Macedonia was hit by a hefty, 25 million EUR fine, in favor of Hellenic Petroleum, in the long running dispute with the Greek oil company that bought the Skopje refinery.

As part of the deal, Macedonia took the obligation to purchase a large amount of heating oil each year, which surpassed the country’s needs.

The fine caused a political dispute in the country, with the two main parties shifting the blame on each other. SDSM’s Fatmir Bytiqi insisted that the current Government was able to negotiate well and almost halve the fine. He also blamed the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party, under which mandate the refinery was sold to Hellenic and the deal was signed.

VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski responded to Bytiqi, reminding him that the then VMRO leader and Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski is now a minor SDSM coalition partner

The person who signed this contract is in Bytiqi’s coalition. His SDSM party is in coalition with Ljubco Georgievski for a long number of years. They can ask him why the contract was signed. Also, the Government keeps persuading us that they have great relations with Greece now. But we don’t see these relations being put to a good use to try to end the damages claim from Hellenic Petroleum. It is not a private company, it is a dominantly state owned firm, Nikoloski said.

He added that Macedonia can expect other, even larger damages claims, after the SDSM led Government blocked several major mining contracts that were already approved and well advanced.