|Република Северна Македонија
Republika Severna Makedonija
Republika e Maqedonisë së Veriut
|Republic of North Macedonia|
|Official language||Macedonian (first official language) and Albanian 1|
|Form of government||Parliamentary Republic|
|Government system||parliamentary democracy|
|Head of state||President Stevo Pendarovski|
|Head of government||Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski|
|population||2,065,769 (December 31, 2013)|
|Population density||80.34 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+ 0.15% per year|
|gross domestic product||2016:|
|Human Development Index||0.748 ( 82nd ) (2016)|
|independence||September 8, 1991
(from Yugoslavia )
Denes nad Makedonija
Sot për Maqedoninë
|National holiday||August 2nd ( Ilinden Uprising of 1903) and September 8th (Independence Day)|
UTC + 1 CET
UTC + 2 CEST (March to October)
|ISO 3166||MK , MKD, 807|
Northern Macedonia ( macedonian Северна Македонија Severna Makedonija , albanian Maqedonia e Veriut ; officially Republic Northern Macedonia , macedonian Република Северна Македонија Republika Severna Makedonija , albanian Republika e Maqedonisë Së Veriut ; 2019: Republic of Macedonia ) is an internal state in Southeast Europe . It covers the northern part of the historical region of Macedonia .
North Macedonia has been a member of NATO since March 27, 2020 and has been a candidate for accession to the European Union (EU) since 2005 . North Macedonia has one of the weakest economies in Europe and is in a process of transformation , both economically and politically . The country is struggling with high unemployment rates and weak infrastructure, as well as a lack of investment.
In addition to Slavic Macedonians , who make up around 64% of the total population, there is a large minority of Albanians (25%). Smaller minorities of Turks (3.85%), Roma (2.66%), Serbs (1.78%), Bosniaks (0.84%) and Aromanians / Megleno-Romanians (0.48%) as well as other ethnic groups (1st , 04%) are available. As a result of this situation there have always been and still are ethnically motivated conflicts, especially between Macedonians and Albanians. After the civil war-like situation in 2001 and the subsequent peace treaty, the overall situation in the country has improved significantly. However, social equality for all ethnic groups has still not been achieved.
Name and international memberships
The state was founded in 1944 in the resistance as the Socialist Republic of Macedonia , was officially the southernmost republic of socialist Yugoslavia from 1946 and declared its independence as the Republic of Macedonia in 1991 . Due to the name dispute with its southern neighbor Greece , the state was often referred to internationally as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ( FYROM; English former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, abbreviated FYROM ) in order to avoid an official name. When NATO and in some other contexts, the three-letter abbreviation was FYR Macedonia used.
The agreement with the Greek government on June 12, 2018 initiated the change of the state name to Република Северна Македонија / Republika Severna Makedonija (German Republic of North Macedonia ). In return, Greece agreed not to block North Macedonia's accession negotiations with the EU and NATO any more. In a referendum on September 30, 2018, which only had an advisory function, 91% of the votes cast were in favor of NATO membership and the associated name change to "North Macedonia". The quorum of 50% was not achieved with a participation of 36%, so that the referendum remained invalid. However, since the parliaments in Skopje and Athens ratified the agreement, the renaming took effect in North Macedonia. To this end, the constitution was changed in January 2019. In the vote in the Macedonian parliament on January 11, 2019, a close two-thirds majority of 81 of the 120 votes in favor of the change. In the vote in the Greek Parliament, an absolute majority of 153 of the 300 MPs voted for the agreement with the neighboring state. The new state name came into effect on February 12, 2019.
The country has been a member of the United Nations since April 8, 1993 (until the name change registered on February 14, 2019 under the name of "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"), the CEFTA and a participating state of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe , the Council of Europe and of the Cooperation Council for Southeast Europe . North Macedonia is also a member of the World Trade Organization , the International Monetary Fund , the World Bank and NATO .
North Macedonia is a landlocked country and is centrally located on the Balkan Peninsula . It borders Serbia in the north, Bulgaria in the east, Greece in the south, Albania in the west and Kosovo in the northwest . The longest extension from north to south is 188 km, from west to east 216 km. The national border with Serbia is 62 km long, that with Bulgaria 148 km, that with Greece 246 km, that with Albania 151 km and that with Kosovo 159 km. Thus the state border is a total of 766 km long.
Only along the larger rivers and in the basin landscapes is the country relatively flat. These plateaus and lowlands make up 19.1 percent of the country's area (4,900 square kilometers). Water bodies take up 2.11 percent (551 square kilometers) of the state's surface; the rest of the country (20,262 square kilometers) consists of mountains and hills. The highest mountains are in the west of the country on the border with Albania and Kosovo. The highest peak is the Golem Korab (alb. Maja e Korabit ) with , which is also Albania's highest mountain. Around 3.8 percent of the state's area is protected by national parks. They are located in the west and southwest of the country.
The Republic of North Macedonia occupies part of the geographical region of Macedonia . She shares them mainly with Greece.
The western mountains of North Macedonia are foothills of the Dinaric Mountains , the most important mountains of the Western Balkans . The highest peaks are the 2764 m high Golem Korab on the border with Albania and the 2747 m high Titov Vrv in the Šar Planina massif (Alb. Malet e Sharrit ). Other mountains are the Jablanica Mountains in the south-west of the country , which partly form the border with Albania, the Osogovo Mountains with Bulgaria, the Galičica massif between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa and the Massif of Pelister between Lake Prespa and Bitola .
The largest plateaus and lowlands form the Ovče Pole northwest of Štip , the Pelagonia plain between Prilep and Bitola, the Skopje and Kumanovo plains and the Polog plain between Tetovo and Gostivar . In addition, the wide river valleys form further areas that can be used for agriculture.
The river Vardar rises in the Šar Planina and flows through the entire country first to the east and then to Skopje in the southeast, before it finally flows as Axiós ( Greek Αξιός ) through the Greek region of Macedonia into the Thermaic Gulf . It forms the main orientation axis of the country and has four major tributaries. The Black Drin rises from Lake Ohrid and flows through the south-western region of the country until it flows on to Albania near the city of Debar and flows into the Adriatic Sea .
In the southwest on the border with Albania, North Macedonia has about two thirds each of the Ohrid and Prespa lakes . These lakes (700 meters and ) are around 400 square kilometers in size and were created by tectonics in a geological weak zone in the earth's crust . Lake Ohrid has a maximum depth of 287 meters; it is rich in endemic species. Both lakes, the city of Ohrid and the Galičica National Park are UNESCO World Heritage Sites .
North Macedonia is located in the Blue Heart of Europe .
The climate of North Macedonia is relatively harsh in the mountainous interior. In general, it is in the transition area between the Mediterranean and the continental climate . In winter it is usually very rainy and cold, while in summer it is very little rainy and warm. The seasons autumn and spring are weak; H. the summers and winters are relatively long.
The flora and fauna of North Macedonia are characterized by many regions untouched by human hands and a rich flora and fauna . The flora in the country is represented by around 210 families , 920 genera and 3700 plant species . Of these, 3200 species belong to the flowers , 350 species to the deciduous mosses and 42 species to the ferns . A third of the country is covered by mixed forests dominated by beech , oak and chestnut . In the plains, the vegetation consists mainly of maquis and pasture areas, which are used by agriculture and animal husbandry. Cypress , walnut and fig trees grow around the larger lakes . From Mountain pines and firs thrive . And from mainly juniper bushes and plant species that have adapted to the harsh mountain climate occur.
According to WWF and the digital map of the European ecological regions of the European Environment Agency , the country's territory can be divided into four ecoregions : mixed forests of the Pindus , mixed forests of the Balkan Peninsula , mixed forests of the Rhodope Mountains and mixed forests with hard-leaved vegetation of the Aegean Sea .
The Pelister National Park near Bitola is known for the occurrence of the endemic Rumelian pine and 88 plant species, which make up 30 percent of the tree flora in North Macedonia. The pine forests of the Pelister are divided into two groups: pine forests with ferns and pine forests with junipers .
The most common deciduous trees include the Macedonian oak , sycamore maple , weeping willow , pollard willow , alder , poplar , elm and common ash . Another plant species that characterizes North Macedonia - especially in the Šar Planina and the Bistra - is the poppy . Reeds grow on pristine lake shores .
North Macedonia is rich in wildlife. The species range from bears , wild boars , badgers , wolves, and red foxes to squirrels , martens , chamois, and red deer . Red deer can be found in the region of Demir Kapija , while the rare Balkan lynx ( Lynx lynx martinoi ) live almost exclusively in the mountains in the west and north. There are only about 40 specimens left of the endangered subspecies in North Macedonia - especially in the Mavrovo National Park - and in neighboring Albania. The mountain area around Mavrovo is also home to a large population of chamois, which attract many hunters.
Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest lakes in the world and is known for its Ohrid trout , whitefish , gudgeon , roach and snakes . Similar species can only be found in Lake Baikal . The European eel, which is also represented in the lake, swims thousands of kilometers from the Sargasso Sea to the Ohrid Sea, to stay there for ten years and then return to its place of birth in the Atlantic after reaching sexual maturity.
The Šarplaninac (Alb. Deltari Ilir ) is the most famous sheepdog in the country.
Large parts of North Macedonia are in the European Green Belt .
According to the last census in 2002, North Macedonia had exactly 2,022,547 inhabitants. A new census was carried out in 2011, but it failed to collect the results for technical and political reasons.
North Macedonia has a fairly balanced age structure in its society. The beehive shape is very pronounced, which means that every age group up to the age of 59 has roughly the same proportion of the total population, although the younger people between 0 and 29 years predominate a little.
The following table illustrates the age distribution in the population according to the 2002 census.
of the population
in the population
The population density is around 78 inhabitants per square kilometer and is therefore on the same level as Greece and Croatia (see list of countries in the world ). The densest human-inhabited regions are the upper reaches of the Vardar River , i.e. the regions between Gostivar , Tetovo , Skopje , Kumanovo and Veles . Other areas that are relatively heavily populated include the plains around Struga , Ohrid , Prilep , Bitola , Štip and Strumica .
The population of North Macedonia is not homogeneous. Over nine ethnic groups live in the country. For this reason there have been conflicts between the individual ethnic groups in the past, but also today . In 2001 the country narrowly escaped civil war. The ethnic groups live largely separate from one another and have hardly any contact with one another. For example, according to official statistics, in 2011 there were 7,313 marriages between ethnic Macedonians and 4,940 between ethnic Albanians, but only 127 in which one partner belonged to the other ethnic group.
In the last census in 2002, 64.18 percent described themselves as ethnic Macedonians . In absolute numbers that was 1,297,981 people. Thus they form the majority in the country's ethnic structure. The Macedonians live mainly in the east, in the center and in the south of the country. In the west and north they are partly the minority. The majority of them belong to Orthodox Christianity, but a large minority consider themselves to be Islam. These Muslim Macedonians are also called Torbeschen .
The largest minority is the Albanian ethnic group , which lives mainly in the western half of the country and also in the north. In 2002 it represented 25.17 percent of the total population (absolute number: 509,083 people). As a result of the large emigration of this ethnic group, it is estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 Albanians live abroad. The Albanians in North Macedonia are almost without exception against , only in the southwest of the country, in the region around the city of Bitola, there are a few villages with a Tuscan population.
In addition to these two large ethnic groups, there are many other ethnic minorities that together make up just over 10 percent of the total population. The Turks also belong to these minorities . In 2002 they were the third largest ethnic group with 3.85 percent. In absolute numbers that was 77,959 people. The Turkish population is mainly distributed in the cities of the west and central North Macedonia. They form the majority in the two municipalities of Plasnica and Centar Župa .
The number of Roma in 2002 was given as 53,879. That is 2.66 percent of the country's population. Other sources report from 80,000 to 260,000 Roma in North Macedonia. According to the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, around 185,000 Roma live in North Macedonia. Because of the high level of poverty among them, the Roma also mostly live in cities, as they hope for a better life there. They only make up the majority of the population in the Šuto Orizari district of the capital Skopje . This district is the only one in the world where the Roma form a majority. The district's mayor, Elvis Bajram, is ethnic Rome.
The smaller minorities of North Macedonia include the Serbs (1.78% or 35,939), the Bosniaks (0.84% or 17,018) and the Wallachians / Aromanians (0.48% or 9695, of which around 1000 are meglenoromanians ). There are also other minorities with 1.04 percent or 20,993 people. The Slavic Muslims of North Macedonia - regardless of their Slavic idiom - belong to different groups, mostly the Turks, but to a lesser extent also the Albanians, Macedonians and, more recently, the Bosniaks.
In January 2018, Parliament passed a law that would make Albanian the second official language across the country. Albanian, with the second largest number of native speakers, is already the second official language in some municipalities; In addition, some state organs have introduced Albanian as a working language alongside Macedonian, such as parliament.
Turkish , Romani and Serbian are also spoken regionally . The Turks enjoy some minority rights and - like all ethnic groups - are allowed to set Turkish as the official language in communities in which at least 20 percent of the inhabitants belong to their ethnic group.
Many members of the Roma have adopted the language of the respective residential area.
The Orthodox Christianity and Islam dominate the area now Nordmazedoniens together for centuries. With the conquest of the region by the Sunni Ottomans , their religion also spread. The reasons for the conversion of many people to the new faith during many centuries might be different: sympathy, exemption from taxes, better position in society, careers in administration and the military, etc. One of the main reasons why mainly Albanians and Macedonians converted to Islam, was the short previously violent and cruel conquest of these areas by the Serbian King Car Dushan . Mainly these were Albanians and Macedonians who changed their faith. Many Macedonian and Macedonian-Albanian Muslims emigrated to Turkey (voluntarily or expelled) when the Ottomans withdrew; the emigration lasted until 1967. Most of the time, followers of both religions lived peacefully together. With the rise of nationalism and repeated conquest by the Serbs, in the 19th century, relations increasingly deteriorated. Since independence, nationalist attacks on churches and mosques have also increased.
At the last census in 2002, 64.8 percent of the population were Orthodox Christians , the majority of whom believed in the Macedonian Orthodox Church . The Islam was represented by 33.3 percent; the vast majority of them are Sunnis. Another 1.5 percent belonged to other religious communities, such as the Roman Catholic Church .
Today over half of the population of North Macedonia lives in cities. In 2010, according to a calculation, 59 percent of the population lived in the country's urban centers.
North Macedonia is a typical emigration country . The first major waves of emigration took place between 1912 and 1944, when Bulgarians and Turks left the region after it had been assigned to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia . After the Second World War, in the federal system of Yugoslavia, the newly founded Socialist Republic of Macedonia was the most economically backward next to Kosovo , as a result of emigration, militarization and a lack of investment in previous years. This mainly led to the fact that during the 1970s numerous guest workers (especially members of the Albanian ethnic group) emigrated to Central Europe ( Switzerland , Germany and Austria ) in order to earn their families there. After independence, families often followed their heads of family, especially in the 1990s. It is estimated that around 200,000 to 300,000 Macedonians of Albanian descent live abroad. The number of Slavic Macedonians abroad, on the other hand, is much lower.
On August 11, 2004, a new Territorial Administration Act came into force, which now subdivides the state into eight statistical regions ( Macedonian Статички региони , Albanian Rajone statistike ) and 84 municipalities (maz. Општини, Alb. Komuna ). The previous 123 municipalities were partially merged, but in the greater Skopje area the previous eight municipalities were increased to ten. Since 2013, the number of municipalities in North Macedonia has been 80.
The Macedonia question
The first uprisings against the Ottoman Empire took place in 1465, and others followed in 1565, 1689 and 1876. On March 3, 1878, the Peace of San Stefano came into force, which ended the Russo-Ottoman War . According to the agreement, the region from what is now North Macedonia to Thessaloniki fell to Bulgaria . After the Berlin Congress in 1878, however, the area fell back to the Ottoman Empire and a series of uprisings rocked many cities. The Albanians organized themselves in the Prizren League , which was founded in the same year . The Kresna-Razlog uprising was significant among the Bulgarians . At the end of the 19th century there was increasing resistance to Ottoman rule, and at the same time the neighboring nation states Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece exerted influence. The Bulgarian Macedonia-Adrianople Revolutionary Committee ( BMARK for short , IMRO since 1919 ) followed.
Since the 20th century
On August 2, 1903, the Ilinden uprising broke out, which was organized by the BMARK. In 1912 and 1913 the Balkan Wars were waged, which resulted in the end of Ottoman rule. The geographical region of Macedonia was divided between Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. In the Serbian part of Macedonia, which was renamed Vardar-Macedonia , the anti-Ottoman movement turned into an anti-Serbian one. The Ohrid Debar uprising , led by them, broke out in 1913 , and in 1934 the Yugoslav King Alexander I was murdered with their help . Albanian nationalists, for their part, called for the unification of all areas populated by Albanians ( Greater Albania ), but at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 they could not even achieve the integration of the predominantly Albanian areas into the motherland of Albania and were completely ignored in the partition plans.
During the First World War , Vardar Macedonia had been occupied by Bulgaria since the end of 1915; the Salonika Front ran along the border with Greece . Bulgaria relied on the existing structures of IMRO to fill the administration. In many places both local komitajis (partisan leaders) who had previously fought against Serbian rule and returning emigrants took on central posts in the Bulgarian civil and military administration. Between 1918 and 1941, Vardar Macedonia was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia . This led to the reactivation of the IMRO's war of terror against the Serbian state power after 1920, so that at times up to 70 percent of the Yugoslav gendarmerie were stationed in Vardar Macedonia. From 1929 to 1941, today's North Macedonia together with parts of southern Serbia formed the Vardarska banovina ( Banschaft Vardar ) administratively due to internal political disputes .
During the Second World War , the Bulgarian occupation took place again from 1941 to 1944. 1943 recognized the communist partisans of Yugoslavia (excluding representatives from Macedonia) the existence of a separate Macedonian nation and planned the establishment of a "Republic of Macedonia" in a future federal Yugoslavia. On August 2, 1944, the first meeting of the Macedonian Communists ( ASNOM ) took place in the Serbian monastery of St. Prochor Pčinjski . On the same day, the Yugoslav socialist republic of Macedonia was founded .
In 1963, an earthquake struck the city of Skopje.
Phase of democratization from 1991
In 1991 the state became independent as a result of the break-up of Yugoslavia . Bulgaria was the first country to recognize the Republic of Macedonia (officially Republic of Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia ; Macedonian Република Македонија Republika Makedonija , Albanian Republika e Maqedonisë ) under its constitutional name. Due to the name and symbol dispute with its southern neighbor Greece , the state was often referred to internationally as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ( FYROM ; English former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia , abbreviated FYROM ) in order to avoid an official name. In April 1993 the state was admitted to the United Nations . At the same time, it was implicitly recognized by most of the EC states . In 1999 the country took in thousands of Albanian refugees from Kosovo and cared for them ( Kosovo War ).
From the beginning of 2001, conditions similar to civil war occurred, especially in the north-west of the country , when Albanian guerrilla fighters occupied some villages and fought with the police and the army. Their goal was to obtain stronger minority rights . In August 2001, the Ohrid Framework Agreement was concluded, which included disarming the paramilitary groups and providing more rights for the Albanian ethnic group in North Macedonia.
In 2004 the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union came into force. In December 2005 the country was given the status of an official candidate for EU membership . The chronology of relations between North Macedonia and the EU begins in 1996 with the appointment of the first representative of North Macedonia in Brussels .
From 2006: Conservatives in government
Parliamentary elections were held on July 5, 2006. The winner was the Coalition For a Better Macedonia , which was led by the Christian Democratic VMRO-DPMNE , with around 32 percent of the votes cast . The previously ruling Social Democrats and their allies only achieved 23 percent. The alliance of the two large Albanian parties reached 12 percent. The new Prime Minister was Nikola Gruevski, chairman of VMRO-DPMNE . On March 14, 2008, the Albanian Democratic Party ( Albanian Partia Demokratieike shqiptare , PDSH for short ) , which had been co-governing until then, left the existing coalition. She justified this on the one hand with the refusal of the strongest party VMRO-DPMNE to recognize the state of Kosovo , which was proclaimed independent in February 2008 , and on the other hand with the sluggish adoption of laws to strengthen the rights of the Albanian minority. For the time being, however, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski remained in office and now led a minority government . This situation finally led to the dissolution of parliament on April 12, 2008. As a result, early elections were scheduled for June 1, 2008 . The new elections were overshadowed by outbreaks of violence that killed at least one person. In the early parliamentary elections in June 2011 , the government was confirmed for a third legislative period.
On April 3, 2008, North Macedonia attended the NATO summit in Bucharest with a delegation . The delegation hoped to be invited to join the military alliance, but this was not issued due to a veto from Greece due to the ongoing name dispute.
From 2015, North Macedonia became a focal point of the refugee crisis on the Balkan route, in the strange situation that here migrants on the Greek border are trying to leave the EU illegally and then re-enter via Hungary or Croatia. The massive migratory pressure from the Union was particularly difficult for the small country, and initially there was little support from the EU. With the escalation of the situation at the end of summer 2015, a state of emergency was declared at times, and tumult broke out. At the end of the year, a border fence based on the Hungarian model was erected, after which the number of people passing through decreased significantly. When the number of transfers was allocated after the Western Balkans Conference in February 2016 (Austrian initiative), the backlog caused riots again.
See also: Refugee crisis from 2015
State and politics
|Officials in the executive branch|
President since 1991
(with party membership before election)
|Prime Minister since 1991|
Northern Macedonia is a Republic with the system of government to a parliamentary democracy . The constitution was largely drafted by the German President of the Federal Constitutional Court and later Federal President Roman Herzog and the French President of the Constitutional Council , the former Minister of Justice Robert Badinter , and passed by the Macedonian Parliament on November 17, 1991. It has been updated several times since then: for example in 1992, to expressly state that the country does not make any territorial claims against neighboring states and does not interfere with the sovereignty rights of other states or in their internal affairs (in connection with the negotiations with Greece over the dispute over the name of the country and its international recognition) and in 2001 to establish a constitutional framework for the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement of August 13, 2001 (status of the Albanian language ).
According to the constitution, the legislature is taken over by the parliament ( Macedonian Собрание Sobranie , Albanian Kuvendi ). A maximum of 123 members are elected by direct general election for a legislative period of four years.
The government (maz. Vlada Влада; alb. Qeveria ) and the president (maz. Pretsedatel Претседател; alb. Kryetari i Shtetit ) take on executive tasks . The government is headed by the Prime Minister (maz. Pretsedatel na Vladata Претседател на Владата; alb. Kryeministri ). He goes to parliament as a candidate elected by the president, where he has to get a majority of the votes in order to form a government. The head of state is the president, who primarily has representative tasks. He is elected by the electorate for five years.
The North Macedonian party system is characterized by a double polarity: on the one hand an ethnic-national (Macedonian and Albanian) and on the other hand a political (social democratic and conservative). The conservative camp is only represented by the VMRO-DPMNE . The VMRO-DPMNE is also the only party striving for close ties to its eastern neighbor Bulgaria. The SDSM represents the social democratic camp. The largest Albanian parties (in terms of number of parliamentary seats) include the BDI , PDSH and RDK .
Domestic politics is strongly shaped by the conflict between the two largest nationalities, the Macedonians and the Albanians . In response to international pressure during the Kosovo conflict in 1999, North Macedonia took in around 380,000 refugees from Kosovo, which changed the fragile ethnic structure in the country for a while. Since the spring of 2001 the conflict intensified after the formation of a new militant Albanian organization ( Ushtria Çlirimtare Kombëtare ). Thanks to the commitment of President Boris Trajkovski , the European Union and the United States , a compromise between the ethnic groups and a disarmament of the militant Albanians could be achieved in the Ohrid Framework Agreement .
One of the main points of contention is the legal regulation on the use of the Albanian language. The Ohrid Framework Agreement , which ended the armed conflict in 2001, laid the foundations for such a legal regulation. After seven years a law was passed that established Albanian as the (second) official language in the communities in which at least 20 percent Albanians live. In addition, all parliamentary documents are translated into Albanian, but debates in parliament are still only in Macedonian. After this law initially met with widespread approval, two opposition Albanian parties demanded full equality of Albanian as the official language throughout the country in the summer of 2009 ( Switzerland is the model ).
Because of the name dispute , Greece prevented North Macedonia from accepting NATO's promise of membership in April 2008 . There was a coalition crisis and the dissolution of parliament. In the parliamentary elections on June 1, 2008 , the VMRO-DPMNE won the absolute majority of the mandates with 48 percent of the votes; it governs together with the Albanian coalition partner Democratic Union for Integration ( Albanian Bashkimi democik për integrim , BDI for short ), the 10 percent of the Votes received. The previous coalition partner of VMRO-DPMNE, the Albanian Democratic Party ( Albanian Partia democike shqiptare , PDSH for short ), which also sees itself as the Party of Albanians , went into opposition. On July 26, 2008, the parliament re-elected Nikola Gruevski as Prime Minister .
Again and again there are violent attacks and acts of sabotage on mosques and Orthodox churches on both sides. The conflict flared up in the Struga region after the carnival in the village of Vevčani saw the people moving with costumes, gestures and slogans insulting Islam and its customs in this region. On the evening of January 30, 2012, St. Nicholas Drimeni was set on fire in the ethnically mixed town of Labuništa . Some witnesses reported that ethnic Macedonians started the fire. The Muslim community responded the following day with a peaceful protest in downtown Struga, where over a thousand people took part. In addition to the mufti, the mayor of Struga municipality was also present, who condemned the offensive actions in Vevčani. In January 2012, a series of propaganda activities flared up again when migrants insulted Islam at the carnival in Vevčani . On January 31, 2012 a graffiti with the inscription "Death to the Albanians" was painted on a mosque wall in Bitola . That evening, Albanian extremists set fire to an Orthodox church in a village near Tetovo , but it was spared from burning down after Albanian villagers and the local fire brigade arrived to extinguish it.
Political crisis 2015–2017
From February 2015 the party chairman of the Social Democratic League of Macedonia (SDSM), Zoran Zaev , and his party colleagues published politically and criminally explosive content at press conferences, which discredited the government policy of the VMRO-DPMNE with its chairman and current Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski . Telephone calls between VMRO-DPMNE members in which they express themselves racially against the Albanian minority were bugged. In further revelations, the government is accused of corruption and influencing the judiciary. All information has been given to the public prosecutor, who has not yet brought any charges.
On May 9 and 10, 2015, a large number of security forces were involved in shootings in the mostly Albanian district of Lagjja e Trimave of Kumanovo . A group that initially acted anonymously against the North Macedonian security forces was described by the government as "terrorist" on the second day of the clashes. While the resident population was in absolute uncertainty about what was happening, important road connections to the city and the nearby A1 motorway were blocked or closed. The nearby Tabanovce border crossing to Serbia was temporarily closed. Several civilians were arrested, including children, the elderly and women. On May 10th the situation calmed down again; the shootings stopped and residents who had previously been evacuated from the district were allowed to return to their apartments that evening. In a report published by the Macedonian Interior Ministry Video perpetrators contact KLA in uniforms. An Albanian-language newspaper also published a "statement" by a group calling itself the UÇK. Eight police officers and 14 armed group members were killed in the fighting. 37 security guards were injured. In addition, around 30 armed “terrorists” surrendered and were arrested. Meanwhile, the Macedonian government declared state mourning for May 10th and 11th.
After mediation by EU Neighborhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn at the beginning of June 2015, the heads of the four largest parties agreed on early parliamentary elections on April 24, 2016. However, the planned elections were postponed to June 5, 2016 and finally canceled in mid-May as necessary Preparations had still not been made: Apart from the VMRO-DPMNE, no party had run for elections, making an election campaign and a fair election impossible, and election lists were still out of date.
New elections in 2016
New elections finally took place on December 11, 2016, but they did not end the political crisis in North Macedonia. There was a close head-to-head race between the two major parties. The conservative VMRO-DPNE received 38.06% of the vote and 51 parliamentary seats, the social-democratic SDSM 36.7% and thus 49 parliamentary seats. 62 seats were needed for a safe majority. The formation of a government turned out to be difficult, as there was no agreement in coalition negotiations between VMRO-DPNE and DUI. The formation of the government should be completed on January 29th. This did not happen, however, and after a 10-day period had elapsed, according to the constitution, the government formation contract had to be passed on to the runner-up. After negotiations between SDSM and BDI, the formation of a government by the former opposition became apparent. The deputies of the VMRO-DPNE tried to paralyze the parliament by persistent speeches and thus prevent the formation of a government. When Talat Xhaferi (BDI) was elected as the new President of Parliament, supporters of Nikola Gruevski stormed parliament on April 27 and attacked the members of the SDSM and BDI, and Prime Minister-designate Zoran Zaev was injured in the head. On May 31, Zoran Zaev was elected by parliament as the new head of government.
The foreign policy of North Macedonia is strongly shaped by the efforts to become a member of the European Union. However, the neighbor Greece opposed the admission of North Macedonia under the name "Republic of Macedonia". It is characterized by the pursuit of domestic political goals through foreign policy means, which is particularly a consequence of the Macedonian nation -building project that was successfully pursued after 1945 . Almost all parties use the topic of " Greater Bulgarian aspirations" and the Bulgarian occupation from 1941 to 1944 (in which the VMRO provided the administration in the region) as a means to keep the power of the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE in check.
One of the reasons was the constitution of North Macedonia: Article 49 stated that the republic would campaign for the status and rights of Macedonians in neighboring countries, including the former Macedonian ethnic groups (expatriats) . This article obliged North Macedonia to promote all Macedonians in their cultural development and to promote their ties to the old homeland. Greece interpreted this as encouraging separatism towards its Macedonian Slavs minority and feared potential territorial claims by North Macedonia. After a trade blockade by Greece, North Macedonia changed its constitution and now expressly declares that it has no territorial claims against neighboring states. Likewise, due to the trade blockade, North Macedonia changed its flag , which originally featured the sixteen- pointed star of Vergina (Vergina Sun), the symbol of the ancient Macedonian state.
In 1980 there were propaganda disputes between what was then Yugoslavia and Bulgaria about the ethnic origin of the Macedonians. Bulgaria believed that it had to defend itself propagandistically against Yugoslav claims on the Macedonian province of Bulgaria. But it was only local propaganda via radio and newspapers, which was hardly noticed internationally. In connection with these tensions, two Bulgarian anglers were shot dead by Yugoslav border guards at a border stream in 1980.
After the independence of North Macedonia on January 15, 1992, Bulgaria became the first country to recognize the “Republic of Macedonia” under its constitutional name. Bulgaria initially refused to recognize the existence of a separate Macedonian language. This led to some complications when the contract was signed between the two countries. Bulgaria argued that the Macedonian language was an artificial elevation of a Bulgarian dialect and that it was on a linguistic continuum with today's Bulgarian language . Bulgaria gives the North Macedonians the right to obtain Bulgarian citizenship provided they can prove a Bulgarian origin. Around 10 percent of those entitled have made use of this, including former Prime Minister Ljubčo Georgievski . Historically, the area of what is now the State of Macedonia, its population, its traditions and its language have been closely linked to Bulgarian history .
In 1999 the Bulgarian and North Macedonian governments settled their longstanding language dispute, which had put a heavy strain on bilateral relations. Bulgaria recognized the independence of the Macedonian language, and Macedonia in return renounced any influence on the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. In 2009, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolaj Mladenow suggested signing a friendship and neighborhood agreement between the two states. However, his proposal has not yet been taken up in Skopje. Instead, in May 2012, a Bulgarian delegation led by the Bulgarian ambassador was attacked while laying a wreath in Skopje. Because of the frosty relationship between the two countries, cross-border cooperation is not making any progress either. Bulgaria complains about Skopje's lack of communication and accuses the North Macedonian authorities of failing to implement already negotiated EU projects amounting to 6.3 million euros. The Macedonian side also repeatedly postpones the expansion of the Pan-European Transport Corridor VIII . Furthermore, official politicians, scientists and other leading Macedonian personalities speak of 200,000 members of a "Macedonian minority" living in the area around Blagoewgrad , to 750,000 throughout the country, although in the last census of 2011 only 1,654 inhabitants (less than 1% of the entire population) of Bulgaria known as Macedonians. In August 2012, the chairman of the Macedonian World Congress, Todor Petrov, stated in an interview that there was no “Macedonian minority” but a “Macedonian majority” in Bulgaria. Further he led the common historical events only to the achievement of the Macedonian people, described the existing state borders as artificial and the foundation of the Bulgarian state as Macedonian from scratch. In September of the same year the EU commissioner for enlargement Štefan Füle warned the Macedonian politicians about the increasing problems and lack of cooperation with Bulgaria. In December of the same year, the Bulgarian government withdrew support from North Macedonia due to the lack of cooperation, the Skopje 2014 project and the way it dealt with the Bulgarian minority in North Macedonia and spoke out against a specific date for starting EU accession talks. The friendship treaty with the neighboring country was signed on August 1st, 2017.
Serbia is critical of its southern neighbor because North Macedonia split off from Yugoslavia and sided with NATO in the Kosovo conflict . Because of these circumstances, North Macedonian politics is primarily designed to appease. In addition to bringing the country closer to joining the European Union , the country has established important relations with the USA . North Macedonia was involved in the Iraq war with a small contingent of troops . The US government recognized the country shortly after the US presidential elections in November 2004 under the name "Republic of Macedonia". This immediately led to a scandal in Greece and the US ambassador in Athens was summoned to the Greek Foreign Ministry. However, the EU has assured Greece that it will not follow the US example. In October 2019, a veto by France prevented accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania.
Since the independence of North Macedonia, Albania has demanded that the rights of the Albanian minority in North Macedonia be safeguarded. In Albania, on the other hand, there is a Macedonian minority in the area of Lake Prespa with a Macedonian-speaking school. The Macedonians of Albania are organized in their own political party.
North Macedonia maintains a volunteer army of around 10,000 soldiers, which can be reinforced by a further 21,000 men by mobilizing the reserve . The defense budget in 2012 was around 130 million euros. Foreign Minister Dimitrov and representatives of the NATO countries signed the accession protocol on February 6, 2019. North Macedonia became the 30th NATO member on March 27, 2020.
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The then SR Macedonia was within the SFR Yugoslavia one of the most economically backward areas with little developed industry and few raw material deposits. In 2000, 9.7% of the gross domestic product (GDP) was still generated in agriculture and 31.6% in industry. The unemployment rate , which was around 28% in 2014, fell to 24.62% by January 2016. According to estimates, the country's gross domestic product was around 8.9 billion euros in 2015, and the gross domestic product per capita around 4270 euros. In 2016, inflation was −0.2%. For 2017, 1.7% is assumed. In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, North Macedonia ranks 67th out of 138 countries (as of 2016). In 2017, the country ranks 31st out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .
The country suffered from the typical problems of a post-socialist state, e.g. B. a pronounced corruption, an overly large number of officials and the inefficiency of industrial operations as well as the economic blockade by Greece. According to the EU Commission in its 2009 progress report, these problems have been resolved by the reform policy.
Although North Macedonia gained its independence after the break-up of Yugoslavia - unlike most other republics - without armed conflicts, it now ranks behind countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania (as of 2018) in the Human Development Index (HDI ).
The unemployment rate is given as 23.7% in 2017 and is therefore very high. For young people it was even 46.9%. High unemployment is one of the main economic problems. The trade deficit is high, with imports exceeding exports by over 70%. The balance of trade deficit is largely offset by transfer payments from Albanians and Macedonians living abroad.
The largest direct investor in the country is Greece, followed by the Republic of Cyprus and Bulgaria. In the process of privatization , the largest and most profitable companies in the country have already been sold. What remained are numerous unprofitable companies and restructuring cases. In order to attract foreign investors nonetheless, North Macedonia introduced a so-called flat tax on January 1, 2007 based on the Slovak model. The tax rate for natural persons and corporations is a uniform 12% and will be reduced to 10% from 2008. Reinvested (i.e. retained) profits are not taxed at all.
Important export products are food, beverages (especially wine ) and tobacco as well as iron and steel. The most important target countries are Serbia (31.4%), Germany (19.9%), Greece (8.9%) and Croatia (6.9%). The largest share of imports to North Macedonia have Greece (15.4%), Germany (13.1%), Serbia (10.4%), Slovenia (8.6%) and Bulgaria (8.1%).
The 2016 state budget provides for revenues of EUR 2.889 billion and expenditures of EUR 3.199 billion. The deficit would then amount to EUR 309 million or 3.2% of the gross domestic product expected for 2016.
In 2016, the national debt was $ 4.0 billion, or 36.7% of GDP.
In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
The largest electricity producer in North Macedonia is Elem AD . The two coal-fired power plants in Bitola and Oslomej, with their capacities of 675 and 125 megawatts, cover around 80% of the electricity generation, 16% is accounted for by the hydropower plants in Raven, Vrutok, Kozjak, Vrben, Spilje, Globocica and Tikves with a combined capacity of 530 megawatts . The Negotino oil power plant with an output of 210 megawatts is also used during peak consumption times.
The main traffic axis is the wide Vardar valley running in the southeast-northwest direction with the main railway line of the state railway company Makedonski Železnici (MŽ), which runs from Tabanovce on the Serbian border via Skopje to Gevgelija on the Greek border. Three non-electrified lines branch off from this main artery. The length of the standard-gauge railway network is 925 km, plus two small narrow-gauge railways .
In 2014, the entire road network covered around 14,182 km, of which 9633 km were paved.
In road traffic, the main rivers run along the Vardar. The M-1 motorway that runs here connects the capital Skopje with Belgrade and the Greek port of Thessaloniki . The M-4 is the new city bypass from Skopje and then leads west (Tetovo) and south to Gostivar, via which NATO supplies went to Kosovo.
At the time of the trade embargo by Greece and during the Kosovo conflict , there were restrictions in transit traffic . Although this made the dependence on the neighbors in the north and south visible, the expansion of east-west connections with Albania and Bulgaria is only progressing slowly.
In North Macedonia there are considerable differences between many parts of the country. This is mainly due to the different ethnic groups, each of which "lives" its own culture and forms independent cultural areas. Religion also plays a role, as the country is shaped by Orthodox Christianity and Islam. But in many places there is a kind of “symbiosis” where cultures have mixed in part or influenced others. These areas are mainly located where the population is ethnically heterogeneous.
For this reason, North Macedonia can be divided into the following cultural areas: ethnic Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Romani, Serbian, Bosniak and Wallachian. In the following, however, only the ethnic Macedonian culture will be discussed for the most part, for the others see Albanian , Roma , Serbian and Romanian (Wallachian) culture .
The Macedonian cuisine, which is part of the Balkan cuisine, is based on the grains grown in the high and river plains, especially wheat and maize , in the southeast of the country also on rice . Like the kitchens of other countries on the Balkan Peninsula , Macedonian cuisine has been exposed to oriental and Mediterranean influences for centuries .
In animal husbandry , cattle, sheep and pigs play the most important roles, there are also goats and game. The most important types of fruit are apple, pear, cherry, melon, apricot, peach, fig, watermelon and plum. Chestnuts, almond trees, walnuts, hazelnuts and especially grapes grow here.
Due to the not always best vegetative and climatic conditions, heat-resistant and not much water-consuming vegetables grow in the country, for example potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, garlic, spinach or peas. In many home gardens, but also in farms, other varieties are cultivated that need more water and sun protection, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and aubergines.
Meat is a popular side dish in many dishes. Dishes with beef, veal, lamb, pork and regional fish are often found. Sunflower oil and butter (especially in high altitudes) dominate as edible fat, in the regions in the southwest and south olive oil is often used. The most popular spices include salt, black pepper , sugar, vegeta , rosemary, parsley and, depending on the region, basil, marjoram and coriander. Caraway seeds, dill and chili powder can also be found in North Macedonia.
Stews and vegetable dishes
- Pasulj , pilaf , Gjuveč , stews of potatoes, sauerkraut or green beans, stuffed peppers , stuffed cabbage , Dolma , moussaka , polenta , bulgur
- Boza , Rakija , Sahlep , Ayran , Skopsko pivo , beer from Skopje, different wines (see viticulture in North Macedonia )
Besides soccer, handball is the most important team sport in the country. The EHF Champions League was won by two teams from Skopje, in the women in 2002 by Kometal Gjorče Petrov Skopje and in the men in 2017 and 2019 by RK Vardar Skopje . The European Women's Handball Championship took place in North Macedonia in 2008 . The venues were Skopje and Ohrid. The North Macedonian national women's handball team reached seventh place.
Northern Macedonia has been taking at the 1996 Summer Olympics , and since 1998 at the Winter Games regularly participate. So far, a bronze medal has been won - at the 2000 Summer Games in the wrestling discipline by Mogamed Ibragimov .
The official holidays in 2015 are as follows:
- January 1st: New Year celebrations
- January 6: the day before Christmas (only for Orthodox)
- January 7th: (Orthodox) Christmas
- January 19: Theophany (only for Orthodox)
- January 27: Memorial Day for Sava of Serbia (only for Serbs)
- April 6: Easter (only for Catholics)
- International Roma Day ( Roma only) April 8:
- April 10: Good Friday (only for Orthodox)
- April 13: (Orthodox) Easter
- May 1st: Labor Day
- May 23: National Aromanian Day (only for Aromanians)
- May 24th: "Day of the Slavic Pedagogues" by St. Cyril and Method
- May 25th: day off after St. Kyrill and Method
- May 29: Pentecost (only for Orthodox)
- July 17th: Feast of the breaking of the fast
- August 2nd: Republic Day
- August 3: rest day after Republic Day
- August 28: Assumption of Mary (only for Orthodox)
- September 8: Independence Day
- September 23: Yom Kippur (only for Jews)
- September 24: Islamic Festival of Sacrifice (only for Muslims)
- September 28: International Bosniak Day (for Bosniaks only)
- October 11: Popular Uprising Day
- October 12: rest day after the day of the popular uprising
- October 23: Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle Day
- November 1st: All Saints' Day (only for Catholics)
- November 22: Albanian Alphabet Day (for Albanians only)
- December 8th: Day of St. Clement of Ohrid
- December 21: Turkish Classes Day (only for Turks)
- December 25th: (Catholic) Christmas (only for Catholics)
Until 1944, the Slavic dialects in what is now North Macedonia were classified as Bulgarian dialects. The legacy of the brothers Dimitar Miladinov (1810–1862) and Konstantin Miladinov (1830–1862), who were influenced by European Romanticism and who have made a contribution to the collection of oral tradition and folklore in the region of Macedonia in the dialect of their native Struga , is therefore occupied by both Bulgarian and Macedonian literature. The Slavophile Brothers, by working to appoint Slavic bishops, made enemies of both the Greek Orthodox bishops and the Ottoman administration and died in prison in Istanbul. The Poetry Evenings in Struga, at the birthplace of the Miladinov brothers, are among the oldest and largest of their kind in the world.
It was not until the 1940s that Macedonian was standardized and fixed on the basis of the country's western dialects. Gane Todorovski (1929–2010) has published volumes of poetry and literary studies since 1951. Works by Vlada Urošević (* 1934) ( Meine Cousin Emilia , Ger. 2013) have become internationally known and have been translated into many languages after 1990 . Savo Kostadinovski (* 1950) wrote numerous books for young people . The younger authors who were active after 1990 include the Romanian-born narrator Ermis Lafazanovski (* 1961), Lidija Dimkovska (* 1971) and Nikola Madzirov (* 1973) and Verica Tričković , who has lived in Germany since 1999 , who publishes poetry and stories. Petre M. Andreevski (1934–2006) wrote Pirej (1980; Eng . “Quecke”, 2017), a stylistically situated novel between realism, symbolism and postmodernism about rural North Macedonia during the wars at the beginning of the 20th century. The title is supposed to symbolize the tenacity and stoicism of the Macedonian people. A number of North Macedonian authors such as Kim Mehmeti (* 1955) also write in Albanian.
An anthology of texts in Macedonian and Albanian edited by Blagoja Risteski Platnar (1949–2004) in 2001 (“The House at the End of the Village: Contemporary Tales from Macedonia”) offers only a minimal selection of the works of five authors.
The public service broadcaster of North Macedonia, Makedonska Radio-Televizija (MRT for short), operates two television channels (MRT1 as the main channel and MRT2 for the ethnic minorities of Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Roma, Aromanians and Bosniaks) as well as a few radio stations. Radio Skopje (founded in 1944) is the most important among them. Radio 2 broadcasts folk music and other entertainment programs. Radio 3 is used by the ethnic minorities.
The Macedonian Information Agency is the country's public news agency.
Macedonian-language daily newspapers are Dnevnik , Nova Makedonija (founded 1944), Utrinski Vesnik , Vreme and Večer (state-owned). Important Albanian-language daily newspapers are Fakti , Koha and Lajm . Other newspapers are listed under List of Macedonian Newspapers .
In 2014, Freedom House rated press freedom in North Macedonia as "partially free" and gave it one of the last ranks in Europe.
In 2016, 69.2% of the population used the internet.
In the 2017 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , North Macedonia was ranked 111th out of 180 countries.
The films Before the Rain (1994) by Milčo Mančevski , The Day when Stalin's Pants Disappeared (2004) by Ivo Trajkov and Land of Honey (2019) by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov achieved international fame .
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