Macedonia

 

Macedonia gained its independence peacefully from Yugoslavia in 1991, but Greece’s objection to the new state’s use of what it considered a Hellenic name and symbols delayed international recognition, which occurred under the provisional designation of “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” In 1995, Greece lifted a 20-month trade embargo and the two countries agreed to normalize relations. The United States began referring to Macedonia by its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia, in 2004 and negotiations continue between Greece and Macedonia to resolve the name issue.

 

Some ethnic Albanians, angered by perceived political and economic inequities, launched an insurgency in 2001 that eventually won the support of the majority of Macedonia’s Albanian population and led to the internationally-brokered Framework Agreement, which ended the fighting by establishing a set of new laws enhancing the rights of minorities. Fully implementing the Framework Agreement and stimulating economic growth and development continue to be challenges for Macedonia, although progress has been made on both fronts over the past several years.

 

Geography:
Location: South-eastern Europe, north of Greece
Geographic coordinates: 41 50 N, 22 00 E
People:
Population: 2,082,370 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 18.5% (male 198,643/female 184,775)

15-64 years: 70% (male 733,601/female 720,103)

65 years and over: 11.6% (male 103,620/female 136,586) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Macedonia

conventional short form: Macedonia

local long form: RepublikaMakedonija

local short form: Makedonija

note: the provisional designation used by the UN, EU, and NATO is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

former: People’s Republic of Macedonia, Socialist Republic of Macedonia

Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Skopje

geographic coordinates: 42 00 N, 21 26 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 413,100 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 2.153 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 14 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 10

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

under 914 m: 8 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM): Joint Operational Command, with subordinate Air Wing (Makedonsko Voeno Vozduhoplovstvo, MVV); Logistic Support Command; Training Command (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2008 (2011)

Economy:

At independence in September 1991, Macedonia was the least developed of the Yugoslav republics, producing a mere 5% of the total federal output of goods and services. The collapse of Yugoslavia ended transfer payments from the central government and eliminated advantages from inclusion in a de facto free trade area. An absence of infrastructure, UN sanctions on the downsized Yugoslavia, and a Greek economic embargo over a dispute about the country’s constitutional name and flag hindered economic growth until 1996.

 

GDP subsequently rose each year through 2000. In 2001, during a civil conflict, the economy shrank 4.5% because of decreased trade, intermittent border closures, increased deficit spending on security needs, and investor uncertainty. Growth barely recovered in 2002 to 0.9%, then averaged 4% per year during 2003-07, expanding to 5.1% in 2007. Macedonia has maintained macroeconomic stability with low inflation, but it has so far lagged the region in attracting foreign investment and creating jobs, despite making extensive fiscal and business sector reforms. Official unemployment remains high at nearly 35%, but may be overstated based on the existence of an extensive gray market, estimated to be more than 20 percent of GDP, that is not captured by official statistics.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: ethnic Albanians in Kosovo object to demarcation of the boundary with Serbia in accordance with the 2000 Macedonia-Serbia and Montenegro delimitation agreement; Greece continues to reject the use of the name Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDPs: fewer than 1,000 (ethnic conflict in 2001) (2007)