Republic of Macedonia Country Report
Despite improvements, North Macedonia's bureaucracy remains complex and inefficient. Corruption in the public administration and judiciary is likely to remain an obstacle for businesses. Labour legislation favours employers. Strikes usually affect individual companies and are unlikely to spread across sectors. Major cargo disruption due to industrial action in the transport sector is unlikely. Despite increases in large-scale investment programmes, the transport infrastructure is still relatively underdeveloped. International funding has a significant role in financing infrastructural projects. The country is likely to continue receiving EU funds for transport infrastructure projects.
The risk of low-level terrorist attacks by ethnic Albanian militants has decreased. Some members of the local ethnic Albanian community have adopted extremist Islamist views, however generally the Muslim population is moderate and pro-Western. There have been no reports on new recruits for extremist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq, however several foreign fighters have reportedly returned to areas around Skopje. Therefore, the risk of targeting of government and police buildings and personnel exists. On the other hand, the likelihood of well-planned Jihadist attacks is still low. Law enforcement and intelligence capacity to tackle terrorist activities in the case of returnees is still limited, but is likely to improve.
Organised crime remains an issue in North Macedonia, with criminal groups engaging in racketeering of local businesses, particularly in the northwest of the country. The country sits on the Balkan heroin route that moves narcotics from Turkey into Bulgaria, through North Macedonia and onwards into Kosovo, from where it continues by land into Western Europe, or from the Albanian coast to Italy by speedboat. Separately, human trafficking and smuggling (for illegal immigration and prostitution), stolen cars, cigarette and weapons smuggling are also flourishing. Groups such as the Albanian National Army (AKSh), a pan-Albanian radical paramilitary group, are funded from the proceeds of cross-border criminal activity and are often quasi-criminal in nature. Violent crime is uncommon. Pickpocketing is the most acute risks for foreign travellers.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
It should be noted that Macedonia is situated in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes. Forest fires frequently occur in the summer. Flooding can also occur.
Driving conditions in Macedonia are relatively precarious as not only is reckless driving common, but roads are frequently uneven and poorly lit, especially in rural areas. Furthermore, the majority of roads in mountainous regions of the country do not have guardrails, despite the presence of sharp drops; in winter, snow and ice exacerbate these hazardous driving conditions.
Travelers are advised against using public transportation, which is aging and overcrowded.
Both adverse weather conditions and high levels of pollution may cause flight delays or cancelations during winter (see HEALTH section).
Macedonia has several different climates, Mediterranean, continental, or mountainous, depending on the region. Temperatures range greatly between winter and summer.
In the mountains, summers and falls are hot and dry while winters are cold (0°C) and snowy. The valley regions enjoy a milder climate.
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