admin1 – May 6, 2014 – 1:32pm

With a GDP growth rate of 3.1 percent last year, Macedonia was ranked third in Europe and this year expectations are that the country will be ranked fourth, says the European Commission’s spring forecast.

“As far as production is concerned, Macedonia’s building sector grew by 33 percent and contributed most to the country’s GDP growth,” the EC said.

The EC has projected that the Macedonian economy will grow by 3 percent in 2014 and by 3.2 percent in 2015.

“On condition that the structural reforms aiming to improve the business environment, such as the reform for simplifying licensing procedures, are carried out, the creation of new jobs is expected to continue. Although the unemployment rate remained high, on average it dropped by two percentage points, to 29 percent in 2013,” the EC said.

However, the spring forecast also says that “the strategy for fiscal consolidation remains unclear” and in this context it is said that the general budget deficit of the Government in 2013 stood at 4.1 percent.

“The general deficit target is 3.5 percent in 2014 and 3.2 percent in 2015. However, the source of budget savings to help the consolidation is unclear. Generally speaking, the deficit may expand in 2014 and continue expanding unless spending ceases after elections,” the forecast says.