The Republic of Macedonia is a country located in southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Formerly a region of the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia is bordered by Serbia and Kosovo to the north, to the west and south-west by Albania, to the east by Bulgaria, and to the south by Greece. The Republic of Macedonia proclaimed its independence in 1991. The United Nations calls it the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). There are 27 different ethnic groups identified in this country. The Albanians, 23 % of the population, are mainly of the Muslim religion. The Albanians mainly live in the west of country, close to the borders of Albania, but also close to the borders of the Kosovo, with Albanian population. Among the other ethnos groups, it is necessary to evoke the Turks (4 %) and the Tziganes (2,3 %), but also several small communities speaking the Serb one, Croatian, the Greek, Bulgarian, the gagaouze, the valaque one or the aroumain, etc. On the whole, these minorities represent less than 5 % of the population of the country. The tensions are sharp since the beginning. The last census goes back to 1981 whereas the Albanians represented officially 20 % of the population. The government estimates that in 1991 Albanian speakers represented 23 % of the population, but Albanians say they are now 40 % of the population because of their immigration from Kosovo and higher birth rates.
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