Country sheet Macedonia

The Republic of Macedonia is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It shares its borders with one EU Schengen state, Greece, one EU non-Schengen state, Bulgaria, and three non-EU Schengen states, Albania, Kosovo and Serbia. Even if the Republic of Macedonia applied for EU membership in 2004 and was granted the status of candidate country in 2005 [1], it has still not become a member state of the EU due to some difficulties link with the Macedonian-Greek conflict [2].

Little know in Western Europe, the Republic of Macedonia was suddenly highly visible in the media in the context of the so-called "refugee crisis" [3] in 2015-2016, when larger groups of individuals in migration [4] arrived in Europe through the "Balkan routes". Nevertheless, the importance of the migration of human beings in the History of this country should also be reminded. Indeed, from Alexander the Great to the dislocation of the former Yugoslavia, passing by the Ottoman Empire, the country, in its current borders, faced several displacements of population. Since its independence in 1991, the Republic of Macedonia has hosted refugees with the arrival of refugees from Bosnia-and Herzegovina and Croatia. And a further influx,of significant proportions, was experienced in 1999 during the Kosovo conflict. Thus, the country – whose population is estimated around 2 million of inhabitants – is characterized by the presence of several minorities: Albanians at around 25 percent, followed by Turks, Romani, Serbs, for the most important minorities [5].

In the last recent years, the country was also characterized by an important emigration of young Macedonian to other countries [6]. Thus, regarding all of these displacements and movements of population, the Republic of Macedonia can be defined as a country of immigration for some other nationalities in the Balkan [7] and a country of emigration. But since the early 2000’s, it is also more and more defined as a country of transit from EU’s point of view. Indeed, since the early 2000’s and the "closure" of borders in the south of the EU [8], the "Balkans’ routes" are more and more used. In this context and due to its geographical situation, the Republic of Macedonia has been holding a special place in terms of "mixed migration" and EU policies. Sharing its borders with Greece on the one hand and Serbia and Bulgaria on the other hand, but also because of its proximity to the Aegean Sea (see map above), the Republic of Macedonia is a privileged way to reach the EU [9]. Nevertheless, in 2015 the Republic of Macedonia became more and more visible, in the context of the so called refugee crisis (...)