Northern Macedonia Facts
Northern Macedonia is still a destination unknown to most, although there is much to see in the country. The main tourist destinations in northern Macedonia are Ohrid and Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Official language: Macedonia
Currency: Northern Macedonian denar
Passport and visa: A valid passport is required when traveling to Northern Macedonia . Finnish citizens do not need a visa .
Time difference to Finland : -1
Northern Macedonia is largely an agricultural country. Although imports of agricultural commodities are greater than agricultural exports, the country is considered to have good conditions to both become self-sufficient with food and export fruits and vegetables. Large investments are therefore made on agricultural development and other support for the industry.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Macedonia. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
The most important crops are wheat, maize, rye, tobacco, rice, vegetables, sugarcane, poppy, grapes, plums and cotton. Cultivation takes place mainly in the valleys of the Vardar River and in other river valleys. The country is dependent on irrigation. Livestock management is also important and dairy products account for about half of agricultural production. Most farms are small family farms.
Fishing has little economic significance in the coastal northern Macedonia. In the Ohridsjön on the border with Albania there is a wanted trout but it is endangered and all fishing there is banned since 2004. For Macedonia defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.
Deferred elections are scheduled for July
The major political parties agree on July 15 as a new date for the new parliamentary elections, which originally should have taken place in April, but postponed due to the corona pandemic (see March 2020). The contagion situation is still serious in the country and is expected to affect how the parties can conduct their election campaigns.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of UEM stands for the state of Macedonia in geography.
Northern Macedonia becomes a NATO member
Northern Macedonia becomes the defense alliance NATO’s 30th member state. The last step is taken by the fact that connection documents are formally submitted. It can happen since Spain as the last Member State ratified the accession ten days earlier. The country’s flag will be raised with the other 29 at the Brussels headquarters on March 30.
Clear sign for EU negotiations
The EU finally gives the long-awaited clear sign for Northern Macedonia, and Albania, to start membership negotiations with the Union. There is no start date and the ongoing corona pandemic means that it may take a while before the talks get underway, perhaps until autumn 2020. A few weeks earlier, the European Commission has taken a thumbs-up, stating that both countries have sufficiently strengthened their democratic institutions and delivered more ” concrete and sustainable results ”. Northern Macedonia was praised for “important steps” that strengthened the independence of the judiciary and for improved fight against corruption and organized crime. The European Commission has long advocated membership negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania, but the process came on patrol when, above all, France demanded more reforms and a changed enlargement process in the EU (see October 2019).
Corona put a stop to parliamentary elections
The new parliamentary election, which should have been held on April 12, is postponed for the future indefinitely, due to the corona pandemic that shakes the world. The decision is made jointly by political leaders from all camps, despite the lack of ordinary government and parliament and thus it is unclear with the formalities. The number of reported cases of infection is still below 30 in Northern Macedonia. Only five days earlier, the political leaders agreed that the election should be held, and the election campaign is mainly conducted via social media.
Labor Minister Rasela Mizrahi is dismissed as a result of appearing in public at least twice in front of a banner with the country’s former name “Macedonia”. This happens after a long debate into the small hours, with the votes being 62–26. Mizrahi, who belongs to the nationalist party VMRO-DPMNE, who continues to oppose the change of name to Northern Macedonia. Greece, which has changed its name as a requirement not to impede its proximity to the EU and NATO, has protested against Mizrahi’s actions.
Transitional government before new elections
Parliament unanimously endorses former Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski as Prime Minister with the task of leading a government until the April 12 elections. The transitional government includes members of both outgoing Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s Social Democratic Party SDSM and the leading opposition party VMRO-DPMNE. All government decisions taken until the election must be supported by both sides.