FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is located in Southeastern Europe, north of Greece. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Macedonia fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th and 7th centuries. During this period, large groups of Slavic people migrated to the Balkan region. The Ottoman Turks conquered the territory in the 15th century, and after more than four centuries of Turkish rule, the region was split between Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia in 1913. Macedonia became one of the constituent republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia following World War II, and gained its independence peacefully from Yugoslavia in 1991. The country was spared the inter-ethnic violence that raged elsewhere in the Balkans following the break-up of Yugoslavia, but it came close to civil war a decade after independence. Some ethnic Albanians, angered by perceived political and economic inequities, launched an insurgency in 2001 that eventually won the support of the majority of Macedonia's Albanian population and led to the internationally-brokered Framework Agreement, which ended the fighting by establishing a set of new laws enhancing the rights of minorities. At independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia was the least developed of the Yugoslav republics. For more than a decade after independence, economic growth was sluggish, in part due to external shocks. Hyperinflation in the early 1990s, trade embargoes by Greece over the dispute about the country’s constitutional name and flag, regional conflict, and the 2001 internal security crisis compounded the problems of restructuring and creating a market economy. Economic growth has picked up in recent years supported by improvements in the business climate and a surge in foreign direct investment.
In recent times, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece have been embroiled in an ongoing imbroglio over the usage of the historic name "Macedonia." Greece has said it would work to prevent FYROM from entering the European Union and NATO unless it conceded to its demands over the name Macedonia, which Greece says properly belongs to its culture and should be distinguished from the Slavic terrain of the same name. To that end, FYROM has petitioned the International Court of Justice at The Hague to consider its case in this regard. But in 2008, animosity between the two countries contributed to Greece's decision to thwart the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from joining NATO. Greece has also warned it would continue to work to prevent the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia from joining the EU.