2009 年 2009 巻 38 号 p. 60-71
With the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, Macedonia became an independent state. Similar to other Republics of the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia had to carry out double transitions, i.e. transition to a market economy and transition from a regional economy to a national economy. For a newly independent small country to survive the environment of market economy, it is required to settle domestic conflicts, establish good relationship with neighboring countries and secure economic independence. Western Balkan countries, which have experienced ethnic conflicts and still have domestic ethnic problems, would not be assured of their survival as long as they remain outside the European Union. This paper examines how Macedonia has been tackling the above mentioned problems, proceeding toward EU accession in the context of the EU’s Stabilization and Association Process.
This paper stresses the following points: First, domestic conflicts between the Macedonian population and the Albanian population was settled for the time being by the Ohrid Framework Agreement in 2001, but the situation is still precarious. Their peaceful co-existence should be consolidated with support from the international community, especially the EU.
Second, at the turn of the 21st century the relationship with its neighboring countries, except Greece, has been significantly improved. As Greece is the nearest member country of the EU, it is urgently necessary for Macedonia to improve its relationship with this country. Regardless of the diplomatic conflict over the name of the country with Greece, the economic relation between both countries is becoming closer. However, as long as Greece opposes, Macedonia will not be able to enter into its accession negotiations with EU. It seems that a compromise between both countries in this regard is not impossible.
Third, CEFTA 2006, a multilateral free trade agreement, is very important for Macedonia. Western Balkan countries are required to endeavor to make this agreement effectively function in order to increase intra-regional trade, attract more FDI and prepare for their EU accession.
Fourth, Macedonia is facing a problem of structural fragility of its economy. Its external debt and domestic public debt are not at so critical levels. However, the unemployment is very high and its informal sector has reached an abnormally big scale. It is urgently necessary for the country to increase jobs. Also the problem of chronic trade deficit should be overcome.