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Northern Macedonia

Yearbook 2019

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 force.

2019 Northern Macedonia

According to 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.

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