26 June 2013

Skopje hosts international conference on Electric cars

The first-ever conference on electric vehicles titled "Electric Vehicles - New Mobility Trends" was organised Thursday by the association for electric vehicles "Elektromobilnost Makedonija" at the Skopje-based Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.
Guests from Slovenia and Bulgaria, representatives of the Ministry of Economy and the Electricity Transmission System Operator of Macedonia (MEPSO) and innovators delivered speeches at the conference where the first declaration on e-mobility was adopted.

President of NGO "Elektromobilnost Makedonija", Kiril Minanov said the goal was not only to design electric vehicles, but also to transform urban environments.

"Provided that we divide it in two, the electric part will be dealt by engineers in which faculties and institutes will be involved, whereas the second will cover the areas of anthropology, urbanisation, traffic and safety," he said.

Several electric cars and an electric scooter developed for the first time in Macedonia were displayed in the faculty lobby.

"Elektromobilnost Makedonija" aims at initiating an interest in Macedonia in electric vehicles by promoting fresh trends in urban transportation, sustainable transport in Macedonia and by raising awareness on new technologies.

Macedonia's investment opportunities presented in Kaliningrad

A Macedonian business delegation, led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, presented Wednesday Macedonia's investment potentials and economic climate at a business forum held in Russia's Kaliningrad region.
The business forum brought together representatives of manufacturing companies, tourism and agriculture from Kaliningrad - a region in Russia experiencing an intensive economic development as a result of, amongst other things, the status of a free economic zone, the Government said in a press release.

PM Gruevski invited investors from Kaliningrad and Russia to visit Macedonia and to learn first-hand about the conditions and benefits for investing.

Russia, he said, is one of the most important business partners of Macedonia and the countries' trade exchange has been increased in the past decade. These business forums offer a great opportunity to establish new contacts in a bid to strengthen relations.

Macedonia has revoked visas for Russian citizens. Several Russian companies, including Protekt Group, Solvej Group, Lukoil and Grishko, have invested in Macedonia after recognising the favourable conditions for running a business.
The President of the Foreign Investors Association in the Kaliningrad region, Stefano Vlahovic urged the businessmen to examine the opportunities offered in Macedonia. "Macedonia and the Kaliningrad region could establish more concrete relations in the field of investments and trade of commodities," he said.

Deputy PM for economic affairs Vladimir Pesevski presented opportunities for the development and enhancement of tourism cooperation emphasising that the Macedonian Governemnt was allocating subsidies to attract tourists from Russia.
The potentials for investments in agriculture and manufacturing were outlined by the minister for attracting foreign investments, Bill Pavleski. "The Government is making many efforts to strengthen the investment potentials to pave the way for accelerated development."

Today's business forum was organised by the Chamber of Commerce and the Foreign Investors Association in the Kaliningrad region.

21 June 2013

Ohrid Lake Day observed

Ohrid Lake Day was observed with an event in Ohrid on Friday.

Mayors of the three towns along the Ohrid Lake coast - Ohrid, Struga and Albania's Pogradec - attended the event.

In 2000, the board for the lake's protection declared June 21 - the first day of summer and the year's longest day - as the Ohrid Lake Day.

The observances also included the 4. recreational bicycle race around the lake.

12 June 2013

Heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms today

Mostly cloudy with rainfalls and thunders and strong north winds in the afternoon. Heavy rainfalls are expected in eastern regions.

The temperatures will range from 18C to 27C.

Similar weather in Skopje with temperatures up to 24C.

11 June 2013

EVN Macedonia to invest over billion euros in distribution network

EVN Macedonia in the next twenty years will invest over one billion euros in new energy capacities in the distribution system, it is envisaged by EVN's Master Plan outlined on Tuesday.

The projects included in the Master Plan will be realised throughout Macedonia in an effort to improve the quality of energy distribution and supply.
"The one billion-euro investments mean better quality of the electric distribution network and energy efficiency of the system. Energy demand in the coming period will rise by two percent and our investments will address these predictions. By implementing the Master Plan, we are going to continue upgrading, reconstructing and modernising the network," said Werner Hengst - chairman of the EVN Macedonia Executive Board.

He noted that EVN Macedonia's commitment to improving the distribution system could be made possible after establishing a partnership and cooperation with all relevant institutions and the business sector.
The deputy PM in charge of economic affairs, Vladimir Pesevski said that the collaboration with energy companies played an important role in improving the business climate.
"One of the basic factors of an efficient economy is the existence of a stable and quality energy supply... This Master Plan is a chance to increase energy capacity for consumers. It demonstrates that Macedonia is a favourable destination for investments and that the business climate is attractive," Pesevski stated.

Minister of Economy Valon Saraqini noted that energy investments were the most crucial incentive of economic growth.
"The Ministry of Economy and the Government recently have adopted series of measures aimed at advancing the business climate. The foundation of every business is the access to energy and quality supply. Our task is to create an adequate energy policy. Therefore, a strategy for the development of the energy sector until 2020 has been enacted," Saraqini said.

With the Master Plan, he added, energy efficiency will be boosted.

The Master Plan was developed in the past five years by EVN Macedonia expert teams.

EVN Macedonia first entered the country's market seven years ago. In the meantime, the company has invested 196 million euros in the construction of a new network and reconstruction of the existing one.

05 June 2013

Skopje's new theater

investments announced in Petrovec industrial zone

A plant for production of styrofoam and PVC elements, a logistics center for product processing, a center for storing precious materials and a storage are the new facilities which will be built in the Petrovec industrial zone nearby Skopje.
The investors who got locations for construction of facilities in the industrial zone were presented Wednesday with building permits by Minister of Transport Mile Janakieski and the mayor of Petrovec municipality, Borce Mitevski.

"This move is another confirmation of the positive policies conducted to attract new investments," Janakieski stated.

He added that the procedures for obtaining building permission had been radically mitigated and were issued electronically since the beginning of June.

04 June 2013

Macedonia's Intl Trade reaches $3.4B in first four months

International commodity trade in the first four months of 2013 was 3.406.495.000 US dollars. The export value of goods in Macedonia in the period between January and April was 1.309.912 thousand US dollars, and the import value was 2.096.583 thousand US dollars.
Import coverage by export was 62.5%. The trade deficit in the period January-April was 786.671 thousand US dollars, according to data published by the State Statistical Office.
Trade exchange according to products shows that in the exports the most significant products are supported catalysts with  precious metal or precious metal compounds as the active substance, ferro-nickel, iron and steel products (flat-rolled products),  clothes, and petroleum oil preparations. In the imports, the most significant products are crude petroleum oils, platinum and platinum alloys, unwrought or in powder form, nickel ores and concentrates and electricity.

Between January and April, the most important export partners were the EU's 27 countries (71.0%) and Western Balkan  countries (19.5%), while the most important import partners were the EU's 27 countries (57.2%) and other countries (12.6%).

According to the total volume of international commodity trade, the Macedonia's most important trade partners are Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Serbia and Italy (48.8% of the total international commodity trade).

01 June 2013

Macedonia goes Digital

Starting from today, the Macedonian citizens will watch television program through a digital signal, which will enable a crystal clear picture, impeccable sound and new interactive services. The main difference from the analog broadcast, which will go down in history after six decades is the use of one frequency channel for the transmission of several television programs at the same time.

The digital signal of national and regional TV stations across the country was formally set into operation last night at Skopje square 'Macedonia'. Minister of Information Society and Administration Ivo Ivanovski, CEO of the telecommunication operator ONE Ciril Kafol,  Director of the Agency for Electronic Communications Robert Ordanoski and Broadcasting Council President Zoran Trajcevski addressed the ceremony.  

"Macedonia is the first country in the region to introduce the digital signal, which is a significant step to professionalization of media standards and great success for the country," Ivanovski said at the ceremony.

The shutdown of the analog signal will release a greater frequency range, which will enable a 16-time increase of television programs, from the present 49 to 400. The digitalization enables the introduction of 4G (fourth generation of broadband mobile networks) which will provide bigger Internet access speed. There will also be multi-channel sound i.e. additional services such as subtitles in several languages or options for selecting the desired language, electronic TV guide with broadcast time slots and program description up to seven days in advance, reception of the television services with other “smart” devices (PC, phone, laptop, tablets, etc.). The possibilities of new theme channels, faster teletext, 3D TV will be improved, as well as possibilities for interactive television through an Internet connection, information services (datacasting), buying and paying from the home, etc. With the digitalization, the weaknesses of the analog television such as the limited number of frequencies and the susceptibility to interferences and loss of signal or its doubling, which was characterized with so-called 'shadows and snow' will go down in history.
The telecommunication operator ONE has been chosen as operator through a public tender and it will emit the services of the commercial national and regional televisions through two multiplexes with a digital signal. Recently the parliament passed the changes and additions to the Broadcast Law, which will further specify the details about the permits of the TV stations and the agreements they should make with ONE prior to starting the digital signal. ONE reduced the prices about the fee it will charge for digital broadcast by 36% from the initial fee from the tender. That means that the national TV stations will pay ONE 99.840 euro per year and the regional TV stations – 13.056.
No program can be watched on the old TV sets without the installation of receivers.

Those households that have an older model of a TV set when the digitalization starts will only be able to watch television through a receiver of the digital signal, the so-called set-top-box. Their connection to the TV sets will perform a conversion of the analog into digital signal. Those who want to enjoy high resolution TV must have HD Ready or Full HD TV sets with an option for decompression of the digital TV signal from the MPEG-4 format.
Citizens that are watching TV through the cable operators, Boom TV, Max TV don't have to worry about anything as they will be able to watch TV as usual. If a new TV set with a built-in tuner, it is necessary that it supports DVB-T and MPEG-4 and it is desirable that it is HD Ready or Full HD.

According to the latest research of the Broadcast Council, 23% of the total population in Macedonia receives the signal through an analog TV antenna. They will have to purchase digital set-top-boxes in order to watch TV broadcast through a digital terrestrial TV network. The set-top-box can be bought in every store of the ONE operator and the TV and audio equipment stores. If it is bought from ONE, the end-user can choose whether he wants just a set-top-box to watch the home TV channels, or he will subscribe to one of the services that ONE is offering (with foreign TV channels included).
The digitalization process of the public TV services started at the beginning of last year through the public enterprise 'Macedonian broadcast', which was assigned with two multiplexes, built the infrastructure and is already distributing the DVB-T signal to the national TV services. The current public fee for the broadcasting tax is independent from the digitalization process and it remains in force.

The digitalization process has been completed, or is currently being implemented in most European countries. If Macedonia doesn't switch to digital television, it will not only technologically lag behind the other countries, but the digital signal from the neighboring countries will impede the current analog signal here.

The digital television standard is the European DVB-T standard, which is the most widespread in the world. There will be broadcast of analog and digital TV at the same time for a certain period. The release of the frequencies from the analog broadcast will enable the functioning of the other multiplexes until it is fully shut down by 2015.