"Corruption here has been rising rapidly in the past few years and it seems things are only getting worse," said Zoran Jacev of the Macedonian branch of Transparency International, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to fighting graft.
"The pressure on the people to give bribes is rising, but what is more worrying is that people seem more ready to give their money," Jacev
said graft had reached alarming proportions, laying waste to the legal, regulated part of the economy, and could endanger the flow of badly needed foreign assistance.
In March international donors pledged a $515 million aid package for Macedonia to help it rebuild an impoverished economy devastated by last year´s six-month conflict between state security forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents.
But many Macedonians fear this money might be "eaten" by corruption that thrived during the crisis.
"The chaos that resulted created yet more space for shady business," Jacev
"At least we now have the framework in which people can be prosecuted and convicted," Jacev
Public pressure can also help.Political parties are preparing for elections that should be held in September and corruption looks like being the key issue.
"If this pressure continues with the same intensity as now it might assist in battling corruption," said Jacev