|Title||Macedonia (FYROM): Post-conflict Situation and US policy|
In early 2001, an eight-month conflict between ethnic Albanian insurgent forces
and Macedonian police and security forces threatened to derail the country’s fragile
stability and lead to another extended conflict in the Balkans. Later that year, U.S.
and European intervention led to the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement,
which outlined a package of political reforms to expand the rights of the ethnic
Albanian minority while rebel forces were disarmed and disbanded under NATO
supervision. Implementation of the Ohrid agreement proceeded slowly at first but
has progressed in recent years. Numerous challenges in 2004, including the
accidental death of President Trajkovski and violent inter-ethnic incidents in
neighboring Kosovo, threatened to increase political instability. However, an
opposition-sponsored referendum on November 7, 2004, which sought to halt plans
for decentralization and local governmental reforms called for under the Ohrid
accords, failed due to low turnout. Municipal elections under the new redistricting
plan took place in March 2005. The multi-ethnic coalition government that was
elected after the 2001 conflict looks likely to complete its term until 2006.
The United States continues to support multilateral efforts to stabilize
Macedonia, but has increasingly looked to the European Union to play a larger
international role in the Balkans, starting with Macedonia. In March 2003, the
European Union launched its first military mission in Macedonia, taking over from
a small NATO presence. The EU military mission, which has also served as a test
case for the EU’s ability to carry out its own defense policy, concluded its operation
on December 15, 2003. The EU maintains a police training mission in Macedonia.
Macedonia’s long-term goals, shared by the United States and the international
community, include full membership in NATO and the European Union. NATO has
pledged to uphold its “open door policy” for NATO candidate countries such as
Macedonia, Albania, and Croatia. Macedonia has concluded a Stabilization and
Association Agreement with the EU, applied for EU membership in early 2004, and
anticipates formally being named an EU candidate country by the end of 2005. EU
and U.S. officials urged Macedonian voters to stay on track with reforms consistent
with the Ohrid agreement, and praised them for endorsing Euro-Atlantic integration
with the widespread boycott of the November 7 referendum. On the eve of the
referendum, the United States announced its decision to recognize Macedonia by its
constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia, rather than its interim name, The
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as an expression of support to a multiethnic
and democratic state. Its name, however, remains in dispute with neighboring
Greece, and U.N.-sponsored talks to resolve the dispute are ongoing.
Related reports include CRS Report RL31053, Kosovo and U.S. Policy, and
CRS Report RL32136, Future of the Balkans and U.S. Policy Concerns. This report
may be updated as events warrant.
|»||Macedonia, FYR - Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2002|