Republic of Macedonia Country Report
FYR Macedonia's political environment will probably remain volatile. The risk of early election has increased following the referendum on changing the country's name, which was held on 30 September. Implementation of reform-oriented policies, such as improving the efficiency of public administration and the judiciary's independence, is likely to be obstructed in the next six months. The country had previously experienced an overall deterioration of democratic standards and weakening of institutions. The business environment is favourable for foreign investors, with low tax rates and an easy process of starting a business. EU membership is unlikely before 2028, given the need of reforms. Nationalist protests are probable, with a moderate likelihood of damages to public buildings.Economic growth is expected to accelerate to 2.6% in 2018 and 3.6% in 2019.
Despite a number of initiatives, FYR Macedonia’s bureaucracy remains complex and inefficient, which has a direct effect on business performance. Corruption in the public administration and judiciary is likely to remain an obstacle for businesses. Labour legislation favours employers and strikes rarely affect private companies. Major cargo disruption due to industrial action in the transport sector is unlikely. Despite increases in large-scale investment programmes, the transport infrastructure is still relatively underdeveloped. International funding has a significant role in financing infrastructural projects. EU funds for transport infrastructure projects are likely to increase.
The risk of low-level terrorist attacks by ethnic Albanian militants in northern and western parts of FYR Macedonia has reduced. Government and police buildings and personnel have previously been key targets. Provided that there were reports that returnee fighters from the ranks of the Islamic State in Syria in Iraq are present around Skopje, the risk of an attack by a lone actor exists. On the other hand, the likelihood of well-planned Jihadist attacks to be conducted in the country is still low. Law enforcement and intelligence capacity to tackle terrorist activities in the case of returnees is still limited, but is likely to see improvements.
Anti-government demonstrations attracting up to several thousand people are likely in Skopje. They pose an elevated risk of limited violent incidents, including scuffles between protestors and police and superficial damage to government buildings and nearby vehicles. The general security situation has improved since the end of hostilities between security forces and ethnic-Albanian rebels in August 2001, which had threatened to plunge the country into civil war. Environmental protests are likely against transport infrastructure and energy projects.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
It should be noted that Macedonia is situated in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes. Forest fires frequently occur in the summer. Flooding can also occur.
Driving conditions in Macedonia are relatively precarious as not only is reckless driving common, but roads are frequently uneven and poorly lit, especially in rural areas. Furthermore, the majority of roads in mountainous regions of the country do not have guardrails, despite the presence of sharp drops; in winter, snow and ice exacerbate these hazardous driving conditions.
Travelers are advised against using public transportation, which is aging and overcrowded.
Both adverse weather conditions and high levels of pollution may cause flight delays or cancelations during winter (see HEALTH section).
Macedonia has several different climates, Mediterranean, continental, or mountainous, depending on the region. Temperatures range greatly between winter and summer.
In the mountains, summers and falls are hot and dry while winters are cold (0°C) and snowy. The valley regions enjoy a milder climate.
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