New government of North Macedonia will have to ban imports of sub-EURO 5 vehicles


A year has passed since the North Macedonia Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi stated that the import of used cars in North Macedonia below the EURO 5 standard for gas emissions will be banned. He announced that the ban of cars older than 10 years will start in 2021, but toward the end of last year, the Ministry of Economy postponed the decision for 2022.

The Ministry of Economy stated for Meta.mk that the decision for changing the standards for the eco levels of the imported vehicles is something that should come from the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, while the ministry is obliged to change the current regulations.

„We make an analysis which regulations stemming from the Law on Vehicles and governing the imports of motor vehicles should be altered,” said the Ministry of Economy.

Even though we asked  about the date when the ban on import of used cars below the EURO 5 standards will be implemented, the Ministry of Economy didn’t provide a clear answer to this question.

On the 26th of January 2021, during the press conference named “Vision for an energy transition 2040” the Minister of Economy Kreshnik said that in 2021 the standard for the import of vehicles in our country should be raised. He also said that the government would implement two additional measures – introduction of subsidies for people for the purchase of hybrid vehicles and direct financial help for those that will decide to replace their sub-EURO 4 vehicles with new ones that come under EURO 5 or EURO 6 standards.

In the meantime, the COVID-19 pandemic continued and an energy crisis erupted, which pushed the issues high on the agenda about the air pollution in the cities, the problems with traffic and the parking spaces that are created with the accelerated import of used cars from abroad.

Despite the more important issues that surfaced during the past period, the last data from the State Statistical Office (SSO) shows that the central government will have to concentrate on transportation policies in the long run. The rate of motorization in 2020 has reached a record level that was unseen previously.

In Macedonia during 2020, the number of passenger vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants was increased to 207.1, against the registered 205.2 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants in the year before. As a comparison, in 2012, for every 1,000 people, we have had 146.4 passenger vehicles, which is a sign that the number of people owning one or more cars is continually on the rise.

If the rate of motorization in Macedonia is compared to the EU member countries, it is almost certain that the number of vehicles imported in our country will continue to grow in the forthcoming years. The last numbers on the level of the European Union show that the EU member countries by average to every 1,000 people there were up to 519 passenger vehicles. At the same time, the greatest rise in the number of vehicles was registered in the countries from Eastern and Southeastern Europe.

Because of the likely rise of the population’s motorization in the future, and taking into account that passenger traffic, along with heating of the homes and the industry are the main sources of air pollution, many Balkan countries in the past period toughened the conditions for importing used cars from abroad.

The ban on importing used cars below EURO 5 standards was already implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina in mid-2019 while Albania introduced a on the 1st of January 2019.

Besides, starting from the 12th of July 2021, Bulgaria introduced environmental stickers on the vehicles, with cars being categorized into 5 categories during their registration or technical examination according to the quantity of the gasses they emit. The vignettes are mandatory for each vehicle, and the electric cars are classified in the highest, fifth category. North Macedonia also planned an introduction of such a measure that would allow the municipalities to set measures for limiting the movement of old vehicles in terms of enormous air pollution. Still, to this day, this measure remains idle.

On the other hand, statistical data shows that in 2020 in Macedonia 500,633 passenger and towed vehicles were registered, which is the highest number registered in this country’s history. Together with this record, only two years ago the record of an average age of vehicles was also surpassed, as it climbed to 19.4 years.

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