IMF raises FYR Macedonia’s EU hopes

1 Feb 19

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s prospects of joining the European Union have improved, according to the IMF.

The fund’s latest assessment of the small country’s economic reforms identify progress more than 12 years after it became a candidate to enter the bloc.

Its “Article IV” economic overview reported that after nearly stalling in 2017, real GDP growth in Macedonia rebounded in 2018 to reach an estimated 2%.

Economic activity was buoyed by private consumption and robust export growth, boosted by solid foreign demand and a revived metals sector.

The IMF said the fiscal deficit improved to 2.6% of GDP in 2018, and public debt is estimated to have reached 50.7% of GDP.

It said the end of a political crisis has revived structural reforms, renewing confidence and a pickup in economic activity, although lingering uncertainties have held back investment.

The fund is advising the former Yugoslav republic to focus structural policies on addressing longstanding weaknesses in the labor market, judiciary, and public administration, thereby boosting productivity and raising incomes.

Macroeconomic policies should support this goal by rebuilding buffers and maintaining financial stability.

Macedonia’s authorities have been urged to implement key institutional reforms that strengthen governance, reduce corruption, and ensure an effective rule of law.

These will improve the investment climate and unlock EU accession negotiations, the fund added.

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