About Macedonia – the latest Candidate for EU membership – On 09/11 EU Commission for enlargement has posi-tively evaluate Macedonian application for EU membership, with strong recommendation to EU officials to approve officially candidate status during the EU Summit in December, 2005 Macedonia’s geographical and cultural position as bridge between East and West, as the crossroads between Christian Europe and the mystical Orient, is attested to today in its inhabitants.
It is a land located country, positioned between Serbia and Montenegro, Greece, Bulgaria and Albania, on the Balkan crossroad.
Macedonia is a small country endowed with a rich natural resource base (agriculture, mineral deposits). It is also an important crossroads for regional transport and energy systems. Macedonia is a multi-ethnic society with diversified cultures and religions; Macedonians constitute the largest ethnic group, while Albanians, Turks and Serbs belong to the important minority groups. Macedonia have 2.045.262 inhabitants, 66,5% of which are Macedonians, 25,1% Albanians, 3,5% Roma, 1,9% Serbian and other 1,8%. Country is divided into 85 Municipalities as Administrative divisions. Macedonia is led by a President elected every five years. The government is led by a Prime Minister.
Macedonia gained its independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) in 1991. The country succeeded to avoid the wars that engulfed other republics of the former SFRY. But the transition process towards democracy and market economy was nevertheless affected by serious blows during the 1990s; sanctions and trade embargo imposed by UN and Greece until 1995, massive flow of refugees from Kosovo in 1999, and the seven-months internal armed conflict in 2001. During this decade of considerable turbulence, Macedonia nevertheless achieved a gradual – although erratic – economic recovery and estab-lished a parliamentary democracy with multi-ethnic party representation.
In a rather difficult context, Macedonia has made a noteworthy contribution to regional stability. Its firm commitment towards regional cooperation under the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe and trade liber-alization (completion of regional free trade agreements, accession to WTO in April 2003), as well as the sig-nature of the EU Stabilization and Association Agreement in 2001 , have given positive signals to the whole region.
Macedonia have not been “invaded” by foreign investors yet, like in other East European countries. Based on harmonization of local legislative with actual of EU and clear determination of Government to start officially negotiation with EU for membership, it is to be expected that foreign investments will be significantly in-creased soon.