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State

Capital

Macedonia

Skopje

Makedonia

Currency unit

Denar

Connections

Albania

Borders

Bulgaria

Greece

Orthodox

War

Yugoslavia

YugoslaviaMap

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

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 Climate

History

One of the constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia.

There are ethnic disputes between the majority Macedonians and a large minority (500,000 = 25%) of Albanians. There are also Turks, Vlachs (Romanians) and Gypsies.

Bulgarians regard Macedonians as Bulgarians; Serbs regard them as Serbs (from 1918 until 1939 it was known as Southern Serbia; in 1942 it was Western Bulgaria). Linguists regard all three as varieties of the same language, analogous with Scandinavian. A Macedonian nationalist party, now influential in government, would like to incorporate western Bulgaria and parts of Greece into Macedonia. They are unlikely to achieve any of their plans but may succeed in antagonizing all their neighbors.

After Yugoslavia broke up Macedonia came under pressure from Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. If it is annexed by Serbia the Macedonians would probably feel like a discriminated against minority and Bulgarian interest would be aroused.

It will be the hope of the great powers (Organisation on Security and Cooperation in Europe and European Union) to prevent conflict resuming as it did in the early years of the 20th century during the two Balkan wars of 1903 and 1911.

The formation of an alliance between Greece's enemy Turkey and an independent Macedonia is a possibility which would create new hatreds in an area already having an over-supply. However, in recent years one of the most hopeful developments is a rapprochement between Greece and Turkey and a lessening of hostility between them.

Greece claims that the Macedonians have no right to their name, as Macedonia is the name of a Greek province and was once, in the time of Alexander the Great's father Philip, the name of a Greek kingdom. There are some Slavs in Greek Macedonia whose rights are discriminated against. Greece was allowed to join the European Community to defuse some of these problems but has tried to prevent recognition of the republic as independent and wants it to change its name to something like Slav Macedonia or Skopje. As a result the European Union failed to recognize its independence until March 1993. (But this may have delayed the war, as the Bosnian war only began when the EC recognized its independence). This kind of problem seems anachronistic to most Europeans. It was finally recognized under the cumbersome name of "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)" which the Greeks still objected to but failed to veto. Everyone will now hope peace can be maintained, but with not a lot of optimism. Local reporters predict that a war here would be very dirty indeed.

The war in Kosovo affected Macedonia also as guerrillas from Kosovo fought in the western Albanian majority areas. There are fears of a civil war between the Slavic majority and the large Albanian minority. This war seemed to be about to begin in 2001 when Albanian fighters from Kosovo occupied some villages in the border area. A European intervention force may have prevented this war from taking a grip but the situation remains uncertain. However, a coalition government including both Slavs and Albanians seems to be successful.

Languages

Macedonian 67%

(a transition language between Serbian and Bulgarian)

 

Albanian 19.8%

Serbian 2.3%

Turkish

Vlach

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Politics

Elections November 1990 took place under a multi-party system.

A non-communist coalition government was formed in which the nationalist party was the largest component. Albanians gained a significant part of the vote and support the government, whose main promise was independence from the former Yugoslavia.

The coalition between moderate Slavs and moderate Albanians continues - but for how long if a guerrilla war breaks out?

By September 2005 the signs are that the conflict is over.

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Economics

One of the poorer republics of Yugoslavia. It will be very poor indeed without Slovenia and Croatia's contribution to Yugoslavia's national income. As the Yugoslav economy has collapsed it is hard to see what economic future this republic has, even if peace should be achieved. Its economy is damaged by Greece, which, contrary to the EU rules closed its borders, over the name and continues acts of hostility. Possibly the ending of the wars with Serbia and Kossovo may help revive the economy but the incipient civil war with the the Albanian minority continues to hamper the potential for progress.

One possibility is a new transport corridor from the Black Sea to the Mediterraniean, including an oil pipeline and a railway. This would require cooperation with Bulgaria and Albania.

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Green/Ecology

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Climate effects

Last revised 23/07/12


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