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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 early parliamentary election scheduled for 12 April 2020 was postponed because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak; it is now expected on 15 July 2020. Following the election, we will probably see a government led by the centre-left SDSM or by the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE.In March 2020, the EU agreed to open EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia following three failures to do so in 2018 and 2019. The country is likely to eventually continue with judicial and public administration reforms but only after the recovery from COVID-19 virus outbreak, while likely needing EU financial support and assistance to tackle the crisis. North Macedonia had previously experienced an overall deterioration of democratic standards and weakening of institutions, with the risk of companies facing bribery requests remaining high.GDP growth has accelerated from 2.7% in 2018 to 3.6% in 2019, however, the outlook for 2020 is heavily clouded by the spread of the COVID-19 virus which is likely to cause a recession in the eurozone. North Macedonia exports 80% of its goods to the EU, of which more than 40% goes to Germany, mainly chemicals, electrical equipment and machinery. We expect GDP to contract by 4.2% in 2020 before growth of 3.5% in 2021. The worst-affected sectors are likely to be tourism, entertainment, hotels and restaurants, but also the transport sector and manufacturing, due to a temporary supply shock from the closures of plants, additional chain disruptions due to intensified border controls, and global demand shock.Civil unrest risks are likely to remain lower in the coming months given COVID-19-related restrictions, while the public remains concerned over contracting the disease. Protest risks will probably increase towards the end of 2020.
Last update: June 17, 2020

Operational Outlook

Despite improvements, North Macedonia's bureaucracy remains complex and inefficient. Corruption in the public administration and judiciary is likely to remain an obstacle for businesses. Labour legislation favours employers. Strikes usually affect individual companies and are unlikely to spread across sectors. 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: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

Elevated

The risk of low-level terrorist attacks by ethnic Albanian militants has decreased. Some members of the local ethnic Albanian community have adopted extremist Islamist views, however generally the Muslim population is moderate and pro-Western. There have been no reports on new recruits for extremist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq, however several foreign fighters have reportedly returned to areas around Skopje. Therefore, the risk of targeting of government and police buildings and personnel exists. On the other hand, the likelihood of well-planned Jihadist attacks is still low. Law enforcement and intelligence capacity to tackle terrorist activities in the case of returnees is still limited, but is likely to improve.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Crime

Organised crime remains an issue in North Macedonia, with criminal groups engaging in racketeering of local businesses, particularly in the northwest of the country. The country sits 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. Separately, human trafficking and smuggling (for illegal immigration and prostitution), stolen cars, cigarette and weapons smuggling are also flourishing. 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. Violent crime is uncommon. Pickpocketing is the most acute risks for foreign travellers.

Last update: June 17, 2020

War Risks

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Last update: June 17, 2020

Social Stability

High

The protest risk has decreased amid COVID-19 related restrictions. Demonstrations attracting up to a few thousand people at most are likely in Skopje ahead of the next parliamentary election, which has been postponed from April 2020 and will now probably take place in the fourth quarter of 2020. Such protests pose a moderate 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. Environmental protests, mainly in Skopje, are likely against transport infrastructure, air pollution and energy projects.

Last update: June 17, 2020

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