Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK
Business: The Economy
Factories lie idle as markets are closed off
By Nils Blythe reporting from Kosovo for BBC1's Business Breakfast
The refugee camps in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia have shrunk to a fraction of their size at the height of the Kosovo conflict.
The arrival of thousands of refugees had a huge impact here in Macedonia. It is a country with its own uneasy balance between the ethnic Macedonians and a large minority of Albanians.
And even now most of the refugees have gone home, the effects of the Kosovo crisis are still being felt throughout the Macedonian economy.
OHIS is one of the largest companies in Macedonia, making and exporting plastics around the Balkans.
"Before the crisis we had about 3,800 who were employed and after the crisis because we stopped several plants in our group of factories we had 2,600 people at home," says Jorgo Cuka.
"There are a lot of social tensions in the country because according to the contract with the trade union we pay them 50% from the normal salary. This is a big problem for the company because we are going to pay them without any production. But it is a big problem for the people because they cannot survive on 50% of their salary," he added.
Even before the Kosovo crisis, many families struggled to find work in a country with 40% unemployment.
"It's very difficult to find a proper job here in Macedonia. We are trying to make a living by trading in the market. Buying cheap, selling a little more expensive just to make a living," he explained.
Financial support for Macedonia and other countries affected by the Kosovo crisis has been promised. But a key Minister says he's still waiting for the promises to be made good.
"A lot of promises have been made. But we are not happy with the aid that is coming to Macedonia because it comes very slowly. A lot of promises have been made but not all of them have been implemented," says Nikola Kljusev, the Minister of Defence.
Like refugees, economic problems linger long after a conflict is over.
And in the Balkans many people believe that unless the regional economy recovers rapidly from the latest crisis, the misery and instability of the last 10 years are set to continue.
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