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North Macedonia

Bilateral development cooperation with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia began in 1992, shortly after the country gained independence. Germany is the second largest bilateral donor.

GIZ has maintained an office in Skopje since 2007, in a building it shares with KfW Development Bank and the Goethe Institute's liaison office. Currently 43 national and four international employees and four integrated specialists working in the country (as of 31.12.2018).

In early 2012, the European Commission launched a High Level Accession Dialogue (HLAD) with the North Macedonian Government. The dialogue is promoting reform despite the lack of a fixed date for the accession negotiations. In its progress report of October 2013, the Commission of the European Union (EU) noted good progress with regard to North Macedonia’s EU convergence and, for the fifth time since 2009, recommended the opening of accession negotiations.

The North Macedonian economy has also suffered in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis, with exports, in particular, having declined. Nevertheless, the banking sector has proved robust.

A special effort is required if the country is to reduce its unemployment rate of 30 per cent – which is very high even by regional standards – and to bring the low standard of living more into line with EU standards. Functioning free-market institutions and the rule of law are prerequisites for EU accession and for a business sector capable of withstanding competitive pressure in the common European internal market.

Current bilateral cooperation activities with North Macedonia focus on the following priority areas:

  • sustainable economic development
  • democratisation and civil society.

GIZ is promoting regional and municipal economic development, and supporting the autonomous implementation of EU-compliant policies geared to balanced regional development in North Macedonia. In the context of EU convergence, GIZ is supporting capacity development as well as strengthening the performance and coordination capacities of North Macedonia’s Secretariat for EU Affairs.