North Macedonia gained its independence peacefully from Yugoslavia in 1991 under the name of "Macedonia." Greek objection to the new country’s name, insisting it implied territorial pretensions to the northern Greek province of Macedonia, and democratic backsliding for several years stalled the country’s movement toward Euro-Atlantic integration. Immediately after Macedonia declared independence, Greece sought to block Macedonian efforts to gain UN membership if the name "Macedonia" was used. The country was eventually admitted to the UN in 1993 as "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," and at the same time it agreed to UN-sponsored negotiations on the name dispute. In 1995, Greece lifted a 20-month trade embargo and the two countries agreed to normalize relations, but the issue of the name remained unresolved and negotiations for a solution continued. Over time, the US and over 130 other nations recognized Macedonia by its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia. Ethnic Albanian grievances over perceived political and economic inequities escalated into a conflict in 2001 that eventually led to the internationally brokered Ohrid Framework Agreement, which ended the fighting and established guidelines for constitutional amendments and the creation of new laws that enhanced the rights of minorities. In January 2018, the government adopted a new law on languages, which elevated the Albanian language to an official language at the national level, with the Macedonian language remaining the sole official language in international relations. Relations between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians remain complicated, however.
In June 2018, Macedonia and Greece signed the Prespa Agreement whereby Macedonia agreed to change its name to North Macedonia. Following ratification by both countries, the agreement went in to force on 12 February 2019. North Macedonia then joined NATO in 2020 after amending its constitution per the deal and opened EU accession talks in 2022 after a two-year veto by Bulgaria over identity, language, and historical disputes. North Macedonia has been an EU candidate since 2005. A nearly three-year political crisis from 2014 to 2017 began after the 2014 legislative and presidential election, and escalated in 2015 when the opposition party began releasing wiretapped material that revealed alleged widespread government corruption and abuse. The country still faces challenges, including fully implementing reforms to overcome years of democratic backsliding, stimulating economic growth and development, and fighting organized crime and corruption.
Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.Definitions and Notes
NOTE: The information regarding North Macedonia on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of North Macedonia 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about North Macedonia 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.