Macedonia was entangled in the Balkan Wars as well as both World Wars. Captured by Serbia in 1912, it formed as part of Yugoslavia post WWI. Macedonia had hoped for independence following WWII but the Tito-Stalin split put an end to such hopes.
The end of the Greek Civil War sparked bad relations between Macedonia and Greece as many Macedonians who had fought with Greeks as part of the resistance movement were then denied access to live in Greece.
Macedonia negotiated the only peaceful withdrawal of the Yugoslav army from any of the former republics and gained independence in January 1992. They were forced to be officially named the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in order to be admitted to the UN in April 1993. This is because Greece claimed ‘Macedonia’ implies territorial claim over Aegean Macedonia, which they had obtained in 1913. The name has hitherto scuppered their plans to join the EU despite having been shortlisted.
Macedonia is severely hampered by their alarming unemployment rate. Attempts to rectify this with structural reforms are a slow process. Infrastructure is largely obsolete and a lack of job opportunities sees many of the educated and skilled Macedonians leave the country in search of employment. The government want to join the EU in the belief that a successful application would allow them to improve the large number of homes and neighbourhoods that have appalling living conditions, and also to improve access to foreign trade.