Nordmakedonien. In early January, Macedonia's parliament
voted to make amendments to the constitution so that the
country's name change to Northern Macedonia could be
implemented. When Greece approved the change of name a few
weeks later, it was all over - after a lengthy name battle.
The change of name to Northern Macedonia took place formally
on February 12, when the constitutional amendments came into
CountryAAH, the change of name mainly led to Greece approving a
Northern Macedonian application for NATO membership, and in
February an agreement was signed in Brussels which meant
that the country could now become NATO's 30th member state.
Formally, however, it did not become quite clear during the
year as all countries must ratify the agreement; However,
the neighbor of Greece was for approval.
In March, the verdict for the storming of Parliament came
in April 2017. Sixteen of those involved received between
seven and 18 years in prison. Former Interior Minister Mitko
Chavkov, who was also head of the country's public security,
was sentenced to 18 years. Former Prime Minister Nikola
Gruevski is on the run but is still highly suspected of
being involved in the planning of the storm.
In February, new elections were announced in the country,
and on May 5, Northern Macedonia was given a new president
when 56-year-old lawyer Stevo Pendarovski won the second
round of elections. The first round took place on April 21,
when it became very even between the combats: 42.8% for
Pendarovski and 42.2% for Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova. In
the May elections, Pendarovski won 51.7% of the vote against
the main opponent Siljanovska-Davkova, who got 39.6%. The
election was largely a position on the country's name change
from Macedonia to Northern Macedonia. As Pendarovski was
positive about the new name and Siljanovska-Davkova strongly
opposed the change of name, the exit was considered as a
final approval of the name Northern Macedonia. While voter
turnout was low, only 44.5%, it was above the threshold for
approval, which is at 40%.
By the end of May, signals had come from the European
Commission that it was time for discussions on membership
for Northern Macedonia, and also Albania, which according to
the Commission's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini "did
her part of the job" and that it was now "up to the EU to
fulfill its part ”. However, this was not the case. At a
summit in Brussels in October, it turned out that the member
states were deeply disagreeing. Most negative was France's
President Emmanuel Macron, who thought that the EU must be
reformed before taking on more members - was it perhaps
Brexit that haunted? As a result of this setback, Prime
Minister Zoran Zaev announced that the country will hold new
elections in April 2020. Prior to this, a technocratically
led government will be appointed in January 2020.
In anticipation of EU membership, Northern Macedonia
together with Albania and Serbia decided to form a
"mini-Schengen". The agreement, which was signed in the
Serbian city of Novi Sad in October, entails freedom of
passport from 2021 between the countries as well as freedom
of movement in both services and goods and capital. It is
hoped that Bosnia, Kosovo and Montenegro will also join.
Ahead of Nobel Day, Northern Macedonia announced that it
was boycotting the awards ceremony in Stockholm because of
the literary award-winner Peter Handke's controversial
statements about the war in the Balkans during the 1990s.
Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Croatia (as well as Turkey)
boycotted the ceremony.