CREDITS OF EUR 4.15 BN APPROVED BY END DECEMBER 2014
MIC – January 23, 2015 – 3:26pm

At the end of December 2014, every Macedonian citizen kept in banks 1,655 euros and owed banks 870 euros on average, according to the statistics of the National Bank of Macedonia. At the end of last year all credits that Macedonian banks had approved totaled 4.15 billion euros, some 80 percent of which were in denars and the rest in foreign currencies. 1.7 billion euros of that amount were credits approved to private persons.

The high credit growth that stood at 9 percent at the end of last year is expected to continue this year too. Credit interest rates for private persons, who most frequently take housing and consumer credits, were lower in December 2014 than in January 2014.

However, according to National Bank Governor Dimitar Bogov, the low interest rates are not expected to climb down any further. Households and companies keep deposits in banks and savings banks of 4.6 billion euros, 60 percent of which are in denars and the rest in foreign currencies, mostly euros. Citizens keep 3.3 billion euros in banks as time and sight deposits.

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AUSTRIAN FM KURZ URGES OPPOSITION TO RETURN TO PARLIAMENT
MIC – January 22, 2015 – 4:24pm

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said in Skopje Wednesday that Macedonia had a European perspective, yet for that to happen the name issue, which had taken far too long, had to be resolved first.

The opposition has to return to parliament, he said, because that is the place for political dialogue, while the carrying out of all necessary reforms has to continue.

"The name dispute is taking too long and the failure to settle it is harmful to both Europe and the two countries involved. To me it is quite unclear why no progress in regard to the name dispute has been made during this long period of time. The two countries have much more important issues to focus on, primarily issues relating to their economies and reforms.

"Austria is ready to put pressure in order to make the process more dynamic," Minister Kurz said at the press conference he held together with his host, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki.

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Flash News
MIC – January 22, 2015 – 10:38am

- The Chief of the Austrian Diplomacy Sebastian Kurz is optimist that after the elections in Greece the dynamics of the Macedonian European integrations will change, and Austria is already discussing this issue with the partners in the Union announcing personal engagement. The Chief of the Macedonian Diplomacy, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki stressed the importance of the Austrian investors.

 

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MACEDONIA RESOLUTION TRIGGERS HEATED DEBATE AT EP FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
MIC – January 21, 2015 – 2:00pm

A fierce debate was conducted at the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday after rapporteur Ivo Vajgl presented the draft resolution on Macedonia, in which the EP recommends for the ninth time that the Council should open membership negotiations with the country, MIA reports.

Alojz Peterle, the Chairman of the Macedonia-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, stressed that Vajgl's draft resolution was realistic, constructive, and pro-European, showing good sense for Macedonia's problems.

"The opening of accession talks will propel forward the resolution of the open issues," he said.

Richard Howitt, the former rapporter for Macedonia at the EP, said it was shameful that the EP was the only EU institution trying to resolve the name issue which was being misused for political pursuits.

 

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Flash News
MIC – January 20, 2015 – 10:44am

- European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs postponed for Tuesday the presentation and debate of the resolution proposal of rapporteur Ivo Vajgl for Macedonia.

 

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QATAR ANNOUNCES INVESTMENTS IN MACEDONIA
MIC – January 16, 2015 – 2:23pm

The companies of Qatar are willing to cooperate with the Republic of Macedonia, said the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, at his meeting with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov on Thursday.

At the meeting, the first since Sheikh Al Thani's ascent to the throne, the two officials said they were pleased by both countries' commitment to developing further bilateral relations.

According to Emir Al Thani, business relations are expected to intensify in the period to come. As areas in which there is keen interest to promote relations, he highlighted agriculture, food production, construction, infrastructure, tourism, real estate and telecommunications.

President Ivanov informed his host about the favorable investment climate in Macedonia, the performance of the Macedonian economy, and the positive assessments from relevant international institutions of Macedonia's economic reforms and results. Multilateral cooperation was also among the issues tabled at the meeting.

President Ivanov's Office stated that it had been agreed that cooperation and mutual support in the system of the United Nations, especially within the framework of the Alliance of Civilization, in which Macedonia and Qatar play active parts, should continue.

Emir Al Thani praised Macedonia's role in the Alliance of Civilizations saying the Macedonian model of honoring differences was a very positive one that should be further promoted within the framework of this global initiative.

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Flash News
MIC – January 16, 2015 – 11:14am

- Qatar investors are most interested in agriculture, food manufacture, construction, infrastructure, tourism, real-estate and telecommunications. On the first meeting with the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, fourth son of Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, President Gjorge Ivanov presented the business opportunities Macedonia offers, the economic condition and the assessments of the relevant international factors for reform processes and economic results.

 

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Flash News
MIC – January 15, 2015 – 10:51am

- The European Commission will stop giving recommendations for negotiations start for Macedonia, hoping that Greece will eventually remove the veto in the Council of EU, stressed Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki in an interview for the Macedonian Information Agency. The newly appointed EU Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn will try to persuade Greece to remove the formal blockage, said Poposki.

 

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STUDENTS AND PROFESSORS TO STAGE PROTESTS OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT WEDNESDAY AGAINST HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM
MIC – January 14, 2015 – 2:48pm

Under the motto "MPs Running their Last Lap—REFORM MARATHON", students and professors will again stage protests outside the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia Wednesday against the modifications to the higher education law  that will be debated at a plenary session happening concurrently with the protests outside, Vest reports.

The Student Plenum issued an announcement Tuesday appealing to students and citizens to counter these amendments together.

"Dear fellow students and citizens, the modifications to the higher education law will be debated in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia on Wednesday. Let us give the marathon runners a proper welcome with a roaring applause and congrats cheers at the finish line of the race for bad reforms in Macedonia's education.

"We invite all students and citizens to come with banners and whistles to root for the marathon runners in their exhausting race for the 'YES' button and for destroying education," reads the Student Plenum's announcement.

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Flash News
MIC – January 14, 2015 – 10:14am

-    Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov will be paying an official visit to the State of Qatar from 15 to 30 January, at the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. On Friday, he will also attend the first game against Tunisia of the Macedonian national team at the Men's Handball World Championship in Doha.

 

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VRANISKOVSKI’S RELEASE: TRAP OR SMART MOVE?
MIC – January 13, 2015 – 2:59pm

The Public Prosecution is not going to appeal against defrocked bishop Jovan Vraniskovski’s early release because it believes he met the legal conditions for exercising this right. Bearing in mind Vraniskovski served more than half of his sentence; that his conduct was in keeping with all prison rules; that he fulfilled all his work responsibilities; and that the damage he inflicted with his illicit activities had been compensated for, the Prosecution believes all legal criteria for granting him early release have been met.

If no other institution appeals against the Criminal Court's decision within the next five days, Vraniskovski will be released on 19 January and his parole will last until 23 March 2017.

Vraniskovski's release is the condition for resuming talks between the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric (MPC-OA) and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) with mediation from the Russian Orthodox Church over MPC-OA's autocephalous status. Analysts however are divided over whether Vraniskovski's release is truly going to propel things in a positive direction.

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Flash News
MIC – January 13, 2015 – 10:15am

- The traditional Carnival and Mask Parade in Vevcani starts Tuesday, and the organizers are expecting ten thousand visitors. BBC, world well-known TV, will film a documentary show for this original manifestation which depicts the old traditions.

 

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Flash News
MIC – January 12, 2015 – 10:32am

-    Signing agreements on cooperation in economy, agriculture and culture between Macedonia and India was the main subject that Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski discussed on the sidelines of the global summit Vibrant Gujerat in Ahmadabad, India. Indian companies are welcome to invest in Macedonia's industrial zones, he said.

 

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FRENCH AMBASSADOR AUER: WE WON'T GIVE IN TO BARBARISM
MIC – January 9, 2015 – 2:32pm

Charlie Hebdo in France is the epitome of freedom of expression on all possible subjects. Intellectual provocation is crucial in building our thought, our democracy. Cartoons and humor are an expression of a fundamental right—the freedom of thought.

"By attacking Charlie Hebdo because of its views, the attackers wish to frighten us, to freeze our thought so we would abandon the idea of freedom today and the idea of democracy tomorrow. We refuse to accept this barbarism and will never give in to intolerance and terrorism," said French Ambassador Laurence Auer at the commemoration held in the French Embassy in Skopje on Thursday.

Asked if this tragic event had the capacity to divide the country, Ambassador Auer said the French society was completely united against the horrific attack.

"This is a shock to all of us. The demonstrations across the country were for the 12 victims and 66 million wounded people. We are wounded in our souls, our essence, in what we are. Our democracy and press were attacked and this is unacceptable to us. We feel we wish to fight. We are furious and refuse to accept it. No one would accept it under any circumstances," she said.

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Flash News
MIC – January 9, 2015 – 10:19am

-    Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov sent a letter expressing his deepest sympathy for the lost lives in Paris to the French Ambassador to Macedonia, Laurence Auer. Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski also sent letters of condolences to his French counterpart Manuel Valls.

 

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PROFESSOR PLENUM SENDS LETTER TO GOVERNMENT DEMANDING WITHDRAWAL OF HIGHER EDUCATION BILL
MIC – January 8, 2015 – 2:44pm

The Professor Plenum sent a letter to the Government Wednesday demanding that the higher education bill be withdrawn.

"We are particularly pleased to let you know that our only suggestion concerning the proposed amendments to the higher education law is: withdraw them immediately."

The Plenum has also said that the debate conducted on Monday was illegal, illegitimate and very belated.

 

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Flash News
MIC – January 5, 2015 – 10:03am

- Former MEP Doris Pack, considers that EU is wrong not starting the accession negotiations with Macedonia but that is because of the regulation which enables the European Council to unanimously decide on the negotiations start.

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LOTS OF PROMISES, VARIOUS EXPECTATIONS FROM 2015
MIC – January 2, 2015 – 1:30pm

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski promised in his New Year's address prosperity, more jobs, more foreign investments, higher salaries and pensions, and construction of roads and railroads. His address, which at moments resembled an election campaign speech, was in stark contrast to the address of opposition leader Zoran Zaev, who urged the people of Macedonia to unite in order to "liberate" the country.  

President Gjorge Ivanov also wished the people of Macedonia a happy new year urging them to build Macedonia with positive thoughts by the highest European values, criteria and standards.

Prime Minister Gruevski announced at least 25 new foreign investments, continuation of the road infrastructure investments, a start of the construction of the gas supply network from Kumanovo to Stip, and providing conditions for the remaining primary gas grid across the country.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 31, 2014 – 9:16am

- “There are things I cannot solve but also ones I cannot be stopped at”, announced the new EU commissioner for enlargement Johannes Hahn and stressed that he will strengthen the dynamics in the dialogue of the European Commission and Macedonia. Hahn will visit Macedonia in January and Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki confirmed that the Government will devote on the dialogue and will improve the weaknesses noted in Commission’s progress report.

 

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VMRO-DPMNE AND BDI FAIL TO PROVIDE TWO-THIRDS MAJORITY TO SUSPEND OPPOSITION MPS' TERMS
MIC – December 29, 2014 – 6:08pm

The governing majority failed to provide the required quorum to decide whether to take away the opposition MPs' terms of office on Friday and there is no information whether and when the follow up to the 28th parliamentary session will take place.

What is known for certain is that the 31 legislators of the coalition led by SDSM will close this year as Members of Parliament. What will happen to their terms in early 2015 depends on how relations between the two largest political parties in Macedonia continue to unfold.

The OSCE Ambassador to Macedonia, Ralf Breth, said over the weekend that legislators belong to Parliament and that SDSM should accept their seats.

"The whole international community shares our opinion. The enlargement commissioner has recently said the same. As long as the situation stays like this, the situation will not be normal and we believe this should change as soon as possible," Ambassador Breth told Radio Free Europe.

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IVANOV: TIME HAS COME TO TURN NEW LEAF IN REGIONAL RELATIONS
MIC – December 26, 2014 – 1:32pm

At his meeting with Macedonian ambassadors and consuls Thursday, President Gjorge Ivanov said that in 2015 the key role will be played by those of them serving in the neighboring countries and that time had come for turning a new leaf and for carrying out new tangible projects through regional cooperation.

At the annual meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Ivanov urged ambassadors to make more effort in attaining Macedonia's strategic foreign policy goals, including European and Euro-Atlantic integration, good-neighborly relations, regional cooperation, reinforcing present and creating new friendships and partnerships, and promoting economic and public diplomacy.

"Our diplomacy has to keep pace with the changing world. Only in 2014, we have witnessed tectonic changes on the political stage globally," Ivanov said.

 

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PM GRUEVSKI: SDSM DOES NOT HAVE INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT TO BOYCOTT
MIC – December 25, 2014 – 2:35pm

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski did not give a straight answer Wednesday to the question of how the coalition led by VMRO-DPMNE would handle the situation with the opposition boycott of parliament after Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski scheduled for Friday the session at which the opposition MPs' terms are expected to be taken away.  

Prime Minister Gruevski held a meeting Wednesday with the other parties of the coalition 'For Better Macedonia' at which one of the topics was the opposition boycott. Afterward he merely said the boycott was harmful, above all for the state and also for the opposition party.

"SDSM does not have international support for what they are doing. We are conducting positive policies of investments and creating jobs while they are conducting a destructive policy, a policy of boycott. That is not good for the country," he said.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 25, 2014 – 10:28am

- In the next couple of months Macedonia must join NATO or EU. If Greece disrespects the International Law then it should be excluded from the membership in NATO and EU. This is the attitude of Janusz Bugajski from the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington according to whom the Union shouldn’t allow the name dispute to continue.

 

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TURKEY WISHES TO BE MACEDONIA'S CLOSEST TRADE PARTNER
MIC – December 24, 2014 – 2:03pm

Trade between Macedonia and Turkey should increase from the present 450 million dollars to a billion dollars. This is the goal that the Prime Ministers of Macedonia and Turkey, Nikola Gruevski and Ahmet Davutoglu, set during the latter's official visit to Macedonia on Tuesday. At the joint press conference, they said they were very pleased with the traditionally good political relations, which, they stressed, should be mirrored by economic cooperation.

According to Gruevski, reaching a trade volume of a billion dollars is attainable. However, he added, "this does not depend only on us."

"Our responsibility is to provide a good business climate and the rest should be accomplished by businessmen," he said.

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Flash News
MIC – December 24, 2014 – 10:40am

- Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki Tuesday met with his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and discussed the bilateral relations. On the meeting they raised issues both from the regional and international collaboration and especially about the Macedonian aspirations for membership in the Euro-Atlantic structures, informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

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MASSIVE PROTEST STAGED AGAINST LAW LEVYING EXTRA CHARGES ON FEES
MIC – December 23, 2014 – 2:27pm

Around 3,000 citizens staged peaceful protests Monday in protest against the amendments to the mandatory social insurance law.

People of all ages to be affected by the legal modifications once they begin taking effect on 1 January 2015, including journalists, various media professionals, students, actors, musicians, and translators, took to the streets to express their disapproval with the obligation of paying the state as much as 37 percent of all fees exceeding the minimum wage of 9,590 denars irrespective of whether the fees are an only source of income or an extra income.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 23, 2014 – 10:32am

The numerous diplomatic and consular representatives contributed for the investment in Macedonia. We should remember this year for being successful and encouraging, announced Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki who Monday met in Skopje with the Macedonian ambassadors abroad. He assessed that for a small country such as Macedonia the good neighboring relations are very important being also one of the priorities in the foreign policy for 2015 focusing on the EU integration.

 

 

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GOVERNMENT HOLDS OPEN SESSION ON EU INTEGRATION, EMPLOYMENT, INVESTMENTS, EDUCATION
MIC – December 22, 2014 – 2:03pm

The Government started its open session Sunday with issues relating to Macedonia's European integration. The Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Fatmir Besimi, said that all reforms and activities in regard to Macedonia's EU and NATO membership bid will be included in the Action Plan 2015 and that the Government continued carrying out reforms in the public administration, media freedom, interethnic relations, good-neighborly relations and regional cooperation.

Besimi said that this week would see the completion of the National Program 2015 based on which a public debate would be held in which representatives of the business community, private sector, academic community, and civil sector, including journalists, would be invited to take part voicing remarks and suggestions.

 

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Flash News
MIC – December 22, 2014 – 10:03am

- In the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia Sunday were presented the state journalism and publicism awards “Mito Hadzi Vasilev-Jasmin” for 2014. Mirela Saiti and Fidanka Tanaskova were presented in the field of journalism and Borce Grozdanov in the field of publicism.

 

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IVANOV: DIALOGUE IS SIGN OF POLITICAL MATURITY
MIC – December 19, 2014 – 2:18pm

At the very beginning of his annual address to the Macedonian Parliament on Thursday, President Ivanov stressed that by leaving their seats vacant, the opposition MPs left the voters who had voted for them unrepresented. Voting in elections, he said, is a civil right guaranteed by the Constitution yet representing voters in Parliament is a constitutional responsibility of elected deputies.

The parliamentary session Thursday was also boycotted by the BDI MPs who refuse to recognize Ivanov's legitimacy.

"Vacant seats cannot reflect the citizens' will. I wish to underscore than seven months ago, I invited political leaders, including Mr. Zaev and Mr. Ahmeti, to a meeting at which we would discuss our national interests. They ignored my invitation, which is still open. Refusing an invitation to discuss national interests to me is a reflection of utterly irresponsible political conduct. Therefore, I wish to tell those who are absent today that political dialogue is not a sign of political weakness but a sign of political maturity," President Ivanov said.

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