Natural resources, energy and environment
Northern Macedonia has a lot of natural resources such as iron, nickel, silicon, lead, zinc and precious metals, which has led to investments in the mining industry of large international companies. There are large sources of lignite, but for industry, coal has to be imported. All oil consumed is also purchased from abroad.
The country’s energy needs are largely covered by domestic production in mainly coal-fired thermal power plants, but also in hydropower plants. Several projects are underway with the aim of expanding and connecting the electricity networks with those in neighboring countries such as Serbia and Albania for greater efficiency.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Macedonia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Northern Macedonia is plagued with severe pollution. Skopje is considered to be the worst capital in Europe. This is partly due to emissions from antiquated industries – a legacy from the communist era. In addition, many residents lack access to central heating, which is why wood burning is common. Firing also occurs with plastic and rubber debris that produces toxic emissions. The problems are particularly severe in winter and are exacerbated by the fact that the city is surrounded by mountains, which means that the air is shut down. When the air pollution is at its worst, especially in the winter, it has happened that the schools are kept closed so that the children do not have to go out.
Water pollution is also a problem as wastewater treatment is often lacking. Some environmental work is done, but the shortcomings are great: money is missing, as is adequate environmental legislation and the will to follow where it exists. Sometimes there is also lack of understanding and knowledge of the problems, although this is slowly changing.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, SP stands for Macedonia. Visit itypeusa for more information about Macedonia.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
1,264 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
3500 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
7 510 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
3.6 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
24.2 percent (2015)
Controversial media law
Parliament adopts a controversial media law, which has faced strong protests from journalists. According to critics, the law could increase the government’s control over the press and tie the freedom of expression.
Bad air in Skopje
Severe air pollution in the Skopje area causes the government to introduce emergency measures. Among other things, pregnant women and people over the age of 60 are encouraged to stay indoors. Inhalable particles, called PM10, which can cause cancer and respiratory diseases, are measured in some areas to levels of 500 micrograms per cubic meter. The maximum limit is 50. Skopje’s international airport is sometimes closed due to the dense smog. Some industries are ordered to stop production to reduce air pollution. Increased car traffic in winter weather and the large number of households burning with firewood or oil also contribute to the smog. The proportion of carbon dioxide in the air is measured in its directions to twelve times the maximum limit value.
Fight for text on road signs
The authorities in Vevčani in western Macedonia, near the border with Albania, take down road signs that have both Albanian and Macedonian text and replace them with only Cyrillic writing in Macedonian. The mayor of Struga, who has an Albanian majority, then threatens to demolish a road gate and a church that Vevčani built.
Long prison sentence for journalist
An investigative journalist is sentenced to four and a half years in prison for revealing the identity of a witness in a murder trial. The charge against the journalist has sparked fierce debate in the country, and according to the journalist’s union, the reporter has served the public interest by revealing police and judicial abuse. The Court’s ruling is condemned by, among other things, the European Journalist Federation and the OSCE ‘s representative for freedom of the press. The latter requires the reporter to be released immediately.
Police reveal a high-level spy, and about 20 people are accused of spying for an unnamed neighbor. The arrested are charged with espionage, fraud, blackmail, disclosure of state secrets and criminal association. A former employee of the country’s intelligence service is reported to have been the leader of the group since 2009. Among the participants are the head of the Speaker’s Office in Parliament, a former head of the State Anti- Money Laundering Agency and a former senior police chief. The group should have gathered information, including about the political situation and about religious communities in collaboration with a neighboring country. Macedonia’s neighboring countries are Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.
Russian gas pipeline through Macedonia
Macedonia and Russia sign an agreement for the planned gas stream South Stream to be built through Macedonia.
Prison for former police minister
A Skopje court sentenced former police minister Ljube Boškoski to prison for twelve years for protecting people who committed a murder in the underworld. Boskoski is already serving a five-year sentence for illegally funding his election campaign. He has previously been prosecuted at the ICTY War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague for violating human rights during the conflict in Macedonia in 2001. He was released there after four years in custody.
The opposition wins the local elections in Skopje
In the capital Skopje, the Social Democrat-led opposition wins the local election. The new mayor temporarily orders the controversial redevelopment of the capital with, among other things, new statues, which Albanians have perceived as provocative Macedonian nationalism. The government party has been accused of financial corruption in the redevelopment of Skopje.
Violent protests against Albanian appointments
The capital Skopje is shaken by violent protests against the appointment of Talat Xhaferi as Minister of Defense in February. Ethnic Macedonians attack ethnic Albanians, many people are injured and the police force intervenes. The violence continues with Albanian counter-demonstrations. Several thousand Macedonians are also protesting after the ethnically divided city of Kičevo got its first Albanian mayor in the local elections.
Former rebel leader becomes defense minister
Prime Minister Gruevski appoints the ethnic Albanian and former rebel leader Talat Xhaferi as the government’s defense minister. The decision is highly controversial and is met by protests from the Social Democratic opposition.
Requirements for new elections are rejected
The opposition boycott of the parliament, launched in December, continues. Protests are held with demands for new elections to Parliament at the same time as the local elections in March. Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski rejects the claim and accuses the opposition of coup attempt. Shortly thereafter, the members of the Social Democratic Opposition are threatening to resign their seats in Parliament in an attempt to force new elections.