The United States is designating the mayor of the municipality of Struga, North Macedonia, Ramiz Merko, as generally ineligible for entry into the United States, due to his involvement in significant corruption. While serving as Struga’s mayor, Merko misappropriated funds and interfered with judicial and other public processes, damaging the public’s faith in North Macedonia’s democratic institutions and officials.
Today’s action sends a message that the United States stands with North Macedonia to foster stability through the strengthening of democratic institutions and addressing rule of law deficiencies. This designation reaffirms the commitment of the United States to combat corruption, which harms the public interest, hampers countries’ economic prosperity, and curtails the ability of governments to respond effectively to the needs of their people.
This public designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2023. The Department is also designating Merko’s wife, Shpresa, and three adult children, Genc, Nazmije, and Drenushe as ineligible for entry into the United States.