Republic of Macedonia

Macedonia Country Guide

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Planned power plants in the Balkans need review as EU adopts tougher pollution standards

3 May 2017 — The European Union has...approved an updated set of binding standards for power plants, which include new, stricter pollution limits. The standards, known as the LCP BREF...will help prevent thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution from coal power plants, by restricting emissions of sulphur dioxide, dust, nitrous oxides, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride and mercury...[A]s soon as the new standards are published in the EU’s Official Journal later this year, they will also apply to new plants across most of the region. Therefore, governments in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – where planned new coal power plants are most likely to be affected by the updated BREF – need to revisit investment plans to ensure the project designs are indeed in line with the new standards and consider the possible financial implications.

New guide to help garment industry implement living wages by Fair Wear Foundation

5 Dec 2016 — "Fair Wear Foundation launches innovative guide book on living wages", 5 Dec 2016 How can garment brands make real progress on living wages? This complex question lies at the heart of FWF’s latest publication, ‘Living Wages: An Explorer’s Notebook’. The innovative guide for garment brands provides initial steps to answer this question, based on real-life experience...defines nine obstacles that stand in the way of living wages, and offers some solutions for overcoming them. Five frontrunner FWF members showcase what wage pilots can look like and share real-life stories of how they managed to increase workers’ wages by effectively involving them in the process...the cases offer proof that working around roadblocks to living wages is indeed possible...Garment workers need higher wages and there is no single, simple solution for it.   

Antwort Deichmann

4 May 2016 — ...In dem Beitrag wird eingeräumt, dass die Lieferanten sowohl in Rumänien als auch in Mazedonien mehr als den gesetzlichen Mindestlohn bezahlen. Gleichzeitig kommen Kritiker zu Worte, die dieZahlung eines existenzsichernden Lohns („living wage“) fordern. Wir stimmen mit den Kritikern überein, dass festgelegte Mindestlöhne in einigen Ländern und Regionen nicht immer für eine menschenwürdige Existenz ausreichen. Daher verlangen wir von unseren Produktionspartnern eine ausreichende Entlohnung und machen dies auch mit unserer Forderung nach einem existenzsichernden Einkommen in unserem Verhaltenskodex deutlich. Im Rahmen der regelmäßig durchgeführten BSCI-Audits werden auch die existenzsichernden Löhne berechnet und bewertet. Dazu gibt es seitens BSCI klare Definitionen, wie der Auditor diese zu kalkulieren und zu bewerten hat. Nach den uns vorliegenden Informationen zur Berechnung der existenzsichernden Einkommen, die vor Ort gemäß den BSCI-Richtlinien für der Region Bihore in Rumänien und Stip in Mazedonien ermittelt wurden, entsprechen die gezahlten Löhne in beiden Unternehmen den nach BSCI-Richtlinie ermittelten existenzsichernden Löhnen oder sind sogar höher als diese. Zur Ermittlung der Werte wurden auch die Angaben der Mitarbeiter zu den monatlichen Ausgaben für Lebensmittel und Kleidung berücksichtigt...

Seven of 15 former Soviet countries have become “consolidated authoritarian regimes”, says new report; fall in oil prices linked to lack of transparency, accountability

13 Apr 2016 — "Nations in tansit 2016: Europe and Eurasia brace for impact", 12 April 2016 While illiberal nationalism rose in Europe, with Central European leaders closing borders and denouncing refugees and migrants as a threat to the nation, financial pressures brought about by falling oil prices and worker remittances undermined the economies of Russia and most former Soviet states. The risk is that these separate developments could converge, with the collapse of Eurasian states adding to Europe’s growing list of troubles...In the Eurasian half of the Nations in Transit region, the collapse in global commodity prices, especially oil, drove Russia into recession and triggered similarly desperate currency crises and budget shortfalls in the petrostates of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. The decline rippled through the non-energy economies of the Eurasian periphery that are dependent on Russia through subsidies and migrant labor: Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan...Seven of the 15 countries of the former Soviet Union are now consolidated authoritarian regimes at the very bottom of the Nations in Transit scale, with Democracy Scores approaching the worst-possible 7.00. Over 224 million people live in these countries, accounting for 77 percent of the total population of the former Soviet Union and 55 percent of the total population of the Nations in Transit coverage area.

Vodafone response

6 Oct 2015 — As a company, Vodafone believes that diversity and freedom of individuals to move between countries strengthens societies and economies. However, European nations’ individual responses to the current refugee challenge are a matter for sovereign governments and their people...[W]e believe our company has a responsibility to utilise communication technologies to address some of the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges and to enhance people's quality of life. The Vodafone Foundation has worked with UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) since 2013 to improve education for young refugees living in long-term refugee camps in countries where Vodafone operates...Our operating companies and Foundations in Europe and adjacent markets are also responding to the refugee situation at a local level. 

Macedonia: Trade union organizes training on workplace health & safety

25 Nov 2014 — "Macedonia: SGIP continues to build shop stewards knowledge on safety and health at work", 18 November 2014 In the frame of SGIP’s on-going campaign "Building roads without injuries and fatalities", the union organised a campaign training for 33 safety and health representatives involved in the implementation of big infrastructure projects like the Corridor projects, Corridor X and Corridor VIII, financed by multilateral development banks and Chinese EXIM Bank and multinationals…Among the key issues addressed were the rights and obligations on safety and health according to the national Labour Law, the role of health and safety representatives at work, working conditions in mobile sites, risk assessment, hazards at workplace, fire protection and personal protective equipment. The activity supported the SGIP advocacy and campaign work on the promotion of ILO C.167 on health and safety in Construction…

Conference on Business and Human Rights to take place on May 12th, 2014 [Skopje, Macedonia]

7 May 2014 — The Center for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation “Studiorum” organizes a Conference “Business and Human Rights” on the 12th of May, 12.30-15.30h at the University American College – Skopje in Skopje. The conference is envisaged as a parallel country event to the annual Global Compact event on Children’s Rights and Business Principles scheduled to take place on the same date in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the event is to open a discussion in Macedonia on this internationally very hot issue, as it is still very much overlooked in this national context, and as the links between business and Human Rights are not recognized, nor are some issues identified as resulting from this relationship and interplay. Moreover, the UN Guiding Principles are rarely talked about, mentioned or even known in the country, even among Human Rights activists. This is why Studiorum decided to do a translation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Macedonian language, and which will be promoted and distributed at this event...The registration for this event is open until Friday, May 09th, 2014. If you wish to attend this event, please state your interest by phone (+389(02)3065837) or by e-mail (to biljana[at]studiorum.org.mk ).

Amnesty International documents: Macedonia

24 Feb 2014

EBRD environmental policy breaches on hydro plants confirmed by internal investigation

25 Feb 2014 — The EBRD has failed to properly assess 3 hydro projects it has approved for financing in Macedonia, Croatia and Georgia, according to bank internal investigations initiated after formal complaints by Bankwatch member groups. NGOs caution that...these improper assessments are a symptom of...a tendency to assume that all environmental damage can be ‘managed’, which from a business point of view is much more convenient than admitting that some projects simply should not go ahead. A body inside the EBRD created to investigate to what extent decisions of the bank comply with the institution’s environmental and social policy, the Projects Complaints Mechanism (PCM), recently released three separate reports looking at the EBRD’s decisions to finance three hydropower plants: Boskov Most in Macedonia (1), Ombla in Croatia (2) and Paravani In Georgia (3). In all three cases, the EBRD was found to have violated its own policies by improperly assessing the projects’ impact on biodiversity before committing to them and by failing to implement procedures that would ensure meaningful public participation in the decisions about the future of the projects...

Dirty power plants in Europe's neighbourhood set to become EU priority

25 Feb 2014 — ...Several environmentally damaging coal and hydropower projects across the Western Balkans, Ukraine and Moldova are likely to be included...on a priority list of projects of the European Commission-backed Energy Community, meaning they will be fast-tracked for financing over the next years. The Energy Community is meant to integrate EU and Neighbouring countries energy systems. Among the projects submitted for prioritisation by Neighbouring EU countries members of the Energy Community, 15 have been identified by Bankwatch as prone to causing serious harm to the climate, environment and health. These include the Kosova e Re lignite power plant in Kosovo, three lignite plants including Kolubara B in Serbia, and two new coal units in western Ukraine - Burshtyn and Dobrotvir - that would be aimed mostly at electricity exports to the EU, while leaving health and environmental costs to local population. Several hydropower plants in Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina...are also on the list...The selected projects will be allowed to undergo a fast-track approval process on the national level, which may mean the concerned public might not be consulted thoroughly before approval. Despite repeated requests by NGOs and local groups to see a potential list of projects approved for prioritisation, the Energy Community has refused to disclose any information to date.