Macedonia (FYROM): Post-Conflict Situation and U.S. Policy

CRS Report for Congress
Macedonia (FYROM):
Post-Conflict Situation
and U.S. Policy
Updated June 17, 2005
Julie Kim
Specialist in International Relations
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress

Macedonia (FYROM): Post-Conflict Situation
and U.S. 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 multi-
ethnic 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.

Most Recent Developments..........................................1
In troduction ......................................................2
U.S. Interests.....................................................3
Unfinished Business............................................4
Kosovo’s Future...............................................5
Test Case for European Defense..................................5
Post-Ohrid Political and Economic Developments........................6
Political and Economic Landscape................................6
Ohrid Implementation..........................................7
Census ..................................................7
Decent r al i z at i o n ...........................................8
2004 Referendum..........................................8
2005 Local Elections.......................................9
Inter-Ethnic Outlook..........................................10
International Policy...............................................11
International Security Presence..................................11
Proxima ................................................12
NATO Integration............................................13
European Union Integration.....................................14
Regional Relations and Kosovo..................................15
Name Dispute................................................16
Other U.S. Policy Issues............................................17
Issues for Congress...........................................19
Legislation ..............................................19

Macedonia (FYROM): Post-Conflict
Situation and U.S. Policy
Most Recent Developments
In the aftermath of recent key events, Macedonia seeks to consolidate progress
toward its Euroatlantic integration goals in 2005-2006 and hopes to receive
invitations to join NATO and the EU in that time frame. Macedonia continues to
face internal and external challenges to these efforts.
In 2004, Macedonia’s political landscape faced upheaval. In early 2004,
President Boris Trajkovski, a key proponent of the power-sharing deal that ended the
inter-ethnic conflict in 2001, was killed in a plane accident. Former Prime Minister
Branko Crvenkovski won direct presidential elections to succeed him in April. His
successor as Prime Minister resigned later in the year but was replaced by Prime
Minister Buckovski of the Social Democratic Party.
Later in the year, Macedonia held an opposition-initiated referendum to halt the
decentralization process, a key component of the 2001 Ohrid peace process to
implement power-sharing arrangements among different ethnic groups in Macedonia.
On the eve of the vote, the United States formally recognized Macedonia under its1
constitutional name, the “Republic of Macedonia,” in a move to support to the
multi-ethnic Macedonian government and to the Ohrid peace process, and the
referendum failed. Twice-postponed municipal elections were finally held in March
2005. International observers assessed them to be in accordance with international
standards but marred by some serious irregularities.
Notwithstanding the U.S. move on recognition, U.S. and European officials
have emphasized the need to resolve the longstanding dispute between Macedonia
and Greece over the name Macedonia. U.N.-sponsored talks have continued. In
2005, the U.N. envoy to this process submitted a compromise proposal for
consideration, but no mutually agreeable negotiated solution has yet been reached.

1 The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is a provisional name coined by the United
Nations pending settlement of a disagreement with Greece over the name of the country.
This dispute has yet to be resolved. For abbreviation purposes only, FYROM shall be
referred to in this report as “Macedonia.” See section on name dispute, below.

Macedonia is a small, land-locked country in southeastern Europe, formerly part
of Yugoslavia. Its population of about 2 million people includes approximately 64%
Slav Macedonians, a large ethnic Albanian minority (representing about 25% of the
population, according to the 2002 census), as well as some ethnic Turks, Roma
(Gypsies), and Serbs. For nearly a decade after gaining independence in 1991,
Macedonia managed to avoid the kind of bloody ethnic conflict that engulfed other
former Yugoslav republics, and even appeared to serve as a sort of model for ethnic
co-existence in the region. Nevertheless, the international community remained
concerned about the possible consequences of any “spillover” of fighting into
Macedonia, since it was feared that conflict once sparked in Macedonia could spread
beyond its borders and lead to a regional war.
In early 2001, an ethnic insurgency threatened to derail Macedonia’s fragile
stability and lead to another extended conflict in the Balkans. Ethnic Albanian
guerrillas calling themselves the “National Liberation Army” (NLA, many with ties
to the former Kosovo Liberation Army) claimed responsibility for a series of attacks
on Macedonian police units. The incidents sparked an eight-month armed conflict
between the insurgents, who claimed to be fighting for improved rights for the ethnic
Albanian community, and Macedonia’s police and armed forces. The conflict spread
from the border region with Kosovo to areas around the capital, Skopje.
In August 2001, European and U.S. peace envoys achieved an agreement among
Macedonia’s main political parties — both Slav and ethnic Albanian — to resolve
the crisis. The Ohrid Framework Agreement outlined a package of political reforms
to expand the rights of the ethnic Albanian minority that was to be implemented as
the rebel force disbanded and disarmed under NATO supervision. Key aspects of the
agreement are outlined below. Implementation of the framework agreement at first
progressed slowly and unsteadily, but consistent international support and pressure
have encouraged greater stability and political normalization.2
Macedonia’s current multi-ethnic government remains committed to the Ohrid
process. Its surrounding region has remained relatively calm, with all western Balkan
states seeking closer association with and membership in NATO and the European
Union. Regional tensions could grow in the coming months and years as
deliberations begin over the disputed status of neighboring Kosovo. At the
international level, since September 11, 2001, U.S. and international attention and
resources have shifted away from the Balkans and toward other troubled regions of
the world, especially in the Middle East. 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. The growing EU role includes both operational elements and a broader
integration strategy.

2 For additional information about the 2001 conflict and its immediate aftermath, see CRS
Report RL30900, Macedonia: Country Background and Recent Conflict.

Ohrid Framework Agreement - Summary
The Ohrid framework agreement was signed by Macedonia’s four main political
parties on August 13, 2001, and provides for a staged reshaping of inter-ethnic relations
and power-sharing arrangements.
The document lists some basic principles of the Macedonian state and includes
provisions on: the cessation of hostilities and the voluntary disarmament of ethnic
Albanian armed groups; devolving centralized power to local administration; and
reforming minority political and cultural rights. Among other things, the provisions
create a “double majority” requirement in parliament (including a majority of
representatives from minority populations) for passage of certain constitutional
amendments and laws affecting minority rights. Local governments are granted enhanced
competencies, including the right to select local heads of police, but with some
centralized controls. The agreement names Macedonian as the official language of the
country, but says that any language spoken by 20% of the population is also an official
language. State funding for university-level education in minority languages is to be
provided where that language is spoken by 20% of the population.
Annexes to the agreement outline fifteen detailed amendments to be made to the
constitution and several legislative modifications to be adopted by the national assembly,
some within designated deadlines (most of which were not met). Another annex invites
the international community to assist in the implementation of the framework agreement,
help to train and restructure the police, organize a new census, observe parliamentary
elections, and convene a donors’ conference.
Full text of the agreement can be found at [].
U.S. Interests
The United States has long maintained that peace and security in the Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is important for Balkan stability and U.S. interests.
During the 1990s, the United States remained actively engaged in multilateral efforts
to prevent the spread of ethnic conflict to Macedonia, bolster Macedonian
independence and state viability, and manage bilateral disputes between Macedonia
and Greece. U.S. and other international leaders feared that any prolonged violent
conflict involving Macedonia could swiftly become internationalized and implicate
neighboring states, including NATO allies. They therefore frequently expressed
support for Macedonia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The multi-year
deployment of a small contingent of U.S. military forces to Macedonia as part of a
U.N. mission in the early 1990s — the first engagement of U.S. military ground
forces in the Balkans — further demonstrated the U.S. commitment to the
Macedonian piece of the regional stability puzzle. When violent inter-ethnic
incidents threatened to embroil all of Macedonia in early 2001, U.S. representatives
played a key role in international efforts to defuse the conflict, formulate the Ohrid
Framework Agreement for peace, and oversee post-conflict stabilization and peace

The United States and its European allies share the same broad goals for
Macedonia, which foresee its full integration, along with other western Balkan states,
into Euro-Atlantic institutions and a whole and free Europe at peace. Toward this
end, successive U.S. Administrations have worked to achieve sustainable peace in
the region and have promoted the open-ended enlargement policies of NATO and the
European Union. At the same time, the United States has supported the gradual but
steady process of shifting greater international responsibility for the Balkan region
to the European Union. The EU and its member states have provided the bulk of
international financial assistance to the former Yugoslavia and currently account for
most of the international military forces in the region. The Bush Administration has
given greater emphasis to accelerating and supporting this process, especially with
U.S. attention and resources intensely focused on the global war on terrorism, Iraq,
and other issues. In 2005, the Bush Administration announced a renewed focus on
the region as international processes to manage the issue of Kosovo get under way.
However, most observers believe that the United States must still work in concert
with the European Union, since the EU represents the ultimate stabilizing prospect
for countries in the region.
Unfinished Business
Notwithstanding significant changes to the global environment in recent years,
the fate of Macedonia is of ongoing U.S. interest for several reasons. First, the
United States remains committed to following through on processes underway in
Macedonia that have come about in part due to substantial prior U.S. engagement and
investment of political, economic, and military resources. The United States shares
with the rest of the international community an interest in preventing a reversal of
progress in Macedonia, a relapse into conflict, or weakening of the state’s long-term
viability. A related goal is to stem illicit trade in drugs, armaments, and persons
through the region. While a downturn in developments in Macedonia may not pose
any strategic threat to the United States — as compared to global terrorism or
weapons proliferation — it would run counter to U.S. goals for greater stability in the
region and its peaceful integration into the rest of Europe. A Europe whole, free, and
at peace, including Macedonia and the rest of the western Balkan region, remains a
U.S. policy objective.
Until irreversible progress in Macedonia is secured, the United States will likely
remain involved in closely monitoring developments and facilitating progress in
Macedonia in conjunction with the international community. The United States
continues to enjoy unparalleled influence and credibility throughout the Balkans,
even as its share of international responsibilities there is steadily reduced and its
visible role diminishes. Recognizing this, U.S. officials have repeatedly rejected the
notion that the United States might “cut and run” from the Balkans, lest the
perception of U.S. disengagement have a destabilizing impact. The United States has
also solicited and received political and military support from the Macedonian
government for U.S.-led operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kosovo’s Future
A second reason why Macedonia continues to be relevant to U.S. interests is that
its fate is widely perceived to be integrally tied with that of neighboring Kosovo,
whose final political status has remained unresolved since the 1999 Kosovo conflict.
Kosovo represents a focal concern of strategic interest in the region and beyond.
2005 has been dubbed the “year of decision” for Kosovo and a process to determine
Kosovo’s unresolved status is expected to begin later in the year. The Bush
Administration has expressed strong support for moving forward in this process,
without favoring a predetermined outcome. Whatever outcome eventually emerges,
resolution to Kosovo’s final status is likely to have a major impact on the entire
Macedonia’s leaders have neither played nor sought a direct role in Kosovo’s
governing situation or final status deliberations; nevertheless, many observers believe
that what ultimately happens in Kosovo could have a particularly strong impact on
Macedonia. Certain scenarios for Kosovo’s final status instill concerns about
Macedonia’s security and viability. Some observers fear that independence for
Kosovo, for example, may inspire breakaway aspirations by Macedonia’s ethnic
Albanian communities and lead to the creation of a “greater Albania/greater
Kosovo.” Others are concerned that efforts to partition Kosovo could be repeated in
Macedonia and lead to the country’s dismantling. There is also the concern that
compromise proposals on Kosovo’s status may prompt dissatisfied ethnic Albanians
to turn to extremist militant groups in Kosovo, southern Serbia, and Macedonia. An
inability to resolve Kosovo’s status in the next few years, or at least prolonged
uncertainty about any final outcome, could have the same effect. The fact that many
possible outcomes in Kosovo theoretically remain on the table contributes to an
unsettled and insecure security environment. Macedonia is deeply affected by day-
to-day events in Kosovo on account of its shared borders, cross-border ethnic
Albanian community ties (including links with ethnic Albanian insurgent groups),
and commercial and illicit trade routes.
Test Case for European Defense
A third area of interest for the United States has been the role Macedonia has
played as a test case for the development of the European Union’s Common Foreign
and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). To
date, Macedonia has served as an example of constructive U.S. - European
partnership in the Balkans. U.S., NATO, and EU coordinated diplomatic activity
helped to bring about the 2001 Ohrid agreement. U.S. and European officials
continue to advance shared goals of stabilizing Macedonia and promoting its
integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.
Beyond foreign policy, Macedonia became the first setting for operationalizing
the EU’s defense goals. Once issues regarding NATO and EU institutional and
operational links were resolved (see section on international security presence,
below), the United States strongly supported the handover of the NATO military
operation in Macedonia to the EU in March 2003. Administration officials lauded
the transfer of responsibility — occurring around the same time as the U.S. - led

invasion of Iraq — as a welcome division of labor and the “right mission” in the
“right place” for NATO to hand off duties to the EU.3 It should be kept in mind,
however, that the Macedonia mission remained small and limited, not involving an
open-ended commitment of forces or a high-intensity security environment. NATO
and NATO contributing countries (including the United States) have also kept a
presence on the ground in Macedonia in support of NATO’s KFOR mission in
neighboring Kosovo.
Post-Ohrid Political and Economic Developments
Political and Economic Landscape
Macedonia’s first post-conflict elections were held on September 15, 2002, in
a generally peaceful process.4 The leading incumbent governing party of former
Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski (VMRO-DPMNE) fared poorly, while the ten-
party opposition alliance called Together for Macedonia (led by the Social
Democratic Alliance - SDSM, which had governed until 1998) secured 40% of the
vote. Together for Macedonia formed a majority coalition with Ali Ahmeti’s new
ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) party, thus bringing about
the second successive peaceful transfer of power from one group of parties to
another. The inclusion in government of the DUI also symbolized the transformation
of Ali Ahmeti from political spokesman of the former rebel National Liberation
Army to governing party leader. The new government led by Prime Minister Branko
Crvenkovski took office on November 1, 2002. Crvenkovski had previously served
as Macedonia’s Prime Minister from 1992 to 1998.
Following the 2002 vote, governing party leaders repeatedly expressed their
commitment to improving inter-ethnic relations and implementing the 2001 Ohrid
agreement. In contrast, opposition leaders from both the Slav Macedonian and ethnic
Albanian parties frequently criticized the government’s performance and prospects
for inter-ethnic cooperation, with some even calling for an ethnic partition of the
country. 5
In February 2004, President Boris Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash over
Bosnia. Given his role as chief architect of the Ohrid agreement and political voice
of compromise, some observers became concerned that Trajkovski’s death might
derail post-Ohrid developments. Prime Minister Crvenkovski decided to run for the
office of the presidency and emerged victorious after two rounds of voting in April

2004. In the second round, Crvenkovski soundly defeated the candidate of the

3 Nicholas Fiorenza, “EUFor begins on diminutive note,” Armed Forces Journal, June 2003,
p. 14. See also CRS Report RL32342, NATO and the European Union.
4 The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reported that the
elections largely met international standards for democratic elections.
5 “Macedonia politics: Societal divisions slow to heal,” Economist Intelligence Unit
Viewswire, October 23, 2003.

opposition VRMO-DPMNE party, Sasko Kedev, by 62.7% to 37.%.6 The ethnic
Albanian parties backed Crvenkovski in the second round. Turnout barely surpassed
the 50% threshold for validity of the process, but opposition calls for a boycott also
did not succeed.7 Crvenkovski pledged to represent all citizens of Macedonia and to
work toward Macedonia’s entry into the EU and NATO.8
After the presidential election, former Interior Minister Hari Kostov
(unaffiliated) replaced Crvenkovski as Prime Minister. In November, Kostov
unexpectedly resigned, citing frustration with the lack of progress in economic
reforms and blaming the ethnic Albanian DUI party for obstructionist and corrupt
practices. However, the multi-ethnic coalition was maintained. Former Defense
Minister Vlado Buckovski replaced Kostov as Prime Minister and also became leader
of the Social Democratic Party. Buckovski leads a cabinet comprised of SDSM,
DUI, and Liberal Democratic members.
The state of the Macedonian economy is a major area of concern since it plays
a crucial role both in the country’s post-conflict recovery and the successful
implementation of the Ohrid accord. However, political instability and inter-ethnic
issues have dominated much of the government’s agenda in the immediate post-
Ohrid years. Former Prime Minister Kostov cited the lack of progress in
implementing reforms as a primary factor leading to his resignation in November
2004. Macedonia’s economic outlook foresees steady but only limited GDP growth
in the near term. GDP levels declined by over 4% during the 2001 year of conflict,
grew a scant 0.7% in 2002 and recovered somewhat since then, with GDP growth
reaching 3.4% in 2003 and about 3% in 2004. Rising unemployment (around 37%)
remains a significant problem and disproportionately affects the minority and youth
populations. Fighting corruption remains a major priority of the governing parties.
Increasing foreign investment in Macedonia is another expressed priority, and is tied
to Macedonia’s progress in implementing privatization. Macedonia is dependent on
trade routes connecting Greece and Serbia, and is developing further east-west routes
between Bulgaria and the Adriatic Sea. In 2004, Macedonian authorities concluded
stand-by arrangements with the International Monetary Fund and are negotiating new
multi-year agreements with the IMF and World Bank on new lending and reform
Ohrid Implementation
Census. A prominent element of the Ohrid agreement was the holding of a
national census that would provide a critical basis for determining ethnic
representation in public sector positions and the application of minority rights.

6 The candidacy of a key nationalist personality, former Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski
of the VMRO-DPMNE, was rejected for not meeting residence eligibility requirements. See
International Crisis Group. Macedonia: Make or Break, August 3, 2004. Available at
[ h t t p : / / www.i c g.or g] .
7 The OSCE reported some serious irregularities but said that the elections were “generally
consistent” with democratic standards.
8 Upon becoming President, Crvenkovski resigned as party leader of the Social Democratic
Alliance of Macedonia.

Earlier census proceedings and results had been disputed by the ethnic Albanian
community, which felt that its numbers were misrepresented. After a delay, a new
census was held in November 2002. International monitoring reported a successful
process with limited irregularities. Delays in processing census data postponed the
release of final results until December 1, 2003. A joint U.S., EU, OSCE, and NATO
statement lent full international support to the census results as published.9 Some
nationalist opposition members on both the Slav Macedonian and Albanian sides
have disputed the results.
Decentralization. Fulfillment of the last requirement of the Ohrid accords has
involved a package of laws to devolve governing power from the center to local
authorities and redraw administrative boundaries at the local level. This effort
reflected a critical element of the Ohrid process since it would address the ability of
ethnic Albanian communities to exercise greater rights in local areas where they are
concentrated. However, the decentralization process also involved base territorial
issues that would affect power balances at the local level, and revived ongoing fears
about possible ethnic partition.
Over the summer of 2004, the government proposed, and parliament passed
(after protracted debate), legislation on reforming local self-government. The
government proposals would gradually reduce the number of municipalities in
Macedonia from 123 to about 80 and establish new boundaries for them. Local
governments would gain greater authority over education, policing, social welfare,
financing, and other policies. Ethnic Albanians would become the majority in over
a dozen municipalities. Opposition parties on both sides of the ethnic divide
criticized aspects of the law, and nationalist Macedonian groups predicted greater
ethnic divisions to result. Especially contentious were redistricting plans for the
towns of Skopje, Struga, and Kicevo, which under the new municipality boundaries
would merge with surrounding ethnic Albanian villages and, in the case of Struga,
revert to an Albanian majority. Supporters countered that, in addition to supporting
the Ohrid process and the country’s aspirations for NATO and EU membership, the
new plan would produce a greater number of ethnically mixed municipalities than
before. Other groups criticized the lack of transparency exercised during government
negotiations on the specifics of the law, including territorial boundaries.
2004 Referendum. In response to the government’s plan, Macedonian
nationalist groups organized popular protests in Skopje and Struga, which brought
out tens of thousands of demonstrators and which turned violent in Struga. In
addition, opposition parties and the World Macedonian Congress launched a citizens’
initiative to hold a referendum on the decentralization plan with the intent to revoke
it. Gathering more than 180,000 signatures on a referendum petition, well over the
required limit, the initiative forced parliament to schedule a date for the referendum.

9 State Department press release, December 1, 2003. Official results of the census reported
that ethnic Macedonians comprised 64.18% of the population; ethnic Albanians, 25.17%;
ethnic Turks, 3.85%; Roma, 2.66%; Serbs, 1.78%; Bosnian Muslims, 0.84%; Vlachs,

0.48%, and others, 1.04%.

The referendum was held on November 7, 2004. It presented a single question
that asked voters if they favored an earlier law on the territorial organization of local
self-government. The measure would be considered passed if a simple majority
approved it, provided that a majority of voters turned out. A successful vote would
have imposed a one-year moratorium on the government’s decentralization plans.
Government officials and the ethnic Albanian parties10 urged voters to reject the
initiative through a boycott. International officials called on Macedonian voters to
reject a “turn to the past” and support the Ohrid process. On November 7, only an
estimated 26% of the electorate turned out, and the referendum failed due to low
turnout. Of those who voted, a large majority voted against the government’s
decentralization package. Opposition groups claimed fraud, but the OSCE said the
referendum was “generally consistent” with democratic standards. U.S. unilateral
recognition of Macedonia’s constitutional name on the eve of the referendum (see
section on name dispute, below) is credited by some as a factor contributing to the
vote’s defeat.
2005 Local Elections. 84 municipalities and the capital of Skopje held two
rounds of local elections on March 13 and March 27, and a partial re-run on April 10.
Parties from the governing coalition performed well: the SDSM-led Together for
Macedonia won 36 mayor seats and the DUI won 15 mayor seats, the best showing
by far of the ethnic Albanian parties. An opposition-supported mayoral candidate
won in Skopje. Turnout was above 50% for both rounds in generally calm
The electoral process came under some criticism by an international election
monitoring mission led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE). The OSCE assessed that although the vote was conducted in accordance
with some standards, it failed to meet established standards of universal suffrage and
ballot secrecy. It reported serious irregularities in many municipalities, undermining
the integrity of the process.11 The United States and European Union expressed
disappointment with the irregularities reported during both rounds and emphasized
the need to rectify shortcomings to ensure the integrity of future electoral processes.
The EU also specified that adherence to democratic standards such as free and fair
elections was an essential prerequisite to closer relations to the EU.
Following the elections, the decentralization process will go forward with the
transfer of competencies from center to local councils. The government has prepared
a detailed implementation plan for the transfer of powers, including control over
some revenue collection, education, and public sector employment. The first stage
of the transfer process is to take place in July.

10 Opposition Albanian parties supported the boycott but also opposed the new law on local
11 See OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report, June 8, 2005
[ odihr -elections/14366.html ].

Inter-Ethnic Outlook
Many international observers welcomed the invalidation of the November
referendum and believe that Macedonia would have suffered serious setbacks on
many fronts had it succeeded. Even with the failed referendum, some observers
believe that the recent debates over decentralization revealed ongoing political and
societal fissures, not yet healed after the 2001 insurgency, that could hinder further
development and reforms. On the other hand, the defeat of the referendum and
further progress in implementing decentralization may point to new opportunities for
dialogue on inter-ethnic issues and forward progress in reforms. Macedonia’s
political leaders have recommitted to moving forward on Macedonia’s strategic goals
of entry into the EU and NATO, which enjoy overwhelming public support.
Political stability in Macedonia is enhanced by the governing coalition’s
majority strength in parliament, even though it remains fraught with internal
divisions. Meanwhile, the opposition parties continue to struggle with their own
divisions and have proven willing to fan nationalist sentiment for political gain. An
ongoing challenge for Ahmeti’s DUI party is to demonstrate that it can advance
ethnic Albanian interests inside the government. Inter-ethnic tensions may also
resurface in the context of a deteriorating economic situation.
The threat posed by residual armed ethnic Albanian extremist groups persists
but appears more remote now than in 2001-2002. The most prominent extremist
group in the post-conflict scene has been the so-called Albanian National Army
(ANA), a radical group claiming to seek the unification of ethnic Albanian lands.
Splinters of the old National Liberation Army (NLA) are also thought to be active.
Such groups and individuals appear to enjoy little broad-based public support, but are
funded by criminal activity and diaspora support. They reportedly overlap
extensively with criminal groups involved in cigarette smuggling, kidnapping, and
trafficking in arms, drugs (mainly heroin), and persons.12 In 2002-2003, the Albanian
National Army claimed responsibility for a series of targeted terrorist attacks in
Macedonia, Kosovo, and southern Serbia, prompting the U.N. Mission in Kosovo to
label it a terrorist organization. Some unidentified Albanian militants were spotted
during the November 2004 referendum. The prevalence of small arms throughout
Macedonia, despite international efforts to encourage disarmament, remains a
concern. However, the fact that the outbreak in March 2004 of violent inter-ethnic
riots in neighboring Kosovo, mainly against ethnic Serb communities, did not spill
over into Macedonia has been seen as a positive sign that extremist violence can be
In late 2004, armed ethnic Albanian militants briefly claimed control over
Kondovo, a suburban town outside of Skopje. The paramilitaries took up arms
reportedly in protest of the ongoing treatment of ethnic Albanians and limited
amnesty granted to former militants. The situation in Kondovo was defused in
December without a major military response by the government. Instead,
negotiations with leading ethnic Albanian political leaders led the rebels to agree to

12 Neil Barnett and Jeta Xharra, “Macedonian clashes spark Ohrid fears,” Jane’s Intelligence
Review, October 1, 2003.

disband and de-militarize the town. In June 2005, another incident occurred in
Kondovo involving the detention and beating of Macedonian policemen. The leader
of the armed group in Kondovo, Agim Krasniqi, has reportedly re-established
Kondovo as a base.
International Policy
International Security Presence
Macedonia has had experience with foreign forces on its territory for nearly its
entire existence as an independent country. Compared with Bosnia and Kosovo, the
international military presence in Macedonia remained small in scale, under a varying
succession of mandates. During the wars of Yugoslav secession in the 1990s, the
United Nations sent its first “preventive deployment” mission of international
peacekeepers to Macedonia to boost stability in the country and to discourage conflict
spillover. The small U.N. mission, which included a U.S. military contingent, was
in place from 1993 until 1999. In advance of and during the 1999 Kosovo conflict,
NATO deployed thousands of troops to Macedonia in support of Operation Allied
Force and in preparation for the deployment of KFOR, NATO’s peacekeeping force
in Kosovo. KFOR has retained a rear headquarters in Macedonia for logistical and
communications functions. Some KFOR participating nations have also kept
national support elements in Macedonia.
In response to the 2001 conflict in Macedonia, NATO first carried out Operation
Essential Harvest, a limited mission of about 4,000 troops to supervise the
demilitarization and disarmament of ethnic Albanian rebel forces. As a follow-up
mission, NATO launched the smaller Operation Amber Fox to provide a monitoring
presence and security for international civilian personnel overseeing implementation
of the framework agreement. An even smaller mission, Allied Harmony, took over
for Amber Fox in December 2002, providing continuity in NATO’s military presence
and contributing to a stable environment in Macedonia. The United States did not
contribute forces to the post-Ohrid NATO missions in Macedonia, but did provide
them with logistical and other forms of support.
Beginning in 2002, the European Union developed plans to take over the
military mission in Macedonia from NATO, under the EU’s nascent European
Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). Unresolved issues on general principles of
security cooperation between NATO and the EU held up further movement on the
EU plans for several months. In late 2002 — early 2003, NATO and the EU
formalized principles for establishing institutional links, including EU access to
NATO assets and support, under an arrangement dubbed “Berlin Plus.” Thereafter
the Macedonian government invited the EU to assume responsibility for the follow-
on force to NATO’s Operation Allied Harmony.
On March 31, 2003, NATO formally handed over the Macedonia military
mission to the European Union’s Rapid Reaction Force. Operation Concordia
represented the EU’s first military operation and first demonstration of the Berlin
Plus arrangement. The operation comprised about 350 troops from over two dozen

EU and non-EU countries, with France contributing roughly half of the force.
German Admiral Rainer Feist, NATO’s Deputy SACEUR, was the operational
commander. EUROFOR, the European Operational Rapid Force,13 assumed
operational command of Concordia from France on October 1, and Portugese
General Luis Nelson Ferreira Dos Santos became the force commander. Operation
Concordia drew upon support from NATO command facilities at the Supreme
Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and NATO operational reserves
already located in Macedonia. Concordia’s mandate was limited at first to six
months, but was later extended to December 15, 2003. NATO, meanwhile, retained
a separate military and civilian advisory role in Macedonia as part of its NATO
Headquarters Skopje mission. NATO closed out its civilian office in June 2004; a
military advisory team remains at NATO Headquarters Skopje to assist in security
reforms and provide logistical support to forces in Kosovo.14
The European Union described Operation Concordia as one component of its
larger and multi-faceted commitment to Macedonia, which includes economic
assistance and EU-association benefits. Beyond Macedonia, the EU’s ground-
breaking Concordia operation served as a test case for other EUFOR operations.
Notably, the EU assumed military peacekeeping duties from NATO in Bosnia in
December 2004.15 As the EU builds its military capabilities and considers additional
missions beyond EU borders in the future, it will draw on its initial experiences in
Proxima. In advance of Operation Concordia’s December 15, 2003
termination date, the EU and the Macedonian government considered options for a
new EU presence. They agreed to establish an EU police mission (EUPOL), called
Proxima, in Macedonia consisting of about 200 civil police officers and resembling
the EU police mission in Bosnia. The new mission is focused on training local police
forces rather than on enforcing policing, border security, or other law enforcement
duties. EU police experts “monitor, mentor, and advise” the Macedonian
government and local Macedonian police and support their development as an
efficient, well-trained, professional, and multi-ethnic police service.16
The EU formally approved of the Proxima police mission on September 29,
2003, which began on December 15, for a period of one year. In October 2004, the
EU Council extended Proxima’s mission for a second year, or until December 2005.
The Proxima mission was first led by Mr. Bart D’Hooge, a police officer from the
Netherlands, who was replaced by German Brigadier General Jürgen Paul Scholz in

13 Eurofor was established in 1995 and is comprised of French, Italian, Portuguese, and
Spanish troops. It is a separate body from EUFOR, the EU’s 60,000 strong Rapid Reaction
14 “Trump Card up NATO’s Sleeve,” Nova Makedonija in BBC Monitoring Europe, June

9, 2004.

15 For further information, see CRS Report RS21774, Bosnia and International Security
Forces: Transition from NATO to the European Union in 2004, by Julie Kim.
16 European Council meeting on external relations, Press Release 12294/03, Sept. 29, 2003.
See also Proxima home page at [].

December 2004. The mission is comprised of 140 unarmed international police
officers and 30 civilian staff from EU member and candidate countries, as well as
150 staff from the host nation. Its activities are focused on three programs: public
order, organized crime, and border police.
The EU mission supplements the police development activities of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which has been
actively involved in a range of peace implementation tasks, including police training.
NATO continues to provide support to the EU mission, but moved into a “minimum
presence” in Macedonia, reflecting the end of international military operations in the
country. The EU also maintains a Special Representative in Skopje.
Macedonian officials have expressed satisfaction with the evolution of the EU
missions and note that the country’s greater need lies in the area of police reform
rather than an external military presence. They were pleased to bring to a close the
extended chapter of Macedonian dependence on foreign intervention and sought to
emphasize the country’s return to relative stability and normalcy.17
NATO Integration
In addition to NATO’s continuing advisory role on the ground, Macedonia
maintains ties with NATO through institutional associations such as NATO’s
Partnership for Peace (PFP), the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), and the
Membership Action Plan (MAP) for countries seeking NATO membership.
Macedonia is among the so-called “Vilnius Group” of ten central and east European
countries that came together in 2000 to promote their collective entry into the
alliance. At the Prague summit in November 2002, NATO heads of state and
government extended invitations to seven of the Vilnius Group countries and upheld
NATO’s “open door” policy to other candidate countries.18 At the Istanbul summit
in June 2004, NATO reaffirmed its Open Door policy and commended the Adriatic
Charter countries for their progress in reforms and contributions to regional stability
and cooperation.19 However, no new invitations were issued. For their part,
Macedonian officials have set 2006 as a target date for receiving an invitation to join
the alliance.
Officials from NATO member countries have frequently praised Macedonia’s
progress in implementing defense-related reforms. U.S. officials have noted that
Macedonia’s involvement in the Adriatic Charter (see section on regional relations,
below) and participation in military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate
Macedonia’s commitment to contributing to international security and would factor

17 In this position the Macedonian government differs with local authorities in Bosnia and
Kosovo, who both support a continued external military presence on their respective
territory to provide for a secure environment.
18 Prague summit declaration, NATO Press Release (2002) 127, November 21, 2002.
19 Istanbul summit communiqué, June 28, 2004.

into NATO’s considerations.20 Macedonia hosted a NATO crisis management
exercise in January-February 2005. In May, officials from NATO and the
Macedonian government held their latest annual meeting to review Macedonia’s
progress in implementing the MAP program.
European Union Integration
A key strategic goal for Macedonia, as well as for other western Balkan
countries, is to intensify ties with the European Union and eventually gain EU
membership. In May 2004, the EU welcomed ten additional countries into the union
as full members, including Slovenia, a former republic of Yugoslavia. The EU has
confirmed in principle the prospect of additional countries entering the union in the
future. 21
At their June 2003 Thessaloniki summit, EU leaders reiterated their
“unequivocal support” to the EU aspirations of the western Balkan states and referred
to the accession process as “irreversible.” At the same time, EU leaders emphasized
the primary responsibility of the Balkan states to implement reforms in order to
address significant challenges and eventually to meet EU political and economic
entry criteria. They highlighted the region’s problems of organized crime,
corruption, and illegal immigration. EU leaders agreed to increase CARDS
(Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development, and Stabilization)
assistance to the region by 200 million euro over three years. Some critics charged
that the EU, while delivering a welcoming long-term vision, remained weak on
specific incentives or encouragement. Supporters of EU policy counter that the pull
of the EU perspective provides a powerful incentive for reforms. They also argue
there can be no shortcut to the difficult and lengthy process of comprehensive
reforms and alignment that all countries must go through in order to achieve EU
Macedonia was the first country to conclude a Stabilization and Association
Agreement (SAA) with the EU in 2001 (the SAA entered into force in April 2004).
The EU launched the Stabilization and Association process in 1999 in order to
provide a long-term integration strategy, if not a roadmap, for the five countries of
the conflict-ridden western Balkan region.22 The SAA (the key component of the
initiative) provides for increased access to EU markets and EU assistance, and
represents the first manifestation of formal association with the union, but does not
mark the start of accession negotiations. In its Stabilization and Association progress
report from March 2004, the European Commission praised evidence of political
stability in Macedonia and urged further progress in implementing remaining

20 U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman, Skopje, Macedonia,
November 6, 2003. Press availability transcript at [].
21 For additional information on EU enlargement, see CRS Report RS21344, European
Union Enlargement.
22 The countries are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Serbia and

political reforms. It noted serious economic weaknesses that pose increasing
challenges to the transition process.23
The Macedonian government formally submitted its application for EU
membership on March 22, 2004. On October 1, outgoing European Commission
President Romano Prodi delivered to Skopje a comprehensive accession
questionnaire that will provide input toward the Commission’s eventual “opinion,”
or evaluation of the country’s preparedness for EU candidacy. The Macedonian
government delivered its responses to the EU questionnaire in February 2005.
Current EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn has stated that, depending on its
level of progress, Macedonia could be granted EU candidate status by the end of
2005. Key areas of concern include judicial reforms and rule of law issues, including
Macedonia’s ability to meet standards of electoral practices. Some observers have
also expressed concern that the projected timetable for Macedonia’s accession could
be at risk as a result of the EU’s current constitutional crisis and some popular
concern in EU member states about the pace of EU enlargement.
Regional Relations and Kosovo
The Macedonian leadership has actively promoted regional cooperation and
regional approaches to common challenges like organized crime, trafficking, and
illegal immigration. It has also embraced a regional strategy for achieving economic
integration and closer ties to NATO and the EU. At the Prague NATO summit in
November 2002, the Presidents of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia proposed to
President Bush the creation of a U.S. - Adriatic Charter, modeled after the U.S. -
Baltic Charter (established in 1998). The Adriatic Charter initiative aims to deepen
regional cooperation, promote reforms, and thereby improve the collective
integration prospects of the three countries. U.S. partnership in the initiative
underscored U.S. support for the region’s ultimate goal of integrating with NATO
and the EU. Former Secretary of State Powell and the foreign ministers of the three
countries met on May 2, 2003, in Albania, to sign the Adriatic Charter, and called it
a guide toward full membership in NATO and other European institutions.24
During the 1999 Kosovo conflict, tens of thousands of Kosovar Albanian
refugees fled to Macedonia. Most returned to Kosovo swiftly after the withdrawal
of Serbian forces from the province that summer. Since then, Macedonian
governments have consistently expressed support for international efforts to stabilize
neighboring Kosovo. Macedonia has endorsed the international community’s policy
of achieving “standards before status” in Kosovo, with an emphasis on improving
stability in the province and surrounding region. Macedonian leaders have vowed
to remain neutral in upcoming anticipated talks on Kosovo’s final status, but have
urged that any outcome not become a destabilizing factor in the region. Macedonian
officials maintain concerns about security on the northern border (neighboring
Kosovo and Serbia) and consult regularly with the Serbian government and UNMIK

23 Report from the Commission. The Stabilization and Association process for South East
Europe, Third Annual Report. March 30, 2004. COM (2004) 202/2.
24 Remarks by Secretary of State Powell, Foreign Policy Association’s Annual Dinner,
Washington, DC, May 7, 2003. Transcript available at [].

and NATO personnel in Kosovo about border security. According to Macedonian
and NATO officials, the border security situation has been generally stable, although
a dispute over the demarcation of the border between Kosovo and Macedonia
remains unresolved. The Macedonian government has urged that the border
demarcation issue be resolved before the process to resolve Kosovo’s status begins.
Name Dispute25
Macedonia has been in a dispute with Greece over use of the name “Macedonia”
ever since it declared independence in 1991. Macedonia has asserted its right to use
and be recognized by its constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia. Greece has
objected to its northern neighbor’s use of the name “Macedonia,” claiming that it
usurps Greece’s heritage and implies territorial ambitions at Greece’s expense.
Macedonia entered the United Nations in 1993 under the provisional name of The
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Overcoming a stretch of tense
relations and a Greek trade embargo, Athens and Skopje signed a bilateral agreement
in September 1995 that normalized relations and settled all outstanding issues except
for the name. Since then, Macedonian and Greek representatives have met
periodically under U.N. auspices to continue consultations on the name disagreement,
but no mutually acceptable solution has yet been reached. U.S. diplomat Matthew
Nimetz has acted as the U.N. Secretary-General’s personal envoy in these talks for
the past several years.26
During the U.N. General Assembly meetings in September 2004, media reports
suggested renewed efforts to reinitiate international negotiations on the dispute. With
the completion of certain major events such as the Greek general elections, Summer
Olympic games, and the Macedonian presidential election, some observers identified
a potentially favorable window for a resolution to this dispute, especially in view of
the anticipated international focus on the status of Kosovo in 2005. Ambassador
Nimetz expressed confidence about the mutual good will for further negotiations.
On November 4, 2004 (a few days before the scheduled referendum in
Macedonia on decentralization), the U.S. State Department announced that the
United States had decided to refer to Macedonia officially as the Republic of
Macedonia. The State Department spokesman said the decision underscored the
“U.S. commitment to a permanent, multi-ethnic, democratic Macedonian state within
its existing borders” and U.S. support for the Macedonian government’s “courageous
decision to carry through with decentralization.” He emphasized that the recognition
decision was taken without prejudice to the U.N. negotiation process and was not
directed against any other country. However, the decision sparked bitter protestations
from the government of Greece. After the referendum, the U.S. spokesman praised

25 See also CRS Report RS21855, Greece Update, by Carol Migdalovitz.
26 The U.N.-sponsored process was mandated by U.N. Security Council Resolutions 817 and

845 (1993).

the outcome and expressed the Department’s belief that U.S. recognition contributed
to the Macedonian voters’ choice to support the Ohrid framework document.27
Despite the lack of a negotiated resolution, the ongoing dispute appeared to have
little impact on other aspects of Greek or European policy vis-à-vis Macedonia since
1995. Greece is a key trading and investment partner with Macedonia and has a
growing stake in Macedonia’s stability. Within the EU, Greece has acted in the past
as a proponent of EU engagement in and assistance to Macedonia. During its six-
month tenure holding the EU Presidency in the first half of 2003, Greece sought to
add impetus to the EU’s approach in the Balkans and promote EU efforts to improve
Balkan security and stability. The Greek presidency’s efforts culminated in the June
2003 Thessaloniki summit of EU and western Balkan leaders, which issued a joint
declaration on promoting the security and eventual EU integration of the Balkan
states. In the aftermath of the shift in U.S. policy on recognition of Macedonia,
however, the Greek government reiterated that a mutually agreeable solution on the
name dispute must be found before Greece would approve a decision in either the EU
or NATO on Macedonia’s accession.28 Officials in both institutions have pressed for
the parties to come to a mutually acceptable solution as soon as possible.29
Ambassador Nimetz has continued to hold talks with Greek and Macedonian
representatives. In April 2005, Nimetz confirmed that he had submitted a
compromise “set of ideas” for consideration by the parties. The Nimetz proposal
reportedly included a change in Macedonia’s internationally recognized name to
“Republika Makedonija-Skopje” (untranslated), as well as a set of principles guiding
cooperative relations between Greece and Macedonia. In response, Greek officials
said that they would accept the proposal as a basis for further negotiations.
Macedonian officials called the proposal “unacceptable” and rejected the notion of
changing its constitutional name. They maintain that a resolution to the dispute
should follow a dual formula, or one in which an agreement with Greece on a name
would apply only to bilateral relations. Both sides agreed to continue bilateral talks
and Nimetz has since held further consultations, without any breakthrough.
Other U.S. Policy Issues
Several additional U.S. policy priorities relate directly or indirectly to
Macedonia. For example, Macedonia has played a small but symbolic and steady
role with regard to the global war on terror and evolving situation in Iraq. Prior to
the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, foreign ministers from the ten-nation
Vilnius Group of NATO candidate countries, including Macedonia, signed a joint
statement supporting U.S.- led efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein. Their position
contrasted sharply with the opposition expressed by France and Germany to military
action in Iraq. In the post-war environment, the United States has sought to increase
international participation in peacekeeping efforts in Iraq. Macedonia, along with

27 State Department regular news briefing, November 4, 2004 and November 8, 2004.
28 Athens news agency, November 5, 2004.
29 For example see EU Council meeting of April 25, 2005 (8036/05 Presse 87).

most countries in east central Europe and Eurasia, agreed to send forces to the U.S.-
led international coalition. A special forces unit of about 30 Macedonian troops
currently serves in Iraq. About 20 Macedonian troops also serve in the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, commanded by NATO. U.S.
officials have frequently commended Macedonia’s support to the United States in the
global war on terrorism, including Defense Secretary Rumsfeld during a visit to
Macedonia in October 2004.
Without specifying individual country preferences, U.S. officials have expressed
continued support for NATO’s Open Door policy with regard to future candidate
countries. With NATO’s latest round of enlargement in 2004, the western Balkan
states are now surrounded by NATO members. The United States has encouraged
Macedonia’s participation in NATO’s Membership Action Plan, which helps
candidate countries prepare for NATO membership. U.S. participation in the
Adriatic Charter initiative reflects U.S. support for efforts by Macedonia, Croatia,
and Albania to advance their integration into NATO.
The United States maintains targeted sanctions against extremist individuals and
groups that threaten peace and stability in the Balkans. Executive Order 13304
blocks the assets of 150 designated persons and groups (mostly from Bosnia) and
prohibits most transactions with them.30 The list extends to many dozens of
individuals identified from Macedonia and other western Balkan countries and
includes the Albanian National Army, which the Administration has labeled a
criminal extremist group. The United States may also impose sanctions against
countries that fail to take measures to counter transnational trafficking of persons.
The western Balkan region is a transit and destination point for trafficked women and
children. The State Department’s 2005 report on global trafficking in persons
designated Macedonia to be a “Tier 2” country, or one whose government does not
fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The
report dropped Macedonia from Tier 1 in 2004 to Tier 2 because of its “lack of
progress in strengthening its anti-trafficking efforts.”31
The United States continues to provide bilateral assistance to Macedonia under
the Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act. Originally authorized to
assist transition efforts of the central European countries, SEED Act assistance is
now almost exclusively targeted on countries in the western Balkan region.
Macedonia was allocated about $39 million SEED Act funds in FY2004 and $34
million in FY2005. The Administration requested $39 million in SEED assistance
for FY2006. The United States also provides security assistance (FMF and IMET),
anti-terrorism assistance, and a Peace Corps program to Macedonia. U.S. programs
in Macedonia seek to facilitate and strengthen the reform process outlined by the
Framework Agreement, and furthering Macedonia’s transition to a market-based
economy, democratic consolidation, and integration into NATO and the EU.

30 Executive Order 13304 of May 28, 2003, Federal Register, Vol. 68, No. 103, May 29,

2003, p. 32315.

31 The 2005 State Department report can be found at [

Macedonia has nondiscriminatory trading status (NTR) with the United States and
is eligible for Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits.
Another priority for the Bush Administration has been to secure bilateral
agreements with countries that are parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC)
on exempting U.S. personnel from possible extradition to the ICC. Congress has
conditioned the provision of U.S. military assistance to non-allied countries on such
exemption agreements (dubbed “Article 98” agreements after a provision in the
ICC’s Rome Statute). The Macedonian government concluded a so-called “Article
98” exemption agreement with the United States in June 2003; as a result, President
Bush waived the prohibition on U.S. military assistance with respect to Macedonia.32
The Administration obligated about $8 million in Foreign Military Financing and
$0.7 million in International Military Education and Training program funds for
Macedonia in FY2004; and $6.5 million in FMF and $0.65 in IMET for FY2005. In
contrast, the European Union, whose members strongly support the ICC, has opposed
the U.S. effort to secure these bilateral agreements and expressed regret about
Macedonia’s agreement with the United States. Macedonia’s actions on this issue
suggest to some observers continued strong U.S. political influence over
Macedonia’s government.
Issues for Congress
Many of the policy issues outlined above are of direct or indirect concern to
Congress. Previous Congresses have generally supported, and occasionally insisted
on, shifting greater international responsibility for peacekeeping and reconstruction
in the Balkans to the European Union. While Members of Congress may be divided
on the question of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Bosnia or Kosovo, the
handover of the Macedonia mission from NATO to EU hands in early 2003 was
seemingly uncontroversial. More controversial was the Administration’s move in
November 2004 to recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name. For example,
Senator Sarbanes issued a statement calling the decision inopportune and counter-
productive.33 Some Members have urged the parties to reach a mutually acceptable
A primary issue of regional interest in Congress is the future of Kosovo. Many
Members have gone on record in support of independence for Kosovo, and such an
outcome may carry significant implications for neighboring Macedonia. Congress
is also interested in the future of NATO enlargement, including NATO’s decisions
on future candidates and the ability of candidates states such as Macedonia to meet
NATO standards for membership and contribute meaningfully to the alliance.
Legislation. In the first session of the 108th Congress, the House passed
H.Con.Res. 209, a concurrent resolution commending the signing of the United
States-Adriatic Charter, on June 23 by a vote of 381 to 1. The Senate agreed to

32 For more information on the Article 98 agreements, see CRS Report RS21612, East
Central Europe: Status of International Criminal Court (ICC) Exemption Agreements and
U.S. Military Assistance, by Julie Kim.
33 Press release, November 4, 2004, available at [].

H.Con.Res. 209 with amendments on July 29. In February, the Senate passed
S.Con.Res. 4, commending the support of 18 European nations, including
Macedonia, for Iraq’s full compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441,
and their expressions of solidarity with the United States. In the second session, the
House passed a resolution (H.Res. 558) in March 2004 that welcomed the accession
of seven countries into NATO, called for the process of NATO enlargement to
remain open, and recommended a NATO summit to review the applications of
Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia by 2007. The House and Senate passed separate
resolutions (H.Res. 540 and S.Res. 314) in March 2004 expressing condolences for
the untimely death of Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and commemorating
his leadership. In November 2004, the House introduced H.Con.Res. 530, which
encouraged Greece and Macedonia to continue negotiations to determine a mutually
acceptable official name for Macedonia.