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Macedonia vs. Albania

Introduction

MacedoniaAlbania
BackgroundMacedonia gained its independence peacefully from Yugoslavia in 1991. Greek objection to Macedonia’s name, insisting it implies territorial pretensions to the northern Greek province of the same name, and democratic backsliding have stalled the country’s movement toward Euro-Atlantic integration. Immediately after Macedonia declared independence, Greece sought to block Macedonian efforts to gain UN membership if the name “Macedonia” was used. Macedonia was eventually admitted to the UN in 1993 as “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” and at the same time it agreed to UN-sponsored negotiations on the name dispute. In 1995, Greece lifted a 20-month trade embargo and the two countries agreed to normalize relations, but the issue of the name remained unresolved and negotiations for a solution are ongoing. Since 2004, the US and over 130 other nations have recognized Macedonia by its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia. Ethnic Albanian grievances over perceived political and economic inequities escalated into an insurgency in 2001 that eventually led to the internationally brokered Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA), which ended the fighting and established guidelines for constitutional amendments and the creation of new laws that enhanced the rights of minorities. Relations between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians remain fragile, however.
Macedonia has been engulfed in a political crisis that began after the 2014 legislative and presidential election, and which escalated in 2015 when the opposition party began releasing wiretap content that it alleged showed widespread government corruption. Although Macedonia became an EU candidate in 2005, the country still faces challenges, including overcoming the political crisis, fully implementing the OFA, resolving the outstanding name dispute with Greece, improving relations with Bulgaria, halting democratic backsliding, and stimulating economic growth and development. At the 2008 NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania, the Allies agreed that Macedonia would be invited to join the Alliance as soon as a mutually acceptable resolution to the name dispute was reached with Greece.
Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939 and occupied by Germany in 1943. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents.
Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. Most of Albania's post-communist elections were marred by claims of electoral fraud; however, international observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and in June 2014 became a candidate for EU accession. Albania in November 2016 received a European Commission recommendation to open EU accession negotiations conditioned upon implementation of a judicial reform package passed earlier the same year. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, it has slowed, and the country is still one of the poorest in Europe. A large informal economy and a weak energy and transportation infrastructure remain obstacles.

Geography

MacedoniaAlbania
LocationSoutheastern Europe, north of Greece
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece to the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
Geographic coordinates41 50 N, 22 00 E
41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Europe
Areatotal: 25,713 sq km
land: 25,433 sq km
water: 280 sq km
total: 28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly larger than Vermont
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundariestotal: 838 km
border countries (5): Albania 181 km, Bulgaria 162 km, Greece 234 km, Kosovo 160 km, Serbia 101 km
total: 691 km
border countries (4): Greece 212 km, Kosovo 112 km, Macedonia 181 km, Montenegro 186 km
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
362 km
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climatewarm, dry summers and autumns; relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall
mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Terrainmountainous with deep basins and valleys; three large lakes, each divided by a frontier line; country bisected by the Vardar River
mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 741 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Vardar River 50 m
highest point: Golem Korab (Maja e Korabit) 2,764 m
mean elevation: 708 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m
Natural resourceslow-grade iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, manganese, nickel, tungsten, gold, silver, asbestos, gypsum, timber, arable land
petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 44.3%
arable land 16.4%; permanent crops 1.4%; permanent pasture 26.5%
forest: 39.8%
other: 15.9% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 43.8%
arable land 22.7%; permanent crops 2.7%; permanent pasture 18.4%
forest: 28.3%
other: 27.9% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land1,280 sq km (2012)
3,310 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardshigh seismic risks
destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issuesair pollution from metallurgical plants
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelandlocked; major transportation corridor from Western and Central Europe to Aegean Sea and Southern Europe to Western Europe
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
Population distributiona fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations
a fairly even distribution, with somewhat higher concentrations of people in the western and central parts of the country

Demographics

MacedoniaAlbania
Population2,100,025 (July 2016 est.)
3,038,594 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 17.27% (male 187,752/female 174,935)
15-24 years: 13.69% (male 148,340/female 139,195)
25-54 years: 43.65% (male 465,622/female 451,028)
55-64 years: 12.3% (male 126,548/female 131,749)
65 years and over: 13.09% (male 117,787/female 157,069) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 18.37% (male 295,022/female 263,141)
15-24 years: 18.09% (male 284,201/female 265,530)
25-54 years: 40.73% (male 589,707/female 648,021)
55-64 years: 11.23% (male 168,500/female 172,587)
65 years and over: 11.58% (male 165,076/female 186,809) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 37.5 years
male: 36.4 years
female: 38.6 years (2016 est.)
total: 32.5 years
male: 31.2 years
female: 33.8 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate0.18% (2016 est.)
0.31% (2016 est.)
Birth rate11.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
13.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate9.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
6.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-3.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 7.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 12.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 76.2 years
male: 73.6 years
female: 79 years (2016 est.)
total population: 78.3 years
male: 75.7 years
female: 81.2 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.6 children born/woman (2016 est.)
1.51 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.01% (2013 est.)
0.04% (2013 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Macedonian(s)
adjective: Macedonian
noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian
Ethnic groupsMacedonian 64.2%, Albanian 25.2%, Turkish 3.9%, Romani 2.7%, Serb 1.8%, other 2.2% (2002 est.)
note: Romani populations are usually underestimated in official statistics and may represent 6.5–13% of Macedonia’s population
Albanian 82.6%, Greek 0.9%, other 1% (including Vlach, Romani, Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Egyptian), unspecified 15.5% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS200 (2013 est.)
NA
ReligionsMacedonian Orthodox 64.8%, Muslim 33.3%, other Christian 0.4%, other and unspecified 1.5% (2002 est.)
Muslim 56.7%, Roman Catholic 10%, Orthodox 6.8%, atheist 2.5%, Bektashi (a Sufi order) 2.1%, other 5.7%, unspecified 16.2%
note: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 100 (2013 est.)
NA
LanguagesMacedonian (official) 66.5%, Albanian 25.1%, Turkish 3.5%, Romani 1.9%, Serbian 1.2%, other 1.8% (2002 est.)
note: minority languages are co-official with Macedonian in municipalities whre they are spoken by at least 20% of the population; Albanian is co-official in Tetovo, Brvenica, Vrapciste, and other municipalities; Turkish is co-official in Centar Zupa and Plasnica; Romani is co-official in Suto Orizari; Aromanian is co-official in Drusevo; Serbian is co-official in Cucer Sandevo
Albanian 98.8% (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek 0.5%, other 0.6% (including Macedonian, Romani, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.8%
male: 98.8%
female: 96.8% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.6%
male: 98.4%
female: 96.9% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2014)
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2015)
Urbanizationurban population: 57.1% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.11% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 57.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.21% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 99.8% of population
rural: 98.9% of population
total: 99.4% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.2% of population
rural: 1.1% of population
total: 0.6% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 84.3% of population
rural: 81.8% of population
total: 83.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 15.7% of population
rural: 18.2% of population
total: 16.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 97.2% of population
rural: 82.6% of population
total: 90.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.8% of population
rural: 17.4% of population
total: 9.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 95.5% of population
rural: 90.2% of population
total: 93.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4.5% of population
rural: 9.8% of population
total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationSKOPJE (capital) 503,000 (2015)
TIRANA (capital) 454,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate8 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
29 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight1.3% (2011)
6.3% (2009)
Health expenditures6.5% of GDP (2014)
5.9% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density2.8 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
1.29 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
Hospital bed density4.5 beds/1,000 population (2011)
2.6 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate20.8% (2014)
18.1% (2014)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 16,782
percentage: 6% (2005 est.)
total number: 72,818
percentage: 12% (2005 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth26.6 years (2013 est.)
25 years (2010 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate40.2% (2011)
69.3% (2008/09)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 41.4
youth dependency ratio: 24
elderly dependency ratio: 17.4
potential support ratio: 5.7 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 44.8
youth dependency ratio: 26.9
elderly dependency ratio: 18
potential support ratio: 5.6 (2015 est.)

Government

MacedoniaAlbania
Country name"conventional long form: Republic of Macedonia
conventional short form: Macedonia
local long form: Republika Makedonija
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
etymology: the country name derives from the ancient kingdom of Macedon (7th to 2nd centuries B.C.)
"
"conventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
local short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
etymology: the English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; the native name ""Shqiperia"" is popularly interpreted to mean ""Land of the Eagles""
"
Government typeparliamentary republic
parliamentary republic
Capitalname: 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
name: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 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
Administrative divisions70 municipalities (opstini, singular - opstina) and 1 city* (grad); Aracinovo, Berovo, Bitola, Bogdanci, Bogovinje, Bosilovo, Brvenica, Caska, Centar Zupa, Cesinovo-Oblesevo, Cucer Sandevo, Debar, Debarca, Delcevo, Demir Hisar, Demir Kapija, Dojran, Dolneni, Gevgelija, Gostivar, Gradsko, Ilinden, Jegunovce, Karbinci, Kavadarci, Kicevo, Kocani, Konce, Kratovo, Kriva Palanka, Krivogastani, Krusevo, Kumanovo, Lipkovo, Lozovo, Makedonska Kamenica, Makedonski Brod, Mavrovo i Rostusa, Mogila, Negotino, Novaci, Novo Selo, Ohrid, Pehcevo, Petrovec, Plasnica, Prilep, Probistip, Radovis, Rankovce, Resen, Rosoman, Skopje*, Sopiste, Staro Nagoricane, Stip, Struga, Strumica, Studenicani, Sveti Nikole, Tearce, Tetovo, Valandovo, Vasilevo, Veles, Vevcani, Vinica, Vrapciste, Zelenikovo, Zelino, Zrnovci
12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore
Independence8 September 1991 (referendum by registered voters endorsed independence from Yugoslavia)
28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holidayIndependence Day, 8 September (1991); also known as National Day
Independence Day, 28 November (1912) also known as Flag Day
Constitutionhistory: several previous; latest adopted 17 November 1991, effective 20 November 1991
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic, by the government, by at least 30 members of the Assembly, or by petition of at least 150,000 citizens; draft amendments require approval by majority vote of Assembly members, followed by public debate; final passage requires two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly; amended several times, last in 2015 (2016)
history: several previous; latest approved by the Assembly 21 October 1998, adopted by referendum 22 November 1998, promulgated 28 November 1998
amendments: proposed by at least one-fifth of the Assembly membership; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly; referendum required only if approved by two-thirds of the Assembly; amendments approved by referendum effective upon declaration by the president of the republic; amended several times, last in 2016 (2017)
Legal systemcivil law system; judicial review of legislative acts
"civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law known as the ""Code of Leke"" prevails
"
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Gjorge IVANOV (since 12 May 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Zoran ZAEV (since 31 May 2017)
cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the Assembly by simple majority vote; note - the 2014 cabinet formed by the government coalition parties VMRO-DPMNE, DUI, and several small parties; as a result of an agreement reached in July 2015 between the largest parties to resolve a 16-month opposition boycott of the Assembly, several minister and deputy minister positions were also given to the opposition SDSM from November 2015 though May 2016 in preparation for elections originally scheduled for 24 April 2016, and then pushed back to 5 June 2016, and then again from September through December 2016
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 13 and 27 April 2014 (next to be held in 2019); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coaliton is usually elected prime minister by the Assembly
election results: Gjorge IVANOV reelected president in second round; percent of vote - Gjorge IVANOV (independent) 55.3%, Stevo PENDAROVSKI (SDSM) 41.1%, other 3.6%
chief of state: President of the Republic Bujar NISHANI (since 24 July 2012)
head of government: Prime Minister Edi RAMA (since 10 September 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Niko PELESHI
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by the Assembly
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); a candidate needs three-fifths majority vote of the Assembly in 1 of 3 rounds or a simple majority in 2 additional rounds to become president; election last held in 3 rounds during the period 19, 20, and 27 April 2017 (next election to be held in 2022) but failed; prime minister appointed by the president on the proposal of the majority party or coalition of parties in the Assembly
election results: Ilir META (LSI) elected president; Assembly vote - 87 - 2 in fourth round; he takes office on 24 July 2017
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Assembly or Sobranie (123 seats; 120 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 3 directly elected in diaspora constituencies worldwide by simple majority vote, provided candidates meet a specified minimum vote count; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 11 December 2016, with a second round held in one polling station on 25 December 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - VMRO-DPMNE 38.1%, SDSM coalition 36.7%, BDI 7.3%, Besa Movement 4.9%, Alliance for Albanians 3.1%, PDSh 2.7%, other 7.2%; seats by party - VMRO-DPMNE 51, SDSM coalition 49, BDI 10, Besa Movement 5, Alliance for Albanians 3, PDSh 2
description: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 June 2017 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 48.3%, PD 28.8%, LSI 14.3%, PDIU 4.8%, PSD 1.0, other 2.8%; seats by party - PS 74, PD 43, LSI 19, PDIU 3, PSD 1
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 22 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the Judicial Council, a 7-member body of legal professionals, and appointed by the Assembly; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed by the Assembly for nonrenewable, 9-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Basic Courts
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 17 judges, including the chief justice); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, including the chairman)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges, including the chairman, appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single 9-year terms); Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years; chairman elected by the People's Assembly for a single 3-year term
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance
Political parties and leadersAlliance for Albanians [Ziadin SELA]
Besa Movement [Bilal KASAMI]
Democratic Party of Albanians or PDSh [Menduh THACI]
Democratic Union for Integration or BDI [Ali AHMETI]
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization - Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity or VMRO-DPMNE [Nikola GRUEVSKI]
Social Democratic Union of Macedonia or SDSM [Zoran ZAEV]
note: during the 2016 parliamentary elections VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM each led coalitions
Democratic Party or PD [Lulzim BASHA]
Party for Justice, Integration and Unity or PDIU [Shpetim IDRIZI] (formerly part of APMI)
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]
Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Petrit VASILI]
Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]
Political pressure groups and leadersConfederation of Free Trade Unions [Blagoja RALPOVSKI]
Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia or SSM [Zivko MITREVSKI]
Trade Union of Education, Science and Culture or SONK [Jakim NEDELKOV]
Student Plenum
Eco Guerilla [Arianit XHAFERI]
Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania or KSSH [Kol NIKOLLAJ]
Omonia [Leonidha PAPA]
Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]
International organization participationBIS, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EU (candidate country), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EITI (compliant country), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Vasko NAUMOVSKI (since 18 November 2014)
chancery: 2129 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 667-0501
FAX: [1] (202) 667-2131
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Detroit, New York
chief of mission: Ambassador Floreta FABER (since 18 May 2015)
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Jess L. BAILY (since 12 February 2015)
embassy: Str. Samolilova, Nr. 21, 1000 Skopje
mailing address: American Embassy Skopje, US Department of State, 7120 Skopje Place, Washington, DC 20521-7120 (pouch)
telephone: [389] (2) 310-2000
FAX: [389] (2) 310-2499
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald LU (since 13 January 2015)
embassy: Rruga e Elbasanit, 103, Tirana
mailing address: US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
telephone: [355] (4) 2247-285
FAX: [355] (4) 2232-222
Flag descriptiona yellow sun (the Sun of Liberty) with eight broadening rays extending to the edges of the red field; the red and yellow colors have long been associated with Macedonia
"red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero George Kastrioti SKANDERBEG, who led a successful uprising against the Ottoman Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-78); an unsubstantiated explanation for the eagle symbol is the tradition that Albanians see themselves as descendants of the eagle; they refer to themselves as ""Shqiptare,"" which translates as ""sons of the eagle""
"
National anthem"name: ""Denes nad Makedonija"" (Today Over Macedonia)
lyrics/music: Vlado MALESKI/Todor SKALOVSKI
note: written in 1943 and adopted in 1991 , the song previously served as the anthem of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia while part of Yugoslavia
"
"name: ""Hymni i Flamurit"" (Hymn to the Flag)
lyrics/music: Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU
note: adopted 1912
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)eight-rayed sun; national colors: red, yellow
double-headed eagle; national colors: red, black
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Macedonia
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 8 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Albania
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

MacedoniaAlbania
Economy - overviewSince its independence in 1991, Macedonia has made progress in liberalizing its economy and improving its business environment. Its low tax rates and free economic zones have helped to attract foreign investment, which is still low relative to the rest of Europe. Corruption and weak rule of law remain significant problems. Some businesses complain of opaque regulations and unequal enforcement of the law.

Macedonia’s economy is closely linked to Europe as a customer for exports and source of investment, and has suffered as a result of prolonged weakness in the euro zone. Unemployment has remained consistently high at about 23%, but may be overstated based on the existence of an extensive gray market, estimated to be between 20% and 45% of GDP, which is not captured by official statistics.

Macedonia is working to build a country-wide natural gas pipeline and distribution network. Currently, Macedonia receives its small natural gas supplies from Russia via Bulgaria. In 2016, Macedonia signed a memorandum of understanding with Greece to build an interconnector that could connect to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline that will traverse the region once complete, or to an LNG import terminal in Greece.

Macedonia maintained macroeconomic stability through the global financial crisis by conducting prudent monetary policy, which keeps the domestic currency pegged to the euro, and inflation at a low level. However, in the last two years, the internal political crisis has hampered economic performance, with GDP slowing in 2016, and both domestic private and public investments declining. Fiscal policies were lax, with unproductive public expenditures, including subsidies and pension increases, and rising guarantees for the debt of state owned enterprises, and fiscal targets were consistently missed. In 2016, public debt reached 50.5% of GDP before being revised down to 47.8% of GDP by year’s end, still relatively low compared to its Western Balkan neighbors and the rest of Europe. In 2016, Macedonia issued a Eurobond worth approximately $495 million to finance 2016 and part of 2017 budget needs.
Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is a developing country with a modern open-market economy. Albania managed to weather the first waves of the global financial crisis but, the negative effects of the crisis caused a significant economic slowdown. Since 2014, Albania’s economy has steadily improved and economic growth is projected to increase to 3.8% in 2017. However, close trade, remittance, and banking sector ties with Greece and Italy make Albania vulnerable to spillover effects of possible debt crises and weak growth in the euro zone.

Remittances, a significant catalyst for economic growth, declined from 12-15% of GDP before the 2008 financial crisis to 5.8% of GDP in 2015, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy. The agricultural sector, which accounts for almost half of employment but only about one-fifth of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming, because of a lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Complex tax codes and licensing requirements, a weak judicial system, endemic corruption, poor enforcement of contracts and property issues, and antiquated infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment making attracting foreign investment difficult. Since 2015, Albania has launched an ambitious program to increase tax compliance and bring more businesses into the formal economy. In July 2016, Albania passed constitutional amendments reforming the judicial system in order to strengthen the rule of law and to reduce deeply entrenched corruption.

Albania’s electricity supply is uneven despite upgraded transmission capacities with neighboring countries. However, the government has recently taken steps to stem non-technical losses and has begun to upgrade the distribution grid. Better enforcement of electricity contracts has improved the financial viability of the sector, decreasing its reliance on budget support. Also, with help from international donors, the government is taking steps to improve the poor road and rail networks, a long standing barrier to sustained economic growth.

Inward FDI has increased significantly in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. The government is focused on the simplification of licensing requirements and tax codes, and it entered into a new arrangement with the IMF for additional financial and technical support. Albania’s three-year IMF program, an extended fund facility arrangement, was successfully concluded in February 2017. Albania’s 2017 budget aims to reach a small primary surplus, which the Albanian Government plans to achieve by strengthening tax collection amid moderate public wage and pension increases. The country continues to face high public debt, exceeding its former statutory limit of 60% of GDP in 2013 and reaching 71% in 2016.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$29.52 billion (2016 est.)
$28.82 billion (2015 est.)
$27.77 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars; Macedonia has a large informal sector that may not be reflected in these data
$33.9 billion (2016 est.)
$32.66 billion (2015 est.)
$31.59 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
unreported output may be as large as 50% of official GDP
GDP - real growth rate2.4% (2016 est.)
3.8% (2015 est.)
3.6% (2014 est.)
3.8% (2017 est.)
3.4% (2016 est.)
2.6% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$14,500 (2016 est.)
$14,000 (2015 est.)
$13,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$11,900 (2016 est.)
$11,500 (2015 est.)
$11,100 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 8.4%
industry: 25.2%
services: 66.5% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 21.6%
industry: 14.9%
services: 63.5%
(2016 est.)
Population below poverty line21.5% (2015 est.)
14.3% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 34.5% (2009 est.)
lowest 10%: 4.1%
highest 10%: 19.6% (2015 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)-0.2% (2016 est.)
-0.3% (2015 est.)
1.3% (2016 est.)
1.9% (2015 est.)
Labor force950,300 (2016 est.)
1.179 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 16.6%
industry: 29.6%
services: 53.8% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 41.8%
industry: 11.4%
services: 46.8% (December 2014 est)
Unemployment rate23.1% (2016 est.)
24.6% (2015 est.)
14.5% (2016 est.)
16.9% (2015 est.)
note: these official rates may not include those working at near-subsistence farming
Distribution of family income - Gini index33.7 (2015)
35.2 (2014)
29 (2012 est.)
30 (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $3.041 billion
expenditures: $3.33 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $3.203 billion
expenditures: $3.546 billion (2016 est.)
Industriesfood processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, iron, steel, cement, energy, pharmaceuticals, automotive parts
food; footwear, apparel and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate3.4% (2016 est.)
2.9% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrapes, tobacco, vegetables, fruits; milk, eggs
wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, olives and olive oil, grapes; meat, dairy products; sheep and goats
Exports$4.787 billion (2016 est.)
$4.49 billion (2015 est.)
$1.962 billion (2016 est.)
$1.93 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesfoodstuffs, beverages, tobacco; textiles, miscellaneous manufactures, iron, steel; automotive parts
apparel and clothing, footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; cement and construction materials, vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partnersGermany 33.2%, Kosovo 11.5%, Bulgaria 5.1%, Greece 4.5% (2015)
Italy 43.3%, Kosovo 9.8%, US 7.7%, China 6.2%, Greece 5.3%, Spain 4.8% (2015)
Imports$6.757 billion (2016 est.)
$6.4 billion (2015 est.)
$4.667 billion (2016 est.)
$4.322 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, automobiles, chemicals, fuels, food products
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partnersGermany 15.9%, UK 13.6%, Greece 10.9%, Serbia 8.7%, Bulgaria 6.7%, Turkey 5.5%, Italy 4.7% (2015)
Italy 33.4%, China 10%, Greece 9%, Turkey 6.7%, Germany 5.2% (2015)
Debt - external$7.646 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.873 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$7.797 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.716 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesMacedonian denars (MKD) per US dollar -
56.82 (2016 est.)
55.537 (2015 est.)
55.537 (2014 est.)
46.437 (31 December 2013 est.)
47.89 (2012 est.)
leke (ALL) per US dollar -
127.4 (2016 est.)
125.96 (2015 est.)
125.96 (2014 est.)
105.48 (2013 est.)
108.19 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt47.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
46.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: official data from Ministry of Finance; data cover central government debt; this data excludes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; includes treasury debt held by foreign entitites; excludes debt issued by sub-national entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; there are no debt instruments sold for social funds
71% of GDP (2016 est.)
71.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.732 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.471 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.093 billion (31 September 2016 est.)
$3.14 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$336 million (2016 est.)
-$207 million (2015 est.)
-$1.465 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.226 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$10.49 billion (2016 est.)
$12.14 billion (2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$5.628 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.232 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$6.056 billion (31 December 2014)
$5.459 billion (31 December 2013)
Market value of publicly traded shares$2.078 billion (31 December 2016)
$1.853 billion (31 December 2015)
$2.269 billion (31 December 2014)
$NA
Central bank discount rate3.25% (31 March 2017)
3.75% (31 December 2016)
note: series discontinued in January 2010; the discount rate has been replaced by a referent rate for calculating the penalty rate
1.25% (31 December 2016)
1.75% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate4% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.3% (31 December 2015 est.)
9.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
8.7% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$5.073 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.043 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$7.008 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.166 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.825 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.508 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.095 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$6.308 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.964 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$10.18 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$9.652 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues29% of GDP (2016 est.)
26.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
-2.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 53.1%
male: 52%
female: 55% (2014 est.)
total: 30.2%
male: 32.5%
female: 26.1% (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 68%
government consumption: 15.7%
investment in fixed capital: 18%
investment in inventories: 12.8%
exports of goods and services: 49.3%
imports of goods and services: -63.8% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 85.7%
government consumption: 10.4%
investment in fixed capital: 27.6%
investment in inventories: 1.5%
exports of goods and services: 37.1%
imports of goods and services: -62.3% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving30.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
30.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
29.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
15.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
15% of GDP (2015 est.)
13% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

MacedoniaAlbania
Electricity - production5.303 billion kWh (2016 est.)
7.135 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption6.455 billion kWh (2016 est.)
7.094 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports58.5 million kWh (2016 est.)
1.868 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports2.191 billion kWh (2016 est.)
1.826 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
16,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
14,330 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - proved reserves2,551 bbl (31 December 2016 )
2.616 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (31 December 2016 )
821.2 million cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2016)
32 million cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption213.4 million cu m (2016 est.)
32 million cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2016)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports213.4 million cu m (2016 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity2.057 million kW (2016 est.)
1.895 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels64.3% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants32.8% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
100% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources2.9% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
290 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption20,700 bbl/day (2016 est.)
27,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports3,900 bbl/day (2016 est.)
16,250 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports23,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
13,250 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy7.9 million Mt (2013 est.)
4.3 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

MacedoniaAlbania
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 372,557
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 226,718
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 2.223 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 106 (July 2015 est.)
total: 3.401 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: competition from the mobile-cellular segment of the telecommunications market has led to a drop in fixed-line telephone subscriptions
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone subscribership about 120 per 100 persons
international: country code - 389 (2017)
general assessment: fixed line, teledensity continues to decline due to heavy use of mobile-cellular telephone services; mobile-cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective; of 3.4 million active mobile telephone users, 1.3 million use mobile broadband services (3G/4G)
domestic: offsetting the shortage of fixed-line capacity, mobile-cellular phone service has been available since 1996; by 2015, 4 companies were providing mobile services and mobile teledensity had reached 120 per 100 persons; Internet broadband services initiated in 2005, and the penetration rate per family reached 30% by 2015; Internet cafes are popular in major urban areas
international: country code - 355; submarine cable provides connectivity to Italy, Croatia, and Greece; the Trans-Balkan Line, a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system, provides additional connectivity to Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey; international traffic carried by fiber-optic cable and, when necessary, by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece (2015)
Internet country code.mk
.al
Internet users1.475 million
70.4% (July 2015 est.)
total: 1.916 million
percent of population: 63.2% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediapublic service TV broadcaster Macedonian Radio and Television operates 3 national terrestrial TV channels and 2 satellite TV channels; additionally, there are 5 privately owned TV channels that broadcast nationally using terrestrial transmitters, 4 TV channels with concession for cable TV, 5 satellite TV channels broadcasting on a national level, 47 local commercial TV channels, and a large number of cable operators that offer domestic and international programming; the public radio broadcaster operates over multiple stations; there are 3 privately owned radio stations that broadcast nationally and about 75 local commercial radio stations (2017)
Albania has more than 65 TV stations, including several that breoadcast nationally; Albanian TV broadcasts are also available to Albanian-speaking populations in neighboring countries; many viewers have access to Italian and Greek TV broadcasts via terrestrial reception; Albania's TV stations have begun a government-mandated conversion from analog to digital broadcast; the government has pledged to provide analog-to-digital converters to low-income families affected by this decision; cable TV service is available; 2 public radio networks and roughly 78 private radio stations; several international broadcasters are available (2017)

Transportation

MacedoniaAlbania
Railwaystotal: 699 km
standard gauge: 699 km 1.435-m gauge (223 km electrified) (2017)
total: 677 km (447 km of major railway lines and 230 km of secondary lines)
standard gauge: 677 km 1.435-m gauge (2015)
Roadwaystotal: 14,182 km (includes 242 km of expressways)
paved: 9,633 km
unpaved: 4,549 km (2014)
total: 18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
Pipelinesgas 262 km; oil 120 km (2017)
gas 498 km (a majority of the network is in disrepair and parts of it are missing); oil 249 km (2015)
Airports10 (2013)
4 (2016)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
under 914 m: 6 (2013)
total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)

Military

MacedoniaAlbania
Military branchesArmy of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM; includes General Staff and subordinate Joint Operational Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Special Operations Regiment) (2012)
Land Forces Command, Navy Force Command, Air Forces Command (2013)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription abolished in 2008 (2013)
19 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; 18 is the legal minimum age in case of general/partial compulsory mobilization (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.07% of GDP (2015)
1.09% of GDP (2014)
1.17% of GDP (2013)
1.23% of GDP (2012)
1.26% of GDP (2011)
1.14% of GDP (2016)
1.16% of GDP (2015)
1.35% of GDP (2014)
1.41% of GDP (2013)
1.49% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

MacedoniaAlbania
Disputes - internationalKosovo and Macedonia completed demarcation of their boundary in September 2008; Greece continues to reject the use of the name Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia
none
Illicit drugsmajor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and hashish; minor transit point for South American cocaine destined for Europe; although not a financial center and most criminal activity is thought to be domestic, money laundering is a problem due to a mostly cash-based economy and weak enforcement
increasingly active transshipment point for Southwest Asian opiates, hashish, and cannabis transiting the Balkan route and - to a lesser extent - cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; limited opium and expanding cannabis production; ethnic Albanian narcotrafficking organizations active and expanding in Europe; vulnerable to money laundering associated with regional trafficking in narcotics, arms, contraband, and illegal aliens
Refugees and internally displaced personsstateless persons: 600 (2016)
note: 478,090 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015 - July 2017)
stateless persons: 4,921 (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook