTURE

Macedonia produces a wide range of crops and other foodstuffs. Farmers grow rice, tobacco, wheat, corn, millet, cotton, sesame, mulberry leaves, citrus, and vegetables; beef, pork, poultry, mutton, and dairy products are also produced, and the country has traditionally been an exporter of sugar beets, fruits, vegetables, cheese, lamb, and tobacco. As elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia, farmland was only partly collectivized under communist rule, while in other eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, collectivization was almost complete (collectivization was the process by which communist countries coordinated production through state planning). The farming sector has, however, been hit by drought, and the wheat harvest was down by 16 percent in 2000.

The government has come under pressure from private farmers, who have threatened to organize protests unless it pays what it owes them for the 1999 harvest and compensates them for the rising price of fuel. They have also demanded subsidies for their agricultural exports and a cut in the rate of the new value-added tax for agricultural products from 19 percent to 5 percent.

INDUSTRY

Industry (including mining) contributed 32 percent of GDP in 1998 and employed about 40 percent of the workforce. While the coal industry provides for the needs of the country, all other fuels, machinery, transportation equipment, and manufactured goods are imported. Manufacturing is dominated by metallurgy (iron, copper, lead, zinc, and chromium), chemicals, and textiles. Many companies have been able to keep operating despite losses and delayed payments to workers and business partners. But the VMRO-DPMNE government has planned the sale or liquidation of seriously insolvent companies by 2002. Feni, a ferro-nickel plant in Kavadarci, was sold for $2.3 million to France's Société Commerciale de Métaux et Mineraux, which will invest $36 million, while retaining all 880 employees and selling metals to Krupp Thyssen of Germany. The privatization agency is trying to support the selling of other loss-making companies, such as the Okta oil refinery, by cutting selling prices substantially.

Increased demand for post-war reconstruction in Kosovo has improved the situation in the iron and steel, construction materials, and chemicals industries, and, ironically, neighboring EU member Greece, which imposed a crippling trade embargo in the early 1990s, is now the top source of foreign cash directed to banking, fuels, brewing, tobacco processing, and construction materials.

SERVICES

The growing services sector of the Macedonian economy accounted for 55 percent of the country's GDP in 1998 and was expected to continue to grow in importance in the coming decades.

FINANCE.

As in the rest of the former Yugoslavia, most banks in Macedonia were not controlled directly by the government during the communist era but by the state enterprises, their largest customers. Large firms could force banks to lend them money even when they were not credit-worthy, an ineffective and risky system. The banking sector was badly hurt in the early 1990s when many firms defaulted on their loans. To make things worse, in the wake of the Yugoslav crisis, the cash-stripped National Bank of Yugoslavia in Belgrade refused to return the Macedonian foreign exchange deposits it was holding, thereby depriving the republic of hard currency . Because of the high inflation of the denar, most people in Macedonia used to save in foreign currency and this move severely undermined confidence in the banking system. Although the Macedonian government assumed the debts, all foreign-currency deposits had to be frozen and were paid out only over time. Confidence in banks was further shaken in 1997 with the collapse of TAT, a pyramid savings firm. The authorities have since tightened regulation of the sector and have initiated projects to rebuild confidence.

TOURISM.

Tourism was an important factor when the republic was part of Yugoslavia. There are several major tourist destinationsresorts and beautiful historical towns situated mainly along the Ohrid lake and in the mountains. The wars reduced tourist trade in the early 1990s, but the industry subsequently began a recovery, with income from tourism totaling $27 million in 1997. NATO troops and international staff stationed in Macedonia and Kosovo often spend their leave in Macedonia, and the number of foreign visitors to the country averaged 18,485 per month in the first half of 2000, compared with 12,060 during the same period in 1999.

RETAIL.

Retail in Macedonia is predominantly private and comparatively well developed, although foreign investment is still limited. Informal retail is sizeable, and small stores prevail. Figures in 2000 showed a massive yearly increase in real terms of 57.1 percent in retail revenue. This is partly explained by the Kosovo effect (the presence of NATO and international staff), and partly by a rise in consumer spending, driven by government's payments to pensioners , the unfreezing of foreign-currency accounts, and payments to TAT depositors.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

In 1998, Macedonia faced a slightly negative balance of trade . In that year the country exported $1.317 billion in goods and services while importing $1.715 billion. However, several issues promised to ease this trade imbalance in the future. In late 2000, EU markets were opened to Macedonian industrial and agricultural goods (but not beef and wine) as part of a new EU policy towards the region. Macedonia shipped almost 50 percent of its exports to the EU in 2000. Wine, one of the more successful export categories, was excluded from the liberalization in response to active lobbying from EU domestic winegrowers.

The greatest current rise is in exports to Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro), with which Macedonia has a free-trade agreement. It is the largest single-state Macedonian export market, taking 23.7 percent of total exports in 2000. This state of affairs is likely to be reinforced by the political changes in Belgrade in 2000. In 2000, the head of the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) agreed to assist in opening Kosovo further to Macedonian products. Macedonian firms secured construction contracts in Kosovo to rebuild the road between Pristina and Kosovska Mitrovica, and to a bus and truck terminal in Pristina. The contracts are worth $172 million. With the lifting of trade sanctions, Macedonia could expect to win similar contracts in Serbia proper, and to see a revival of traditional Serbian demand for their exports.

Principal Macedonian exports in 1998 included manufactured goods (34.2 percent); iron and steel (19.3 percent); drinks and tobacco (11 percent); machinery and equipment (7.5 percent); and food and livestock (5 percent). Imports in 1998 included machinery and transport equipment (19.1 percent); miscellaneous manufactured goods (14.5 percent); food products (13.4 percent); chemicals (10.6 percent); and fuels and lubricants (8.5 percent). Principal trade partners included Germany with 19.0 percent of all exports and 12.3 percent of all imports; Yugoslavia, with 23.7 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively; the United States with 15.2 percent and 3.0 percent; Greece with 5.9 percent and 7.9 percent; and Italy with 8.1 percent and 5.4 percent. Ukraine accounts for 11.7 percent of imports, and there is some trade with Russia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Croatia.

MONEY

As in much of Eastern Europe, the monetary and public finance sectors of Macedonia remained under-developed during the era of the Yugoslav communist regime. After independence, the banking sector was plagued by the collapse of the old Yugoslav finance system, the insolvency of most companies, the freezing of hard currency deposits in Belgrade (the capital of the former Yugoslavia), and the pyramid schemes that captured the savings of thousands of citizens. With serious reforms needed in the monetary, foreign-exchange, and banking sectors, the government launched a scheme in 1995 to restructure the banks by removing bad loans (granted to loss-making state firms or insolvent private concerns) from their balance sheets. The first step taken to regain

Exchange rates: Macedonia
denars per US$1
Jan 2001 64.757
2000 65.904
1999 56.902
1998 54.462
1997 50.004
1996 39.981
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

investor confidence was payment of compensation to the holders of foreign-exchange accounts frozen by the central bank, with small depositors receiving cash and larger depositors given government bonds. A new banking law is expected to be passed providing for strict supervision by the National Bank of Macedonia to ensure that banks are adequately capitalized, but legislation on foreign exchange, foreign trade, and foreign credit is also needed to introduce stringent and transparent rules to the sector.

Reforms in the public finance sector include the introduction of a value-added tax; the reduction of excessive employment in the public sector ; the privatization of non-essential ministerial activities; the creation of a controlled treasury system; pension reform adding a private pension system to the present public one; the establishment of a macroeconomic and budget planning unit in the finance ministry; and a continuing movement towards indirect taxation.

The largest commercial bank, Stopanska banka, has been successfully restructured and privatized by selling a majority stake to the National Bank of Greece. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) also agreed to take stakes in Stopanska. The second largest bank is the privately owned Komercijalna banka, which was spun off from Stopanska under the communist regime. The EBRD has a stake in Komercijalna. Tutunska banka (Tobacco Bank), the third largest, was sold to Nova Ljubljanska banka of Slovenia.

Throughout the late 1990s and into the 21st century the denar has been declining in value compared to the U.S. dollar. In 1995, US$1 was exchanged for 37.882 denars. The rate has weakened since, with US$1 equal to 39.981 (1996), 50.004 (1997), 54.462 (1998), 56.902 (1999), and 59.773 denars (January 2000). By November 2000, the currency was trading at 71.22 denars to the dollar.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

The state provides health and social benefits, including pensions, to all citizens, but inflation and economic

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Macedonia N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,349
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Albania N/A 916 915 842 795
Romania 1,201 1,643 1,872 1,576 1,310
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

hardship over the 1990s have dramatically reduced most such payments. Market reforms of the 1990s created both increased poverty and new wealth. Many new entrepreneurs, corrupt politicians and other officials, and politically protected smugglers exploiting channels through Greece and Bulgaria, amassed spectacular fortunes, particularly benefiting from breaches of trade sanctions against Yugoslavia. No specific data on the distribution of consumption and income is currently available. Income levels render Macedonia a poor country with education, health, life expectancy, and consumerism low by European standards. Nevertheless, the country enjoys greater economic equality than neighboring Greece.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The unemployment rate increased after independence, reaching 35 percent in 1999 and totaling 313,900 people out of work (out of a total estimated labor force of 890,000). The situation worsened in the first half of 2000, especially in manufacturing, due to the govern-ment's commitment to privatize or liquidate 12 large loss-making factories. Another cause of job losses was legislation requiring all employers to pay social security and pension contributions on newly hired staff, which forced many insolvent employers to lay off workers and freeze recruitment. The still weak economy does not generate new jobs fast enough to outweigh the loss of old ones.

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All Food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Macedonia 33 5 15 6 9 9 23
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Serbia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Albania 62 3 13 3 10 5 4
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

To counter unemployment, in 2000 the Macedonian parliament allowed the early retirement of state employees, but the Constitutional Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional in discriminating between state and private-sector employees, and treating people differently according to gender. Early retirement was stopped, and those already retired were offered the option of returning to their jobs. Teachers demanded a 20 percent pay raise that was unlikely to be granted because the court ruling upset plans to cut jobs in education. The cash-stripped government also decided to offer public employees a 40-kg (90 lb) food package worth $85 instead of annual holiday pay, but trade unions protested.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1912-13. Serbia occupies and annexes what is now Macedonian territory, then part of the Ottoman Empire.

1913-41. The Slav majority in Macedonia, considered ethnic Bulgarian by themselves and by the international community prior to 1913, is regarded by the Serb government as "southern Serbs" and is subjected to brutal pressure to assimilate. The economy remains agricultural and underdeveloped.

1943. Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Broz Tito's Anti-Fascist Council for People's Liberation of Yugoslavia recognizes what is now Macedonia as a distinct ethnic and political entity.

1945. A standard grammar of the new Macedonian language is compiled upon instructions by the Yugoslav government. Belgrade actively promotes Macedonian nationalism.

1946. The People's Republic (later Socialist Republic) of Macedonia is included in the Federal People's Republic (later Socialist Federal Republic) of Yugoslavia and participates in socialist economic development.

1991. Yugoslavia breaks up and Macedonians vote for independence. Serbia does not interfere and Bulgaria recognizes the new republic, but Greece refuses to acknowledge it, claiming that its name, symbol, and constitution imply territorial claims to the neighboring Greek province of Macedonia. Greece imposes a trade embargo that damages the country's economy.

1993. Macedonia is admitted to the United Nations as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," until a further settlement with Greece is reached. The U.N. sends 1,000 troops (including 500 U.S. soldiers) to Macedonia to prevent the Bosnian conflict from spreading.

1995. Macedonia and Greece sign an interim accord, confirming the border and establishing diplomatic relations. Greece lifts the embargo, Macedonia agrees to remove the symbol and the articles of the constitution to which Greece objects. Negotiations continue regarding the country's name. Macedonia becomes a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, and NATO's Partnership for Peace program.

1999. NATO begins air strikes against neighboring Serbia as Serb assaults on Kosovo force ethnic Albanians to flee to Macedonia. An international peacekeeping force is dispatched to Kosovo to help ensure the safe return of Albanian refugees from Macedonia.

2000. The EU opens its market to industrial and some agricultural goods from Macedonia, as recognition of its record in the Kosovo crisis.

FUTURE TRENDS

The Macedonian government has a long way to go before EU membershipwhich will fully integrate Macedonia with the developed economies of western Europe can become a reality. However, the country has much to gain from the victory of Vojislav Kostunica at the Yugoslav presidential election in 2000 and the dismantling of the Serbian dictatorial regime. Peace in Kosovo will be particularly beneficial to the stability and, significantly, to the economy, of Macedonia. Foreign investors will be encouraged to enter the market, following the lead of the Greek investors, and, over time, traditional Yugoslavian demand for Macedonian goods and services should increase. Transit trade along the north-south corridor (connecting Serbia with Greece) and the west-east corridor (connecting Italy and Albania with Bulgaria and Turkey) should also benefit the country. Agreement may now also be reached on the Yugoslav successionthe division of the assets and liabilities of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between its former republics. Finally, the expected EU membership of neighboring Bulgaria should be of major assistance to Macedonia's future efforts to join the union as a full member.

DEPENDENCIES

Macedonia has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Economist Intelligence Unit. "Macedonia." <http://www.eiu.com>. Accessed December 2000.

Roudometof, Victor, editor. The Macedonian Question. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2000 Country Commercial Guide: Macedonia. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/index.html>. Accessed December 2000.

Valentin Hadjiyski

CAPITAL:

Skopje.

MONETARY UNIT:

Macedonian Denar (MKD). One denar equals 100 deni. There are coins of 1, 2, and 3 denars and 50 denies; there are bills of 10, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 denars.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Food, beverages, tobacco, miscellaneous manufactures, iron, steel.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, food products.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$7.6 billion (1999 estimate).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$1.317 billion (1998). Imports: US$1.715 billion (1998).

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Macedonia

Basic Data
Official Country Name: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Region: Europe
Population: 2,041,467
Language(s): Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian
Literacy Rate: NA
Academic Year: September-June
Number of Primary Schools: 1,086
Compulsory Schooling: 8 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 5.1%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 313
Libraries: 122
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 260,917
  Secondary: 83,746
  Higher: 30,754
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 99%
  Secondary: 63%
  Higher: 20%
Teachers: Primary: 13,594
  Secondary: 5,136
  Higher: 2,462
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 19:1
  Secondary: 17:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 98%
  Secondary: 62%
  Higher: 22%



History & Background

The contemporary country of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), referred to here as Macedonia, is a small, democratic nation nestled on the Balkan peninsula with Albania to the west, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Yugoslavia (Kosovo and Serbia) to the north. In terms of land mass, with 25,333 square kilometers (9,781 square miles), Macedonia is roughly the size of the American state of Vermont. Macedonia, which is a multi-party democracy, became a republic in 1991 when it broke off from the federation of states that had comprised Yugoslavia after World War II.

Macedonia (Makedonija in the slavic Macedonian language), has a population of 2,041,467 people, with a population growth rate of 0.04 percent. The country's rural population is about 38 percent. Macedonia is comprised of 66.6 percent ethnic Macedonians, 22.7 percent ethnic Albanians, 4.0 percent ethnic Turks, 2.2 percent Romanys, 2.1 percent Serbs, and 2.4 percent other minorities such as Vlachs and Bosnians. However, any census taken to date remains disputed by all parties.

The percentage of Gross National Product (GNP) that is spent on education is approximately 5.1 percent. The literacy rate in Macedonia is somewhat different for males and females, with 94 percent of males and 84 percent of females aged 10 and older with the ability to read and write.

Geographic Macedonia, to be distinguished from today's nation of Macedonia (FYROM), is the entire Balkan region stretching northwest to northeast from the Sâr mountains to the Osogoveska mountains to the Rila mountains, over to the eastern Pirin and Rhodope mountains. Across to the southwest, geographic Macedonia is cupped by the Pindus mountains, and to the south is Mount Olympus, Greece, and the Aegean Sea. There is, however, little agreement as to the precise borders of geographic Macedonia.

Macedonia has a complicated history in part because it has long been the crossroads of Eastern Europe. Ancient invaders traversed Asia Minor and Europe, first bringing the Vlachs (descendants of the Romanic Thracians) to mix with Greeks and smaller indigenous tribes. The Albanians inside Macedonia's current western border could be the descendants of the early Illyrians and possibly also the Thracians. In Classical times, Macedonia was permeated by Greek influences, although total control of Macedonia by Greece was inhibited by the harsh geographic and climatic differences between the two regions. The Turks ruled Macedonia for 500 years during the Ottoman Empire. Later, rule over Macedonia changed hands among the varied states of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece. When the Ottoman Empire fell in the early twentieth century, Macedonia came under Serbian rule.

After World War I, geographic Macedonia was divided among Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Macedonians in what had become Greek territory (Aegean Macedonia) were penalized for speaking Macedonian and many were expelled. During World War II, Yugoslavia disintegrated into civil war. Bulgaria regained portions of Vardar Macedonia, eastern Aegean Macedonia, and a small part of western Aegean Macedonia. Following WWII, Josip Broz Tito gained power in Yugoslavia and incorporated the remaining Macedonian territory into Yugoslavia. Thus, by the end of WWII, several separate republics had been incorporated into Yugoslavia; Macedonia was the southernmost of these republics.

The Yugoslav government began developing a system of quality, formal education that was similar to systems found in western Europe, but it also had some aspects similar to systems in the Soviet bloc countries, such as required courses in Marxism and National Defense. By the end of the twentieth century, conflict in Kosovo and Albanian terrorist activity heightened tensions between Macedonians and Albanians inside Macedonia.


Constitutional & Legal Foundations

The constitutional provisions relating to education are found in Macedonia's Constitution of 1994. The Constitution includes systemic laws on primary, secondary, and higher education. The provisions of the Constitution and the law have been implemented through separate by-laws and other ministerial acts executing the laws. For example, for primary school, one such act is the document defining the content and organization of primary education, adopted by the Pedagogical Council of the Republic of Macedonia. The decision of what to teach at schools is shared between lower level governmental agencies and supervisory groups in which teachers from schools and universities participate.

Article 48, clause 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia regulates the education of ethnic minorities. Members of Macedonia's various ethnic nationalities have the right to instruction in their language throughout primary and secondary education, as determined by law. In schools where education is carried out in the language of a nationality, the Macedonian language is also studied.

Macedonian is the language of education in 803 primary schools with 182,465 pupils; Albanian is in 281 primary schools with 71,490 pupils; Turkish is in 54 schools with 5,491 pupils; and Serbian is in 14 schools with 751 pupils. Recent legislation provides for the Vlach and Romany languages to be taught in schools as well.

Macedonian language instruction is also delivered in 89 secondary schools with 67,202 pupils, whereas Albanian instruction is in 18 schools with 7,218 pupils, while Turkish instruction occurs in 4 schools with 383 pupils. Recent legislation also allows for Serbian secondary schools but, due to low numbers of pupils, no such schools were opened as of 2000.

Main laws governing higher education include the Law on Vocational Education, enacted January 16, 1985, which regulates universities, colleges, and academies; and the Law on the University of March 1, 1994, which deals only with universities. The administrative structure of higher education is overseen by the Ministry of Education and Physical Culture (MEPC).


Educational SystemOverview

Macedonia's current educational system was developed during the years in which Macedonia was a member state of Yugoslavia; it is a hybrid of systems common to most of western Europe. Textbooks and other aspects of instruction that reflect the years of Soviet influence are being phased out. Education is compulsory through eighth grade. In 1994 there were 1,067 elementary schools in Macedonia, with a total of 7,175 classes. Of those, 718 were ethnic Macedonian schools, attended by 188,051 ethnic Macedonian pupils. The 279 ethnic Albanian schools taught 72,121 ethnic Albanian pupils, and the remaining 55 elementary schools were attended by 5,342 ethnic Turkish children. The teachers for these schools were composed of 8,990 ethnic Macedonians, 3,571 ethnic Albanians, and 288 ethnic Turks.

The grading system in secondary school is on a five-point scale, with 5 as "excellent." In higher education, the grading system generally used for marking is on a scale of 5 through 10, with 6 as the minimum passing mark and 5 as the lowest mark on the scale.

About 70 percent of Macedonia's population completes secondary or higher (tertiary) education. In 1994 there were 97 high schools in Macedonia, with a total of 2,296 classes. Of these, 90 were ethnic Macedonian, with 2,218 classes; 5 were ethnic Albanian, with 72 classes; and two were ethnic Turkish, with 6 classes. There were 67,975 Macedonian, 2,535 Albanian, and 186 Turkish high school students. Of the high school teachers, 4,060 were ethnic Macedonians, 148 were ethnic Albanians, and 19 were ethnic Turks.

In the Republic of Macedonia, there are two major universities: the Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje and the St. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola. Also, after years of protests by ethnic Albanians and much political and legal wrangling, a third university in Tetovo opened in 2001 for ethnic Albanian students and Albanian language instruction. While it remains a political flashpoint for ethnic conflict, it is now an accredited institution serving several thousand students. The Pedagogical Faculty trains teachers in the minority languages at all of Macedonia's universities. The two major universities employ 1,192 lecturers and 1,207 assistants. Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, which was founded in 1949, and other institutes of higher learning provide schooling for students seeking degrees of bachelor of arts and higher.

Some private schools exist at the primary and secondary levels. The University of Tetovo is the only private institution of higher education in the Republic of Macedonia, and its ability to garner state funding remains to be seen, for reasons of political strife. The new Law on Higher Education provides the possibility to establish other private and public higher education institutions and prescribes the conditions for establishing, performing, and ending their activity.


Preprimary & Primary Education

Preschool starts at age three and lasts until age five when children typically enter into kindergarten. Compulsory education in Macedonia begins at age 7 and ends at age 16. The structure of the primary school system is twofold. Children ages 7 to 11 attend lower primary school, osnovno uciliŝte. Next, they enter the basic second stage and attend the upper primary school from ages 11 to 15. Instruction from primary school onward covers the customary foundational subjects, including mathematics, literature, native language, some foreign language instruction (usually English), history, and science.

Secondary Education

Secondary school education is provided by high schools, technical and other vocational schools, and art secondary schools. Education at a Gimnazija lasts four years, from ages 15 to 19. In the second half of the fourth year, pupils are supposed to write a project (maturska tema ), defend it, and pass a written examination in their mother tongue on literature. The final examination is the Matura and, after completing and passing all of the items above, students will receive their diploma.

The technical schools (tehnicki uciliŝte ) and other vocational schools (uciliŝte za zanimanja ) train technicians for different professionsmedical, financial and others. Students who attend technical schools usually attend from ages 15 to 18, whereas students who attend vocational or art schools (umetnicko uciliŝte ) attend from ages 15 to 19. In some schools, there are programs of shorter duration (from several months to three years of training) for different occupations and crafts. Entry to higher education is on the basis of the Secondary School Diploma, the Matura, plus an entrance examination.


Higher Education

Higher education study lasts from two to six years. Courses for vocational training on a college level (viŝhe obrazovanie ) are provided and last for two years, whereas courses offered at schools ranging between four and six years are in the domain of higher education (visoko obrazovanie.


There are two major universities in the Republic of Macedonia: Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje and the St. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola. The Sts. Cyril and Methodius University consists of 23 schools, whereas the St. Clement of Ohrid University has 4 constituent schools and 2 colleges of further education. The third, and newest institution of higher learning, the controversial University of Tetovo, will educate students in two general branchesteacher education and public administration.

Three institutions in the Republic of Macedonia are devoted to scientific work: the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, and St. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola. The Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, established in 1967, is the highest scholarly institution in the country. The scientific work of the Academy is done in its two departments: the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research Center and the Energy and Computer Studies Research Center. The institutes of the university are engaged in various scholarly and research activities in the fields of the humanities, sciences, medicine, technical engineering, and agriculture. There are, in addition, 14 independent scientific and research institutions employing 207 specialists and researchers.

Higher education is provided by colleges and pedagogical academies offering two-year courses, whereas university faculties (univerzitet ) and institutes offer four to six-year courses in a range of disciplines. Upon successful completion of higher education courses at faculties/institutes, students are awarded a diploma with professional titles (e.g., engineer, lawyer, or teacher at the lower (college) level; graduate engineer, graduate lawyer, or graduate teacher at the higher (faculty/institute) level). The exact duration of studies leading to higher level diplomas depends on the type of faculty. The financing mechanisms of higher education are under revision.

The Ministry of Education and Physical Culture (MEPC) is responsible for formal recognition of studies completed and credentials awarded in foreign countries. At MEPC questions relating to the recognition of foreign credentials and studies in higher education are addressed.

A university represents the ultimate autonomous higher education, scientific and artistic institution. It is composed of schools, art schools, colleges of further education, and scientific institutes. A school represents a higher education institution conducting higher education activities, scientific research, and highly skilled labor in one or several related branches of study or expertise. Schools and art schools also engage in higher education activities in the shape of primary degree courses lasting between 4 to 6 years and postgraduate courses up to the doctorate level, as well as in scientific research and artistic work.

A college of further education represents a higher education institution conducting higher education in specific branches of study and highly skilled activity in one or several branches of expertise. Colleges of further education are engaged in providing primary degree courses lasting between two and four years, with study courses leading to higher/graduate diplomas and applied studies.

In addition to the elements of its admission policy, each university relies on provisions contained within the Directed Education Act. There are standards and criteria related to the admission of students, in coordination with its constituent schools. This also applies to preparing and publicizing the Advertised Announcement on the Admission of Students (AAAS) and other acts regulating this issue. The number of new students is determined by the MEPC through its own act, based on proposals submitted by schools and the university. Since the late 1990s, the number of students has been divided into two categories: students financed by the state and students who pay part of their tuition fee. The scope of both categories is limited with regards to every constituent school or department. These limits are also publicized within the AAAS.

The basic requirements for the admission of candidates to the schools of the university are results obtained at the entrance examination and academic achievements (covering secondary education). The ratio between these two factors amounts to 70 percent (entrance examination results) against 30 percent (marks obtained during secondary education).

As far as academic achievement throughout secondary education is concerned (carrying a maximum of 30 points), they represent the arithmetic mean of grade results obtained during all four years of education. Due to the specific natures of study courses offered by a higher education institution, it is possible to establish a separate evaluation procedure in case of relevant subjects. In order to increase quality standards related to studying, the minimum threshold of 60 obtained points has been introduced to ensure admission to higher education institutions.

Foreign students are not required to complete the entrance examination in order to be admitted to universities (except in case of the School of Architecture, the Colleges of Education, the School of Physical Culture, and the Art Schools). There are no quotas restricting their admission, and their application must be submitted during the sessions outlined within the Advertised Announcement on the Admission of Students into the first year of studies.

There are mechanisms in the higher education system to monitor and evaluate the knowledge of students through internal assessment conducted by a teacher or an examination commission. This assessment of students is based on their overall performance throughout the year and on results achieved at the examinations. Students achieving higher results in their studies are enabled to complete their education in a shorter period of time than the scheduled duration of a full-time study course and to obtain higher education for another professional profile through parallel studies.

The entrance examination consists of two components, one of them being a subject-based examination corresponding to the selected course of studies. Depending on the latter, the candidate may be given the right to choose out of two or more subjects while the other represents an examination of general education contents, including questions related to Macedonian language, literature, history, the social system, and music. These components are compulsory for each school and are based on the same program.

Postgraduate study courses are organized as specialist studies in the field of medicine, which may last up to 4 years, and as Master's degree study programs, which last 2 years. The duration of postgraduate study courses varies from one year of studies leading to a higher/graduate diploma to two years for a Master's degree.

A doctorate degree is granted upon successful defense of a scientific work. After a Master's degree has been obtained, the law on higher education sets forth the introduction of Doctorate studies, in addition to primary degree courses and postgraduate programs, as a way to obtain a Doctoral degree. The right to admission, (i.e., the registering of a Doctoral dissertation), may be granted to an individual in possession of a Master's degree or a higher/graduate diploma in medicine, provided the Doctoral candidate has publicly defended a thesis at the Master's level.


Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

The educational system and its administration of Macedonia is centralized. The funds to conduct the basic activity in primary, secondary, and higher education are provided through the budget of the Republic of Macedonia. Each higher education institution individually determines the required amount of funds in conformity with its annual program and then submits this to the Ministry of Education and Physical Culture for approval. Higher education institutions then receive one-twelfth of their allocation each month from the Ministry of Education and Physical Culture in order to implement their activity. These institutions then disburse these funds independently, based upon their internal by-laws.


Nonformal Education

There is a well-developed system of education for adults where they may complete their education and acquire special skills. Various institutions also organize a large number of courses, ranging from information science and computer science to the study of foreign languages. Special educational courses have also been organized in the fields of management and business. The Workers University (Rabutniski Univerzitet ) offers a wide variety of courses for additional education. It does not award degrees but offers special courses leading to various certifications or qualifications.

New modes of distance learning are continually being developed. Some examples of the kinds of distance learning available through the Internet include: UTOS, which is a web-based distance education system for learning, testing, and assessment in Macedonian; MATEISMathematical Electronic Interactive System, which is an education system for learning mathematics and informatics; and International Education and Resource Network, which enables students and teachers worldwide to conduct collaborative projects in Macedonian and English.


Teaching Profession

Training of primary or basic school teachers occurs at Pedagogical Academies and at Viŝe Skole. Primary teachers (Grades one through four) and subject teachers (Grades five through eight) have different training. Pre-service training lasts two years. Subject teachers may follow a four-year course at a pedagogical academy or at a university.

Training of secondary school teachers lasts four years. Secondary school teachers are university graduates; courses last four years. Both elementary and secondary school teachers are obliged to attend in-service seminars.

Within the higher education system, there is an evaluation of the teaching and associate staff by means of conducting a re-election procedure over a certain period of time. The election and re-election of teaching, teaching-research, and associate staff is conducted by means of an open competition, in compliance with existing legal solutions. Full-time professors are re-elected each sixth year until they reach the age of 60. Associate professors, assistant professors, and professors at colleges of further education are re-elected each fifth year, while senior lecturers, lecturers, and associates are subjected to re-election every third year.

The election and re-election of candidates into teaching, teaching-research, and associate posts is conducted by the Teaching Council of each college of further education (the Academic Council of each faculty) based upon the assessments of the Review Commission (Recenziona komisija ), as well as upon their own conclusions on the overall social, expert, scientific, and pedagogical achievements of the candidates. The Review Commission is established by the teaching and academic councils, and members of this Commission may be from among the teachers and research workers employed at the organization where the re-election is being conducted, as well as from among other teachers and research workers. Members of the Review Commission may not hold an academic post lower than the post for which a candidate is being selected.

Summary


Macedonia's current education system was organized during the years it was a part of the Yugoslav federation. Today, Macedonia's (FYROM's) education system is slowly being transformed and improved to satisfy the needs of its developing economic and democratic political systems. Macedonia's educational system includes educating ethnic minorities in their own languages from primary schools to universities. The system includes primary schools, which are attended for a total of 8 years; secondary schools, which are attended for 3 or 4 years; and further education and university, attended for 3 or 4 years (with the exception of medical studies).

Macedonia, like other countries, especially in the Balkans, is struggling to adapt and manage its educational institutions to promote democracy and inter-ethnic harmony. Among areas that need to be addressed include the ways textbooks discuss issues ranging from the preservation of the environment to minority issues and national identity. While it has a long way to go towards making extensive reforms, the infusion of NGOs and projects supported by organizations such as UNESCO and Soros are supporting Macedonia in its mission to improve its educational system while fostering access and diversity among schools.


Bibliography

Gorsevski, Ellen. "A Peaceful Warrior Speaks: Kiro Gligorov at the United Nations." Macedonian Review 27 (1997): 41-73.

Halpern, Joel and Kideckel. Neighbors at War: Anthropological Perspectives on Yugoslav Ethnicity, Culture, and History. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.

Human Rights Watch. "Macedonia: Human Rights Developments." Human Rights Watch World Report 2001, 11 February 2001. Available from http://www.hrw.org/wr2k1/europe/macedonia.html.

International Association of Universities (IAU), Euro Education Net. "Macedonia," 11 February 2001. Available from http://www.euroeducation.net/prof/macenco.htm.

Kajevska, Ana A. "Environmental Update from the Republic of Macedonia: Environmental Education," 11 February 2001. Available from http://www.rice.edu/armadillo/.

Kramer, William. "Macedonia: Lessons in Tolerance After Conflict," 11 February 2001. Available from http://www.soros.org/.


Ellen W. Gorsevski

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Macedonians

LOCATION: Macedonia
POPULATION: 2,050,000 [total population, of whom 65% are ethnic Macedonians, and 25% ethnic Albanians]
LANGUAGES: Macedonian and Albanian
RELIGIONS: Eastern Orthodox and Islam

INTRODUCTION

The following text attempts to delineate the cultural characteristics of the people of the Republic of Macedonia, also known as Vardar Macedonia, so-named after the principal river which originates in, and runs through practically the entire north– south length of, the country.

As a historical and geographical entity, Macedonia's name figures centrally in both European and world history from even pre-Biblical times. The region's early recorded past is inextricably connected with the names of Philip II, who ruled from 359 to 336 bc, and Alexander the Great, Philip's son, who ruled from 336 to 323 BC. Historians count Alexander among the most important and successful military conquerors of all time, insofar as his dominion stretched from central Europe to north Africa and all the way to India. Immediately following Alexander's death, in 323 bc, his territorial holdings were divided up by his most accomplished generals into four sections (with, ironically, the smallest of the four being comprised of Macedonia and Greece). Less than three centuries later, at the end of a series of wars against the emerging Roman Empire, Macedonia and the rest of the Balkan Peninsula were subdued and turned into a corridor for the Roman legions marching to the Near East.

Unaffected by the collapse of the western realm of the Roman Empire, including the city of Rome itself, Macedonia continued as part of Rome's eastern realm, or the resultant Byzantine Empire. By the end of the 6th century and throughout the 7th century ad, migrating Slavs from beyond the Carpathian Mountains began to settle in the Balkans. In the face of all the ethnic and linguistic differences, the Byzantine Empire eventually began to break down into various feudal kingdoms, and Macedonia came under the control of the Bulgarian crown. Later on, sensing that the days of Bulgaria's power were numbered, Samuil, a statesman and military leader, managed to free Macedonia and to have himself declared tsar by the Roman pope. But Samuil's state lasted only from 976 until 1018, when it was again subjugated by Byzantium and relegated to the level of a province.

During the latter half of the 14th century, the Byzantine Empire crumbled at the persistent attacks of the Ottoman Turks, and Macedonia was plunged into a lengthy struggle for the preservation of its Slavonic literacy and religious identity. This is, arguably, Macedonia's most traumatic historical period, for, though not enslaved, its population was considered and treated as raja (pronounced rah-yah), which in Turkish means "people without rights." Rather astonishingly, though challenged by numerous rebellions and insurrections, the Ottoman Empire's grip on Macedonia and all of southeastern Europe did not come to an end until as recently as the Balkan Wars, in 1912–1913. With the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest, Macedonia was unequally divided among Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania. Following World War I, the Serbian section of Macedonia became the southernmost part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes—later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia—and remained as such until 1941. The socially and economically restless climate in Europe between about 1910 and 1940 prompted, among other historically seminal events, a large-scale emigration from all over Macedonia to North and South America, with the greatest number of newcomers finding their way to such industrial cities in the north as Detroit, Gary, Buffalo, and Toronto.

At the conclusion of World War II, the Kingdom's Macedonia was transformed into one of the six autonomous Republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, whose harsh economic and political conditions during the 1960s and 1970s incited a second, large wave of emigration from Macedonia to North America and Western Europe. Not surprisingly, when during the late 1980s it became increasingly evident that socialism throughout the world was largely on its way out, Macedonians seized the initiative and on 8 September 1991 approved a referendum on their country's independence. On 17 November 1991, the voters further adopted a new constitution which, for the first time ever, turned Macedonia into a parliamentary democracy with strictly defined executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Accordingly, Macedonians are today guaranteed religious, economic, and political freedoms similar to those of Western democracies. In April 1993, the Republic of Macedonia became a member of the United Nations, and in 2008 a majority of European Union member nations offered support for Macedonia's acceptance into the EU.

LOCATION AND HOMELAND

Macedonia is situated in the south-central area of the Balkan Peninsula in Europe, and its capital city is Skopje (pronounced skop-yeh). It covers an area of roughly 25,900 sq km (10,000 sq mi) and borders with Serbia and Kosovo to the north, Albania to the west, Bulgaria to the east, and Greece to the south. Its landlocked status notwithstanding, Macedonia holds a central geopolitical position, which makes it a crossroads linking Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is thus hardly surprising that various neighboring powers have during the past 2,000 years attempted to annex either the whole or at least a part of this largely mountainous region. Since most of its territory lies between latitudes 40º and 42º north, Macedonia's climate is a transition between temperate Mediterranean and moderate continental, with maximum summer temperatures climbing up to about 38°c (100ºf), and lowest winter temperatures falling to about –23°C (–10ºF).

According to its 2002 census, the Republic of Macedonia's total population stood at about 2,023,000, with a roughly even male/female ratio. Reflective of Macedonia's Western lifestyle, the life expectancy for the average citizen is about 75 years, or 73 years for males, and 77 years for females. The country's ethnic composition includes about 1,298,000 Macedonians, 509,000 Albanians, 78,000 Turks, 54,000 Roma (or Gypsies), and 36,000 Serbs. This census did not, of course, take into account the almost 400,000 (republican) Macedonians of all ethnicities who have settled as permanent residents mainly in North America, Australia, and Western Europe. It is pertinent to note here that the preceding figure is increasing daily, for— still dealing with publicly obvious lingering difficulties in the wake of its shift from socialism to a free market economy, difficulties such as corruption on probably every social and governmental level, and underemployment for most of those who still work in federal government jobs—Macedonia is (as of this writing) experiencing a third wave of emigration.

LANGUAGE

Within the past decade, the Macedonian government has allowed the use of the Albanian language in Albanian minority-run schools, newspapers, and radio stations, especially in the north-west section of the country. Still, the prevalent and semi-official language in Macedonia is Macedonian, a distinct Indo-European language of the Slavonic family. While its modern codification occurred no earlier than 1944, the development of the Macedonian literary language dates back to the 9th century ad—the time when the educators (and brothers) Sts. Cyril and Methodius created the first Slavonic alphabet, the Glagolitic. As with most Slavonic languages, Macedonian is today written in the Cyrillic alphabet, named after Cyril but invented by St. Clement of Ohrid. As with all Western vocabularies, Macedonian is primarily a derivative of the Latin and Greek languages. Through historical and trans-cultural osmosis, the Macedonian language has also acquired thousands of Turkish, German, and, since the 1970s, even variations of American English words. Most of the last, however, are internationally recognized musical terms ("folk," "hit," "pop," "rock and roll," etc.) and expressions adopted by those who resort to a bit more urbane type of speech ("photo finish," "controversy," "polemics," "business," etc.).

Traditional Macedonian names are of two types: (1) Christian—such as, for males, Petar, Jovan, and Tomislav, or for females, Petranka, Jovanka, and Tomka; and (2) wish-based— such as, for males, Zdravko (Healthy), Stojan (Stay [Alive]), and Spase (Saved), or the female forms, Zdravka, Stojanka, and Spasija. Since World War II, many newborns have been given rather nondescript names like Zlatko (Golden), Tsveta (Blossom), and Blaga (Sweet); and since the 1960s, parents have been increasingly deciding on English-sounding names as, for example, Robert, Edvard, Meri, Suzana, etc. It is foreign (and especially English) linguistic encroachments such as these that have recently prompted many Macedonian academicians and members of parliament to call for the passage of legal measures that would protect their mother-tongue, and with it their culture itself.

FOLKLORE

Macedonia's folk wisdom comprises a number of such legendary heroes as King Marko, whose larger-than-life deeds wreaked terror in the hearts of the occupying Turks, and whose horse could leap from one mountaintop to another, and satirical figures like Clever Pejo (pronounced Pe-yo), who exposed and ridiculed the vices and abuses of local Ottoman officials and Islamic religious leaders. It is, however, aphorisms and tales that stand as Macedonia's most colorful treasure. The following several aphorisms formulate some of the more popular conceptions Macedonians have maintained for many generations: "Falsehoods have short legs"; "Children and dogs you should never trust much at all"; "Nothing is sweeter or more bitter than one's own children"; and "Begin a task, but always have its conclusion in mind."

Similarly, many (and particularly older) Macedonians frequently resort to telling folk tales and parables to emphasize some moral, didactic, or philosophical message that would likely not carry the same weight if communicated in any other manner. To illustrate, the maxim in the succeeding story encapsulates the essence of no less than existence itself: In ancient times, a tsar's daughter fell ill, but none of the royal medical personnel could help her. At last, an old healer took on the persistent problem. He fashioned for the patient a ring on whose band he wrote the axiom: "Everything that ever was has passed, and everything that ever will be will pass." One morning he took the ring to the princess, put it on her finger, and said that her illness would go away if she read aloud the ring's axiom every night right before going to bed, and every morning immediately after waking up. And, eventually, she did indeed become well again, encouraged as she was by the hope that her illness would pass as does everything else in life.

RELIGION

The predominant religion in Macedonia is Eastern Orthodoxy, one of the three principal faiths comprising Christianity as a whole. Unlike Catholicism and Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy is an association of 15 nationalistic, autocephalous churches, each governed by its own head bishop, with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople holding honorary primacy. This is why one frequently hears of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, etc. The Eastern Orthodox Church began its independent existence in 1054, when it irrevocably rejected the authority of the Roman See. Until this event, which historiansand theologians frequently refer to as the Great Schism, the nouns Catholicism and Christianity were, for all practical purposes, used interchangeably.

Since the Orthodox Church follows the Old Style (or Julian) Calendar, Macedonians normally celebrate the main holy days of Christianity several days—and, in the case of Easter, sometimes even several weeks—later than do Catholics and Protestants. For example, while both of the latter observe Christmas on December 25, Orthodox adherents celebrate it on January 7 according to the New Style (or Gregorian) Calendar. Correspondingly, New Year's Day falls on January 14. Moreover, aside from recognizing all principal Christian saints and martyrs, every nationalistic Orthodox church venerates its own, more "regional" saints and martyrs. Thus, the Macedonian Orthodox church pays homage to Sts. Cyril and Methodius; to their most important successor and founder of the Ohrid Literary School, St. Clement; his brother, Naum; and dozens of other less historically important canonized personages. Actually, Cyril and Methodius have come to be known as the "Apostles of the Slavs," which means that they are revered by Orthodox churches worldwide.

MAJOR HOLIDAYS

Aside from commemorating their national holidays, Macedonians honor the Day of the Woman, on March 8, which is in essence identical with Mother's Day in the US; the Day of the Laborer, on May 1, a remnant of the worldwide socialist observance of May Day, also referred to as the Day of the Proletariat; and the Ilinden (St. Elijah's Day) Uprising, on August 2. Whereas socialist Macedonia looked upon May 1 as a day of revolutionary rededication, punctuated by parades, demonstrations, and interminable political speeches, Macedonians today regard the same holiday as primarily a day of rest and recreation. In contrast, the Ilinden Uprising, on 2 August 1903, is widely seen as the beginning of the Macedonian national movement and, as such, the country's most noteworthy cultural and historical landmark. During this rebellion, the city of Kruševo (pronounced Khru-shevo) was liberated from Ottoman rule, and with that the first democratic republic on the Balkans was established. Ultimately, however, the Kruševo Republic lasted a mere 10 days, before Turkish armies recaptured the town and indiscriminately slaughtered a great number of its citizens alongside all of the Uprising's leaders.

Prior to Macedonia's cessation from Yugoslavia, public celebrations of religious holidays were invariably discouraged, and for the younger generation even proscribed. In keeping with Karl Marx's notion that religion of all stripes is simply "opium" of the people, dissuading the younger generation from attending church was thought of as essential, if the revolutionary spirit requisite for energizing the movement from socialism to communism was to remain vital and focused. Nowadays, following socialism's demise, Macedonia's churches tend to be filled to capacity with people of every age during Christmas, Easter, and other holidays honoring regional saints recognized by the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

RITES OF PASSAGE

Insofar as most city and many village families in Macedonia own the latest instruments for mass communication, including cellular telephones and personal computers, some of the more-recently acquired cultural values and practices seem identical to those of people in other Western nations. This is especially evident in the lifestyle of young adults, who wear the same style of clothes, listen and dance to the same music as do other Westerners, and have taken up the practice of piercing and tattooing their bodies. Still, there are two significant differences between Macedonian teenagers and their American counterparts. Though probably most Macedonians are sexually active well before getting married, childbearing out of wedlock is rare and socially frowned upon. Also, a large number of Macedonian teenagers speak rather fluently at least one other language, usually, but not only English.

Like people in so many other societies, Macedonians regard the birth of a boy as the most momentous familial event. While this tradition may be traced to the time when men were needed to work in the fields and vineyards, nowadays a male child simply continues his father's family name. Irrespective of gender, however, most babies, in accordance with the Eastern Orthodox faith, are baptized before their first birthday. A new mother is expected to stay at home and, except for her immediate relatives, receive no visitors for at least six weeks.

The ceremonies and rituals concerning death are no less important than are those concerning birth. While a deceased person's children and siblings are expected to wear dark clothes for at least a few months following his or her passing, the same individual's mother and (especially older) spouse might dress so for the rest of their lives. Memorial services are held on the ninth day, the fortieth day, six months, one year, and three years after one's death. On these anniversaries, family members go to church and/or to the deceased's graveside, and they distribute homemade bread, black olives, feta cheese, and small cups of wine to those attending. These are consumed in memory of the deceased's soul. To some of his or her surviving friends, many families also give such items as shirts, socks, and/or towels. Observing the first two anniversaries is particularly significant, since it is believed that the soul does not leave the terrestrial realm until or shortly after the fortieth day of its "release" from the body.

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS

Macedonians usually greet one another with the customary zdravo (pronounced zdrah-vo), which is a variation of the word "health," and inquire about each other's family members' well-being and their more recent undertakings and achievements. The exchange is generally friendly, and one is rarely thought of as rude for asking personal questions. On the contrary, those who do not care for this type of conversation are often characterized as cold, distant, or arrogant. Children and teenagers refer to older men as chichko (pronounced tchitch-ko) or striko, meaning "uncle," and address almost all older women as tetko or strino, meaning "aunt." Men and women show their love for their nieces and nephews, and their approval and acceptance of the children of friends and acquaintances, by occasionally giving them modest sums of money. These little gifts are usually made during visits to someone's home.

Mostly a village custom, when passing by someone or a group of people engaged in harvesting or tending a large vegetable garden, one normally exclaims, Ajrlija rabota! (pronounced ayr-li-yah rah-bo-tah), translated "May your work meet with goodness and profit!" The recipients of this greeting normally respond with: Ajr da imaš! (pronounced ayr dahihmash), or "May you, also, have goodness and profit (in your life)."

Raised with the idea that an individual's humaneness is partly revealed in the kind and number of people visiting his or her home, most Macedonians regard social calls as a sign of respect; and attending an open house on the host's name day— traditionally held by males on the feast day of the saint after whom they are named—is a great honor to any man. Major patron saints' days are so special that they are also celebrated on the communal level, with almost every village having one of its own. Accordingly, on the day of, say, St. George, the citizens of any village observing that day take off work and, usually the men, freely visit each others' homes, wherein food and drinks of all sorts are served in abundance.

Dating in Macedonia normally begins somewhere between 14 and 16 years of age. In the villages, a young adult simply "throws an eye" on his or her intended one, and, providing the "look" is reciprocated, the lovers meet informally whenever and wherever they can. In the cities, teenagers and younger adults meet either at promenades or at the remarkably large number of coffeehouses and pubs one finds on most main streets. Importantly, any prolonged dating is seen by friends and families as a manifest signal of impending marriage.

LIVING CONDITIONS

Living standards in Macedonia vary. The federal health care industry is barely adequate, which explains the sudden rise of private medical practitioners. Even so, whereas physicians are highly trained in medical theory, studying from translations of the latest books used in American and Western European medical schools, some medications and imaging instruments are in short supply. Macedonia's bloodless secession from Yugoslavia (which caused the latter to take most of the government-owned instruments back to what is now the Republic of Serbia), its unfinished move toward privatization, and the high cost of medical care have all contributed to the country's poor health conditions. Most Macedonians have come to expect that seriously ill friends or relatives would travel abroad in search of medical help, assuming such a trip is financially feasible.

Consumer goods, on the other hand—most of them imported from all over the globe—are readily available. Durable appliances such as automobiles, TVs, VCRs, refrigerators, washers, dryers, and personal computers may be found in virtually every household. Similarly, housing is no longer the major problem it used to be under socialism. Not only is it no longer difficult to find an apartment or a condominium anywhere in the country, but with the relatively easy loan terms from federal banks and remittances from abroad, many families have built villas in the country or in villages near resort areas.

FAMILY LIFE

The typical Macedonian family is nuclear in structure, with usually two children. Single-parent families are becoming more common, as divorce is on the rise even though it is still socially disapproved of, and especially so after a woman has given birth. However, the number of extended families in Macedonia is one of the highest in Europe. Taking up at least temporary residence with the husband's parents is a widespread practice for newlyweds, while accepting into the household a widowed in-law of either side is expected. The majority of older individuals live out their last years in such a familial arrangement.

The wife in any Macedonian family tends to wield an unusually strong influence. It is true that most older and some younger men still regard themselves as the "boss" of the family, but this is more of a traditional boast than fact. The wife's influence is so pervasive that a husband often takes her attitude toward individuals or families in deciding who would qualify to become his friend(s). On the domestic front, few women ask their husbands to help with any but the most uninvolved household chores. Even younger professional women insist on preserving the kitchen as their virtually undisputed domain.

Relatively few families own pets, and those that do have either a cat or a dog but rarely both at the same time.

CLOTHING

Whether city- or village-dwellers, Macedonians wear clothes of the type and quality that are similar to those in the US; in fact, a host of styles designed and manufactured in Macedonia have been sold in the West. Macedonian businesspeople wear suits, sport jackets, and dresses, skirts, or pantsuits for women. Looking respectable is important, but a small but steadily growing number of younger professionals are beginning to dress in a more casual manner.

The traditional, intricately embroidered style of dressing, varying in design from region to region, includes garments made of coarse, tightly woven wool yarn. When dressing in the national costume, men wear caps, mostly of the type that resembles the fez often worn by older Muslim men, vests, white linen shirts, a pojas (pronounced poh-yahs), that is, a wide cloth belt long enough to wind several times around one's waist, and tight-fitting pants closely resembling English riding breeches (wide around the hips and thighs but fitting snugly just below the knee). Women wear ankle-length, wide-hemmed dresses, a long and wide apron that ties just below one's chest, a white linen shirt, a pojas, and a headscarf that covers not only the head but almost the entire back of a woman's body. The predominant color in men's traditional attire is black, while in women's, red and white. Both men and women wear opinci (pronounced oh-pin-tsi), leather slippers that usually end in a hard, curved frontal tip.

FOOD

The principal as well as traditional food on the Macedonian menu is stew, a mixture of meat and vegetables cooked by simmering. To derive just the right flavor, however, this mixture must be a proper matching of the products. Th us, for example, beef is normally mixed with potatoes, pork with beans, and lamb with rice or spinach. Stews are prepared spicy, combined with roux (a cooked mixture of flour, red pepper, and fat, used as a thickening agent), and are practically always consumed with bread, which explains the surprisingly large, commercially produced variety of the latter. Other main staples are feta cheese, black olives, peppers of all types, which are usually either roasted, or stuffed, or pickled; zelnik, a flat pastry made of several layers of sheet dough, filled with cheese or leek or spinach; and its close culinary relative, burek (pronounced boo-rek). Because in most families both parents work outside the home, and children are expected to be at school by 8:00 am, supper is the most important meal of the day, often eaten less than two hours before retiring for the night.

Many city-dwellers and almost all villagers make wine and brandy legally, with most of the brandy being distilled from lees, or the sediment of wine which results from the fermentation and aging process. Both drinks are rather heavy in taste and high in alcohol content; indeed, the brandy is so strong that many people drink it boiled hot as a kind of medicine against the flu. Brandy is usually drunk at any time, but especially before a main meal or with a salad, while wine is primarily consumed during the winter months, with fried smoked kolbasi (homemade kielbasa), made mostly of pork mixed with some beef and a generous amount of leeks.

EDUCATION

Having a good education is very important to Macedonians. The literacy rate in 2002 was 96%. Parental and cultural expectations encourage higher education. An individual with only a high school diploma often has a difficult time finding a decent job.

Since its independence from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Macedonia has allowed the establishment of dozens of privately run schools, including branches of US universities. The University American College Skopje offers undergraduate programs in business administration, political science, and foreign languages, while New York University Skopje makes available programs in language and literature, international relations, and politics and European studies. Still, the country's main university is the University of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, founded in 1949, which has granted over 100,000 bachelor's degrees and over 10,000 masters and doctoral degrees.

CULTURAL HERITAGE

Folk music and dance are two of the most valued and colorful aspects of the Macedonian culture. While music has in the preceding 20 years become modernized with the use of instruments like electric guitars and synthesizers, the traditional beat and the flavor of the melody remain. The traditional music group, once heard at village weddings and other social functions, is comprised of a clarinet, or gajda (pronounced gahydah)—a bagpipe made of lambskin; a bass-sized drum, which hangs from the player's shoulder; an accordion; and a violin. The tempo of the songs and dances ranges from slow to quite fast, depending on what the singer is describing or the mood the instrumentalists wish to capture. Most Macedonian folk songs are ballads concerning everyday problems and happy events, though many also depict the people's sufferings at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Paralleling these compositions is the symbolism conveyed by a profusion of different dances, ranging from the slow teškoto (pronounced tesh-ko-to), or the "heavy" dance—performed generations ago by mournful bands of young village men on the day of their departure for foreign lands—to the exuberant sitnoto, or the "tiny-stepped dance."

Modern Macedonian literature made its appearance during the late 1800s with the poetry of the brothers Dimitar and Konstantin Miladinov, whose works are still recited by students from primary school through college. The growing literary collection grounded in the current standard of the Macedonian language marks its beginning with the 1939 publication of Kosta Racin's (pronounced Rah-tsin) programmatic collection of poems entitled Beli Mugri ( White Dawns ). While most of the distinguished 19th- and early 20th-century literary figures were poets, since World War II there has been an increase in the number of prose writers and playwrights. Compilations of Macedonian poetry and prose, including the novels and short stories of Meto Jovanovski, have been translated into dozens of foreign languages.

WORK

Macedonia has a fairly healthy manufacturing sector, but most of the currently available jobs are in the service industry. A major part of Macedonia's economy is sustained by small, family-owned businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, service garages, clothing boutiques, etc. Unemployment and under-employment are problems. In fact, underemployment is even more of a problem today than it was during socialism, as often workers at many private businesses as well as government enterprises go home at the end of the month with only a promissory note instead of a paycheck.

On the other hand, a relatively small number of teenagers or college students in Macedonia hold summer jobs. Aside from the fact that such jobs are few and thus hard to find, it is culturally accepted that after nine months of studying, every student deserves a summer of relaxation and recreation. This is why within a few days after the end of every academic year, beaches, resorts, mountain retreats, and camps of all types—and for about two weeks between semesters, ski slopes—become primarily occupied by students.

SPORTS

Unquestionably, the most popular sport played by practically all Macedonian children is soccer. Of course, the number of players, the size of the playing field, and the width of the makeshift goals—usually two stones representing the goal posts— vary from pickup game to pickup game. Games are normally played with such energy and infectious enthusiasm that they often attract small audiences of all ages. Young adults also play soccer, though basketball, tennis, table tennis, and chess are also enjoyed. In fact, basketball in Macedonia is almost as well-liked as it is in the US., while American football and baseball are scarcely known at all. In 2008, hoping to cultivate a generation of tennis players who would duplicate the success of American, Russian, and Serbian tennis players, the Macedonian government authorized the building of over 100 tennis courts throughout the country.

Professional and semi-professional soccer and basketball organizations have abounded in Macedonia ever since World War II. Not only do such teams flourish in almost every city and sizable town, but prior to the large-scale emigration of the 1960s, many villages had their own regional or inter-village soccer leagues. Since most of the soccer and basketball players are either teen-agers or in their early twenties, these sports are commonly regarded as a young person's diversion.

ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION

Macedonia boasts 15 active professional theater groups that average over 1,700 total performances per year, a Philharmonic Orchestra (founded in 1944), 6 chamber ensembles, a host of annual folk music festivals held in different cities, hundreds of amateur rock and roll bands, and at least one professional pop group, Leb i Sol (Bread and Salt), which has been performing its own compositions throughout Europe and North America for over two decades. Since gaining independence, Macedonia has also produced some promising film directors whose pictures have acquired international recognition and praise. Most notably, in 1994 the American Academy of Motion Pictures nominated the film BeforetheRain—which incorporated Macedonian dialogue and featured Macedonian actors in starring roles—for the Best Foreign Language Film Award. By then, the film had already won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival.

Every year Macedonia hosts several world-renowned cultural events, such as the Struga Poetry Evenings, begun in 1961, which has bestowed its Golden Wreath upon such eminent poets as Allen Ginsberg (US), Pablo Neruda (Chile), and Ted Hughes (UK); the Skopje International Jazz festival; and the World Cartoon Gallery. Most Macedonians also love to visit the beaches of their two favorite lakes, namely, Prespa and Ohrid, while many of the younger generation crowd the ski slopes on Mount Pelister and Mount Šar.

FOLK ART, CRAFTS, AND HOBBIES

The bulk of traditional Macedonian arts and crafts output comes from the hundreds of old-time master craftsmen's shops, normally found in the old commercial sections of larger cities such as Skopje, Bitola, and Ohrid. These sections are old literally and stylistically, in that most of the buildings and even the manner of production date back to the time of the Ottoman Empire. Serving as more than tourist attractions, these areas serve as shopping centers for the local populace. In the narrow and winding cobblestone streets of the old bazaars, one comes across an array of small goldsmith and silversmith shops selling intricate filigree rings, bracelets, and necklaces; tinsmith shops where one finds baking utensils of all sorts; stomnari, or jug-makers, who still produce glazed terra cotta vessels like jugs, urns, pitchers, cups, and bowls; and kilimari, or Oriental-style carpet shops. Villagers in Macedonia are famous for their weaving of colorful blankets, carpets, and traditional attire. However, village craft items are becoming increasingly difficult to find, since so many villagers have moved either to the city or abroad.

Aside from small establishments making jewelry and household implements, whether in bazaars or in other, more modern parts in cities and larger towns, one may step into any of the numerous slatkarnitsi (pronounced slaht-kharnitsi), or patisseries, which feature such delicacies as tulumbi (a ridge-surfaced, doughy pastry about three inches in length, ideally hollow inside, and soaked in syrup), baklava (made from layers of phyllo dough, filled with ground-up walnuts or pistachios and drenched in syrup), kataifi (thin-stranded pastry, filled with chopped nuts and served drenched in syrup), boza (a sweet, fermented drink made from wheat or millet), and salep (a similarly sweet drink made from salep flour).

SOCIAL PROBLEMS

While it was part of Yugoslavia, Macedonia had a poor human and civil rights record. Because the Communist Party was the only legally recognized political organization, any known challenge or opposition to its authority met with swift imprisonment and even torture. Today, Macedonia has over a dozen political parties of various sizes—a sharp reduction from the 64 officially registered parties that cropped up within a year after the country's declaration of independence—and political prisoners are officially nonexistent. Party leaders are calling for further reductions in the number of parties, so the number is expected to be brought down in the future.

Alcoholism and nepotism are longstanding social problems, while spouse abuse appears to be on the decline. Since the early 1990s, the divorce rate has risen. Other problems such as truancy, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, and violence in general have arisen since the country's political and economic reconstruction. Drug addiction, rare prior to the early 1990s and punished by lengthy prison sentences, has now reached epidemic proportions. Ethnic relations between the Macedonian majority and the Albanian minority have been tense, and in the 1990s there was widespread fear that violence between the two might culminate in a civil war. However, following the government's concession to the minority's demands for the right to establish their own schools and a university, relations seem to have improved somewhat.

GENDER ISSUES

The treatment and status of women in Macedonia must be divided into two different periods, the pre-socialist and the socialist/post-socialist. In the former, women fared pretty much the same way they did in any patriarchal society. The husband stood as the head of the household, while the wife served as its caretaker. Since World War II, women in Macedonia have become equal to men in many respects. They are represented in every facet of the country's economy and political structure, from the factory floor to the halls of parliament. Many women are teachers and physicians and there are few women who do not work outside the home.

Spurred by the freedoms guaranteed by Macedonia's current constitution, the same kind of recognition has within the past two decades been extended to homosexuals and transsexuals. It is true that, whether gay or lesbian, one runs into an undercurrent of social resistance, if not hostility; yet it is also true that gay meeting places are becoming less of a novelty.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Apostolski, M., et al. Istorija na Makedonskiot Narod. Skopje: Prosvetno delo, 1972.

Buckland, Theresa Jill, ed. Dancing from Past to Present: Nation, Culture, Identities. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006.

Jakimovski, L., and V. Andreev. "Macedonia." In Makedonski Iselenički Almanak '97. Skopje: Redakcijata na Ilustriranoto Spisanie "Makedonija," 1997.

Konstantinov, D. H. "Prosvetiteli na Slovenite: Kiril i Metodie." In Makedonski Iselenički Almanak '97. Skopje: Redakcijata na Ilustriranoto Spisanie "Makedonija," 1997.

Laity, Mark. Preventing War in Macedonia: Pre-emptive Diplomacy for the 21st Century. London: Royal United Services Institute, 2008.

Madgearu, Alexandru. The Wars of the Balkan Peninsula: Their Medieval Origins. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008.

Penušliski, K. "A Prolific Collector of Macedonian Folklore." Macedonian Review (1997).

Rossos, Andrew. Macedonia and the Macedonians: A History. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2008.

Tammer, P., and A. Tammer. Macedonian Folk Songs. Vallejo, CA: 1981.

Wroclawski, K. Makedonskiot Naroden Raskažuvač Dimo Stenkoski. Skopje: Institut za folklor, 1984.

—by T. Jovanovski

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Macedonia

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Macedonians

35 Bibliography

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Republika Makedonija

CAPITAL: Skopje

FLAG: The flag consists of a gold sun with eight rays on a red field.

ANTHEM: Denec Nad Makedonija (Today over Macedonia)

MONETARY UNIT: The currency in use is the denar (den). Denominations from smallest to largest are fifty deni, one denar, two denari, and five denari. us$1 = den0.02044 (or den1 = us$48.92; as of 2005), but exchange rates are likely to fluctuate.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in effect in Macedonia.

HOLIDAYS: Orthodox Christmas, 7 January; national holiday, 2 August; Day of Referendum, 8 September.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

Macedonia is a landlocked nation located in southeastern Europe. With a total area of 25,333 square kilometers (9,781 square miles), Macedonia is slightly larger than the state of Vermont. The country has a total boundary length of 748 kilometers (465 miles). Macedonia’s capital city, Skopje, is located in the northwestern part of the country.

2 Topography

The topography of Macedonia features a mountainous landscape covered with deep basins and valleys. The highest point, Golem Korab, is located in the Korab mountains along the northwestern border and has a height of 2,764 meters (9,068 feet). The lowest point is located along the Vardar River, with an elevation of 50 meters (164 feet).

The Vardar River, which passes through the center of the country, is the longest, with a length of 388 kilometers (241 miles). There are two large lakes, Lake Ohrid (348 square kilometers/134 square miles) and Lake Prespa, each shared with Albania. Macedonia suffers from a high incidence of earthquakes.

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 25,333 sq km (9,781 sq mi)

Size ranking: 145 of 194

Highest elevation: 2,764 meters (9,068 feet) at Golem Korab

Lowest elevation: 50 meters (164 feet) at the Vardar River

Land Use*

Arable land: 22%

Permanent crops: 2%

Other: 76%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 48 centimeters (19 inches)

Average temperature in January: -20°c to 0°c (-4°f to 32°f)

Average temperature in July: 20°c to 23°c (68°f to 73°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

3 Climate

Macedonia’s climate features hot summers and cold winters. The average temperature is between 20 and 23°c (68 and 73°f) in July and between -20 and 0°c (-4 and 32°f) in January. Rainfall averages 48 centimeters (19 inches) a year. Snowfalls can be heavy in winter.

4 Plants and Animals

Macedonia is home to European bison, fox, rabbit, brown bear, and deer. Ducks, turtles, frogs, raccoons, and muskrats inhabit the country’s waterways. The Macedonian pine is an ancient native species found most prominently on Mount Pelister near the southwest border.

5 Environment

Air pollution from metallurgical plants is a problem in Macedonia. Earthquakes are a natural hazard. Forest and woodland cover 35% of the nation’s land area, but as of 2003, only about 7.1% of Macedonia’s total land area was protected, including one UNESCO World Heritage Site and one Ramsar Convention Wetland of International Importance. As of 2006, the list of threatened species included nine types of mammals, nine types of birds, two types of reptiles, and four species of fish. Endangered species include the field adder, Apollo butterfly, and noble crayfish.

6 Population

The population of Macedonia was estimated at 2.04 million in 2005. The population projection for 2025 is 2.1 million. The population density in 2005 was about 80 persons per square kilometer (207 persons per square mile). Skopje, the capital, had a population of 447,000 in 2005.

7 Migration

The violence in Kosovo in 1999 forced more than 10,000 refugees to flee to Macedonia, reaching emergency levels by June as numbers swelled to 260,000 refugees. Since Macedonia did not have sufficient resources to cope with such an emergency influx of people, a joint program was established between the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration Humanitarian Evacuation Programme, under which more than 90,000 refugees were evacuated from Macedonia to 29 countries. A Humanitarian Transfer Programme was also organized to set up camps in Albania for 1,300 refugees.

The total number of migrants in 2000 was 626,000, including 484,400 refugees. The estimated net migration rate for Macedonia in 2005 was -0.7 migrants per 1,000 population.

8 Ethnic Groups

According to the 2002 census, Macedonians comprise about 64.2% of the population. Another 25.2% are ethnic Albanians, mostly living in the west, particularly the northwest. Other groups include Turks (3.9%), Roma (gypsies, 2.7%), Serbs (1.8%), and others (2.2%).

9 Languages

Macedonian is a southern Slavic tongue that was not officially recognized until 1944. It is the primary language of 66.5% of the population. Bulgarians claim it is merely a dialect of their own language. It is written in the Cyrillic alphabet with a few special characters. Albanian

is spoken by 25% of the population, Turkish by about 3.5%, and Serbian by 1.2%. Various other languages are spoken by minority groups.

10 Religions

About 66% of the population are Macedonian Orthodox, 30% are Muslim, 1% are Roman Catholic, and about 3% belong to various other faiths. Islam is commonly practiced among ethnic Albanians living primarily in the western part of the country and in the capital of Skopje. The Roman Catholic community is centered in Skopje as is a small Jewish community.

11 Transportation

A railway connects Skopje with Serbia to the north and Greece to the south. In 2004, rail trackage totaled 699 kilometers (434 miles). In 2001, there were 8,684 kilometers (5,396 miles) of highways, of which 5,540 kilometers (3,442 miles) were paved. There were 17 airports in 2004, including 10 with paved runways as of 2005. In 2003, about 201,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

12 History

Macedonia is an ancient name, historically related to Philip II of Macedon, whose son became Alexander the Great, founder of one of the great empires of the ancient world. Beginning in the fifth century ad, Slavic tribes began settling in the Balkan area and by 700 they controlled most of the Central and Peloponnesian Greek lands, including Macedonia.

Through most of the late Middle Ages, Macedonia was an area contested by the Byzantine Empire, the Bulgarian Kingdom, and the Serbian empire of Dušan the Great. Following the defeat of the Serbs at the Kosovo Field in 1389, the Turks conquered the Macedonian area over the next half-century and kept it under their control until the 1912 Balkan War.

In the second half of the 19th century, while still under the weakening rule of the Turks, Macedonia became the object of territorial claims by its Greek, Serb, and Bulgarian neighbors. In 1893, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was formed with the goal of overthrowing the Turks and establishing an independent Macedonia.

On 2 August 1903, rebels took over the town of Kruševo and proclaimed a Socialist Republic. After initial defeats of the local Turkish forces, the rebels were subdued by massive Ottoman attacks, including wholesale massacres of the population over a three-month period. In 1912, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Montenegro formed the Balkan League, and agreed on the division of Turkish Balkan territory among themselves. They declared war on Turkey in October after Turkey refused their requests.

A Country Divided The Balkan League′s quick defeat of the Turks stunned the European powers. Turkey signed a treaty in London on 30 May 1913, giving up almost all its European possessions. Internal conflicts between Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece led to a second Balkan War, which ended with the partitioning of Macedonia among those three countries.

On 1 December 1918, Prince Alexander of Serbia declared the unification of the “Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes,” a kingdom in which Macedonian nationhood had no place. Southern Macedonia belonged to Greece, while most of Macedonia was annexed to the Serbs.

During World War II (1939–45), Macedonia was occupied by Bulgaria and Albania. By the summer of 1943, Josip Tito, the leader of the Yugoslav Partisans, took over control of the Communist Party of Macedonia after winning its agreement to form a separate Macedonian republic as part of a Yugoslav federation.

After the war, Macedonia became one of the co-equal republics of the Federal Socialist Yugoslavia under the communist regime of Marshal Tito. The Macedonian language became its official language and was used as the language of instruction in schools.

A Macedonian University was established in Skopje, the capital city, and cultural, political, social, and economic institutions were developed within the framework of the Yugoslav Socialist system of self-management.

A conflict erupted between Tito and the Russian leader Joseph Stalin in 1948 and Tito was expelled from the Soviet bloc. Yugoslavia then developed its own brand of Marxist economy based on workers′ councils and self-management of enterprises and institutions, and became the leader of the nonaligned group of nations.

Being more open than the Soviet bloc to Western influences, the Yugoslav Communist regime relaxed its central controls somewhat. The 1974 constitution shifted much of the decision-making power from the federal level to the republics, further decentralizing the political process.

Rising Tensions Following Tito′s death in 1980, there was an economic crisis. Severe inflation and inability to pay the nation′s foreign debts led to tensions between the different republics. There were demands for a reorganization of the Yugoslav federation into a confederation of sovereign states.

Pressure toward individual autonomy for the regions and demand for a market economy grew stronger. These demands led to the formation of non-communist political parties. By 1990, the non-communists were able to win majorities in multiparty elections in Slovenia and Croatia. These defeats ended the era of Communist Party monopoly of power.

In the wake of developments in Slovenia and Croatia, Macedonia held its first multiparty elections in November/December 1990, with the participation of more than 20 political parties. In January 1991, the Macedonian assembly passed a declaration of sovereignty.

Independence When the dissolution of Yugoslavia took place in 1990–91, Macedonia refused to join Serbia and Montenegro and instead opted for independence on 20 November 1991. Greece refused to recognize the newly independent country and objected to the use of “Macedonia” for the name of the country, fearing unrest among Slav Macedonians in Northern Greece. Macedonia is the name of a Greek province. In April 1993, Macedonia gained membership in the United Nations, but only under the name of “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.”

Greece proclaimed a trade embargo against Macedonia in 1994. In the fall of 1995, a preliminary agreement was reached between the two nations. Greece agreed to lift its blockade and assume diplomatic relations with Macedonia, while Macedonia agreed to restrict the use of certain national symbols in its flag and currency. However, the issue of the new nation′s name was still unresolved.

Ethnic violence erupted in July 1997 in Gostivar when police sent in forces to remove the illegal Albanian, Turkish, and Macedonian flags from the town hall. Thousands of protesters had gathered in a stalemate with police. During the confrontation, police killed three ethnic Albanians and several policemen were shot. Tensions between ethnic Albanians and Macedonians in the country increased.

When full-scale fighting in the province of Kosovo broke out in early 1999 and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) responded with air strikes against Serbia, thousands of Kosovar Albanian refugees fled to Macedonia to avoid ethnic cleansing by Serbs. For a while the situation in Macedonia remained tense as the government, fearful of a spillover of the fighting into its territory, closed its frontiers to refugees. Nonetheless, the presence of NATO forces and pledges of international aid prevented a spread of the fighting and maintained stability in Macedonia.

However, in 2000, violence on the border with Kosovo increased. In February 2001, fighting broke out between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels. Many rebels were from the Kosovo Liberation Army, but there were also ethnic Albanians from within Macedonia. As fighting intensified in March, the government closed the border with Kosovo. Fears in Macedonia of the creation of a “Greater Albania,” including Kosovo and parts of Macedonia, were fueled by the separatist movement, and mass demonstrations were held in Skopje urging tougher action against the rebels. The violence continued until August 2001, when an agreement was signed granting greater recognition of ethnic Albanian rights in exchange for the rebels′ pledge to turn over weapons to the NATO peacekeeping force.

In March 2002, parliament granted an amnesty to the former rebels who turned over their weapons to the NATO peacekeepers. By September 2002, most of the 170,000 people who had fled their homes in advance of the fighting in 2001 had returned.

In November 2002, NATO announced that of the 10 countries wanting to join the organization, only 7 would accede in 2004, leaving Albania, Macedonia, and Croatia to wait until a later round of expansion. In January 2003, Albania and Macedonia agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation, especially in the economic sphere, so as to prepare their way for NATO and European Union (EU) membership. In 2004, the parliament implemented legislation that gave Albanians more autonomy in the areas where they compose the majority. In 2005, parliament passed a law allowing ethnic Albanians to fly the Albanian flag in the same areas.

13 Government

Macedonia became independent of the former Yugoslavia on 20 November 1991, having adopted its constitution on 17 November 1991. Macedonia has a single-chamber assembly (called the Sobranje) of 120 seats. A prime minister is elected by the assembly. The executive branch consists of a president, who is elected by popular voter, and a council of ministers, elected by a majority vote of all the deputies in the Sobranje. In 2001, parliament amended the constitution to include greater recognition of ethnic Albanian political, religious, and cultural rights. In 2007, the president was Branko Crvenkovski and the prime minister was Nikola Gruevski.

Macedonia′s 85 municipalities form the structure of local government. Citizens may also form neighborhood and village governing bodies.

14 Political Parties

Following the 2002 elections, party representation in the Sobranje (assembly) was as follows: the Together for Macedonia coalition (composed of 10 parties led by the Social Democratic League of Macedonia and the Liberal Democratic Party—SDSM-LDP), 40.5% (59 seats); Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian Unity (VMRO-DMPNE), 24.4% (34 seats); Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), 11.9% (16 seats); Democratic Party of Albanians (PDS), 5.2% (7 seats); Democratic Prosperity Party (PDP), 2.3% (2 seats); National-Democratic Party (NDP), 2.1% (1 seat); and the Socialist Party of Macedonia (SPM), 2.1% (1 seat). The DUI, PDS, PDP, and NDP are ethnic Albanian parties.

15 Judicial System

The judicial system is composed of three levels: municipal courts, district courts, and the supreme court. A constitutional court handles issues of constitutional interpretation, including protection of individual rights.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, the military consisted of 10,890 active personnel. The army was the largest branch of

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Branko Crvenkovski

Position: President of an emerging democracy

Took Office: 28 May 2004

Birthplace: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Birthdate: 12 October 1962

Education: Degree in computer science and automation from the School of Electrical Engineering at the St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia

Spouse: Jasmina

Children: One son, Ljupco; one daughter, Marija

Of interest:

service with about 9,760 members. The defense budget in 2005 totaled $129 million.

17 Economy

Although the poorest of the six former Yugoslav republics, Macedonia is capable of meeting its food and energy needs using its own agricultural and coal resources. Due to the shortage of fertile land in the Vardar River Valley and other valleys in the west, many Macedonians have gone to Serbia and Germany to seek employment.

In August 1992, because it resented the use of “Macedonia” as the republic′s name, Greece imposed a partial blockade on Macedonia. This blockade, combined with the United Nations sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro, cost the Macedonian economy some $2 billion by the end of 1994. Greece ended the embargo in 1995 after the European Union threatened to take legal action.

In 2005, the growth rate of GDP was 4%. While unemployment remains a problem for the nation, economic growth is expected to remain steady with improvements in the key sectors of transport and telecommunications, trade, and financial services.

18 Income

In 2005, Macedonia′s gross domestic product (GDP) was $15.6 billion, or about $7,400 per person. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 4%. The average inflation rate in 2002 was 1%. In 2003, remittances from citizens working abroad amounted to about $171 million, or about 3.7% of GDP.

19 Industry

Steel and chemical production, along with buses, textiles, food processing, tobacco, furniture, and ceramics, are important industries. The Kosovo crisis of 1999 severely disrupted the Macedonian economy, as did the ethnic Albanian armed uprising in Macedonia in 2001. Industry accounted for 32% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2004.

20 Labor

There were 855,000 persons in the labor force in 2004. In 2002, unemployment was estimated at 32%. Approximately 50% of the workforce is unionized. There is a 42-hour workweek and a minimum employment age of 15 years. The country does not have a legal national minimum wage, but in 2005 the average monthly wage was about $250. This does not provide a family with a living wage.

21 Agriculture

As of 2003, about 22% of the total land area was arable. Estimated grain production in 2004 included 358,000 tons of wheat, 150,000 tons of barley, and 146,000 tons of corn. Rye, rice, and oats are also grown in smaller quantities. Other important crops produced in 2004 included 117,000 tons of tomatoes, 199,000 tons of potatoes, 7,400 tons of sunflower seeds, and 3,700 tons of walnuts. Also in 2004, about 247,600 tons of grapes and 26,000 tons of plums were produced. Tobacco is grown throughout

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

Macedonia and is planted on 4% of the arable land. Production of tobacco was 21,104 tons in 2004.

22 Domesticated Animals

Meadows and pastures account for 25% of the total area. Livestock in 2005 consisted of 1.2 million sheep, 265,000 head of cattle, 200,000 pigs, and 3 million chickens. About 50% of cattle are for the dairy sector. Cow milk accounts for 74% of milk production and sheep milk accounts for 26%. Production in 2005 included 7,500 tons of mutton, 10,000 tons of beef, 4,000 tons of poultry, and 263,000 tons of milk.

23 Fishing

Inland fishing occurs on Lake Ohrid (Ohridsko Jezero), Lake Prespa (Prespansko Jezero), and the Vardar River. The total catch in 2003 was 1,648 tons (primarily trout and carp), all from inland

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country′s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

fishing. Macedonia has no direct access to the sea for marine fishing.

24 Forestry

About 36% of the total area consists of forests and woodlands, mostly in the eastern and southern regions. Bitola is the center for the wood products industry. Total roundwood production in 2004 was 812,000 cubic meters (28.7 million cubic feet), with 85% used as firewood.

25 Mining

Mineral production totals in 2003 included 44,092 tons of lead, 16,644 tons of zinc, 16,534 tons of copper, 10,000 kilograms (22,046 pounds) of silver, and 400 kilograms (881 pounds) of gold. Bentonite, diatomite, feldspar, lime, talc, and sand and gravel were all produced in 2003. Most of the industrial minerals produced went to Balkan countries.

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

26 Foreign Trade

In 2004, exports amounted to $1.6 billion, and imports totaled $2.7 billion. Main exports include textiles and clothing, iron and steel, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, and tobacco. Major imports include petroleum and petroleum products, road vehicles, industrial machinery, meat and meat preparations, and medical and pharmaceutical products.

The primary export partners are Serbia, Montenegro, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and the United States. Primary import partners include Greece, Germany, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, and Bulgaria.

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world′s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

Indicator Macedonia Low-income countries High-income countries United States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$6,560 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate0.4% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land80 803032
Life expectancy in years: male71 587675
female76 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people2.2 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)20 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)96.1% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people243 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people77 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)1,282 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)4.11 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country′s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

27 Energy and Power

In 2002, 5.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated, with 86.7% from conventional thermal plants and the rest from hydropower. Macedonia′s only domestic mineral fuel is coal. In 2002, the country produced 8.3 million tons of coal.

28 Social Development

The government assists the disabled, elderly, unemployed, and poor. Maternity benefits are available for nine months and women are guaranteed the right to return to work within two years after childbirth.

Although women have the same legal rights as men, the traditional cultures of both Christian and Muslim communities have limited their advancement in society. Generally women are not represented in the higher levels of professional or public life. Children, like adults, have been victims of internal conflict and ethnic violence.

Ethnic minorities, including Albanians and Turks, complain of widespread discrimination. Many Albanians do not receive Macedonian citizenship and, therefore, are without voting rights. Abuse by police of prisoners and suspects is widespread, with most cases involving Roma, ethnic Albanians, or Kosovar refugees.

29 Health

Physicians in Macedonia are adequately trained, but there is a shortage of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Patients who are seriously ill will often go abroad for medical help. In 2005, life expectancy was estimated at 73 years and the infant mortality rate was estimated at 10 per 1,000 live births. In 2004, there were approximately 200 people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). In 2003, there were an estimated 100 deaths from AIDS.

During the years of the former Yugoslav SFR, there was a chronic shortage of housing. Since independence, the ability to find housing has improved. Bank loans are now available to finance building new housing. In 2002, there were about 698,143 dwelling units supporting 564,296 households.

31 Education

Public education at the primary level is compulsory for eight years, between the ages of 7 and 15. Secondary school covers four years of general, technical, vocational, or arts studies. In 2003, about 91% of age-eligible students were enrolled in primary school and 81% of age-eligible students were enrolled in secondary school. The student-teacher ratio for primary school was about 20 to 1. The student-teacher ratio for secondary school was about 16 to 1.

At the postsecondary level, there are two universities: Bitola University and the University of Skopje. In 2003, about 27% of the adult population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. As of 2004, the literacy rate was about 96.1%, with 98.2% for men and 94.1% for women.

32 Media

In 2003, there were an estimate 271 mainline telephones and 177 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people. In 2004, there were three national television networks and one national radio station. There were also about 150 local radio and television stations registered in the country. In 2003, there were about 205 radios for every 1,000 people. In 2006, there were an estimated 243 televisions for every 1,000 people. In 2003, there were 100,000 Internet subscribers nationwide.

Newspapers in Albanian and a Turkish-language paper are available nationally and subsidized by the government, including the Albanian-language Flaka e Vlazermit (Flame of Brotherhood) and the Turkish-language Birlik. As of 2002, the leading newspapers were Nova Makedonia (circulation 25,000) and Vecer (circulation 29,200).

33 Tourism and Recreation

As a republic of the former Yugoslavia, tourism-related activities were not traditionally emphasized in Macedonia. Medieval monasteries and Orthodox churches are primary attractions. Turkish baths and bazaars can also be found. In 2000 there were about 224,000 tourist arrivals, and tourism receipts totaled $37 million. The 6,636 hotel rooms had an occupancy rate of only 15% that year.

34 Famous Macedonians

Phillip II (382–336 bc) was the father of Alexander the Great. During Philip II′s reign of 359–336 bc, he established a federal system of Greek States. Macedonian Alexander the Great (356–323 bc) founded an enormous empire that extended from Greece to northern India. Cassandar (353–297 bc) succeeded Alexander the Great and was king of Macedonia between 316 bc and 297 bc To consolidate his power, Cassandar murdered Alexander′s mother, widow, and son. Philip V (237–179 bc) warred against the Romans and tried to rebuild the kingdom.

Kiro Gligorov (1917–) was the president of Macedonia in January 1991 and was reelected in 1994. Branko Crvenkovski was made prime minister in September 1992. Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, 1910–1997) was from Skopje, Macedonia, but left at age 17 to join a convent in Calcutta, India. In 1948, Mother Teresa left the convent to found the Missionaries of Charity. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Heenan, Patrick, and Monique Lamontagne, eds. The Central & East European Handbook. Chicago: Glenlake Publishing, 2000.

Martes, Nikolaos K. The Macedonians and Their Contribution to Western Civilization. Athens: Diachronikes Ekdoseis, 2002.

Phillips, John. Macedonia: Warlords and Rebels in the Balkans. London: I. B. Tauris, 2002.

Poulton, Hugh. Who Are the Macedonians? Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000.

WEB SITES

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/eur/ci/mk/.(accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.vlada.mk/english/index_en.htm. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

World Heritage List. whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/mk. (accessed on January 15, 2007).