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Republic of Macedonia Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The political environment of the Republic of North Macedonia is prone to volatility, with a history of long-lasting political stalemates. The likelihood of early parliamentary elections before the scheduled December 2020 date increased after the EU in June 2019 postponed approval of starting accession negotiations. Without reliable EU accession prospects, the government would be likely to call an early election, or face removal by a successful opposition-led no-confidence vote. The adoption of reform-orientated policies, such as improving the efficiency of public administration and the judiciary's independence, is likely to be occasionally obstructed by lack of a two-thirds majority in parliament, which is sometimes required. In January 2019, the government gained the support of opposition MPs and garnered the two-thirds parliamentary majority required for the change of the country's name under the 2018 agreement with Greece. The country had previously experienced an overall deterioration of democratic standards and weakening of institutions, with the risk of companies facing bribery requests remaining high. The likelihood of passing EU reforms is likely to decrease if the country does not receive approval for EU accession negotiations to start in 2019. The business environment is favourable for foreign investors, with low tax rates and an easy process of starting a business. EU membership would be unlikely before 2028, given the need for fundamental judiciary reforms. Nationalist protests against the change of the country's name and issues regarding the Albanian minority are probable. They pose a moderate likelihood of minor damage to public buildings. IHS Markit forecasts GDP growth to accelerate from 2.7% in 2018 to 3.5% in 2019, driven by rising purchasing power and strong manufacturing sector growth. Domestic demand and exports that remain strong will both drive economic growth in 2019–20. Gross investments contracted in 2018, but started recovering towards the end of the year and more active construction sector activity followed.
Last update: August 31, 2019

Operational Outlook

Despite a number of initiatives, North 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. The country is likely to continue receiving EU funds for transport infrastructure projects.

Last update: August 14, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

The risk of low-level terrorist attacks by ethnic Albanian militants in northern and western parts of North 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.

Last update: August 6, 2019

Crime

North Macedonia, formerly known as FYR Macedonia, is on the Balkan heroin route that moves narcotics from Turkey into Bulgaria, through North Macedonia and onwards into Kosovo, from where it continues by land into Western Europe, or from the Albanian coast to Italy by speedboat. This lucrative business, together with a flourishing trade in human trafficking and smuggling (for illegal immigration and prostitution), stolen cars, and cigarette and weapons smuggling, is a direct threat to the North Macedonian state. Groups such as the Albanian National Army (AKSh), a pan-Albanian radical paramilitary group, are funded from the proceeds of cross-border criminal activity and are often quasi-criminal in nature. This gives such groups a powerful incentive to sustain border instability in order to ease cross-border movement. Violent confrontations between members of rival organisations could occur.

Last update: August 6, 2019

War Risks

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Last update: July 30, 2019

Social Stability

High

Anti-government demonstrations attracting up to a few thousand people, but in most cases a few hundreds, 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.

Last update: August 6, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

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).

Other Vaccinations

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

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).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

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.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 389
Police: 192
Ambulance: 194

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019