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Infrastructure, Energy, and Investments Fortify North Macedonia: A Buzz Interview with Veton Qoku of Karanovic & Partners

Infrastructure, Energy, and Investments Fortify North Macedonia: A Buzz Interview with Veton Qoku of Karanovic & Partners

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A significant number of landmark energy and infrastructure projects are currently materializing in North Macedonia, with foreign direct investment interest constantly growing as well, according to Veton Qoku, Partner and Attorney-at-Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners.

"With elections coming up next year, we have an interesting period ahead in North Macedonia," Qoku begins. "The business sector, however, remains vibrant with numerous ongoing energy, infrastructure, and FDI projects."

"Among those, the estimated EUR 1.3 billion highway project, carried out by a joint venture between US-based Bechtel and Turkish Enka, stands out," Qoku says. "The project involves the construction of two motorways with a total length of 110 kilometers. The first, part of Corridor 8, is an east-west route connecting the Adriatic and Black Seas, between Albania and Bulgaria. The second one, known as Corridor 10d, is part of the EU’s Pan-European Transport Corridor 10, connecting Austria and Greece. These highways play a vital role in the country's infrastructure development and are currently the primary focus of our efforts."

"Ongoing energy projects are also gaining momentum," Qoku adds. "Here, four major projects stand out, each focusing on a different aspect of the country’s energy sector: a 415-megawatt wind farm developed by Germany-based WPD AG; a 400-megawatt solar energy project spearheaded by French Akuo Energy SAS; a 150/105-megawatt combined heat and power generation plant under development by Greek Mytilineos; and last, but certainly not least, the competitive dialogue procedure for the development of a natural gas distribution network in North Macedonia through a PPP project. The first three projects have received special attention from the Government, granting them a strategic investment status." According to Qoku, a substantial amount of behind-the-scenes work has been accomplished thus far, and most of these projects are nearing the finish line.

Furthermore, Qoku notes "there has been a notable surge in FDI in the country’s technological industrial development zones, with the largest investment coming from Taiwanese chip manufacturing company Yageo Group, which recently announced an investment of EUR 205 million, among the biggest greenfield investments since the independence of the country. The country’s business-friendly policies, regulations, favorable tax environment, and skilled workforce continue to attract FDIs and make North Macedonia a competitive destination for large foreign investments."

Qoku further highlights notable legislative developments in North Macedonia: "There have been a few legislative changes in parliament over the past couple of weeks that will have an impact on projects of strategical importance," he says. "These changes aim to fast-track certain procedures and provide more flexible regulation for such projects, which may result in an increase in similar initiatives in the future. Additionally, a new labor law draft is being prepared by the Ministry of Labor, to modernize the existing, rather outdated one."

"On the political front, the parliament is trying to find a mutually satisfactory solution that will allow for a change of the country’s Constitution, to make it more inclusive towards certain minorities, in an effort for North Macedonia to ultimately join the EU, which is a crucial aspect of our commercial aspirations," Qoku says.

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