VIDEO: Interview with Prime Minister Gruevski for CCTV in English

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We have a stable macroeconomic policy, low inflation, low government debt, a very stable currency. Joining the EU is important for all the countries of southeastern Europe. First, we share the same values ​​as European countries.

This was said by the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in the recent interview with CCTV in English, who adds that “we have funds that can be used in the development of the country in the coming years, which is very important for us, as well as all countries in the region”.

What are Macedonia’s biggest challenges right now?

When we took office, unemployment was very high, it was 38 %. Now it is around 28 %, so 10 % less. It is the biggest challenge for us, having in mind that unemployment was reduced by 10 % in a period of global economic crisis and European debt crisis and I would say it is a solid result.

We want to attract stable investors, domestic and foreign, to open facilities and companies in Macedonia and employ people.

At first glance Macedonia is a small country with two million people, but having in mind that we have a free trade agreement with all countries in Europe, actually and everyone who is producing something in Macedonia can export to all countries in Europe.

 

Macedonia is indeed a great “gateway” into Europe and you’ve tried to join the European Union as well as NATO, but Macedonia has been blocked mostly by Greece, and the central issue there has been the name dispute. Greece takes offence to the name Macedonia because there is a territory in the northern area of Greece called Macedonia, and it thinks there is a territorial claim on that area via the name. What is Macedonia’s stance on this and where are you regarding the resolving this name dispute?

22 years ago when Macedonia became an independent country, our southern neighbor Greece opened the issue over the name, the name of country, the name of the nation and the name of the language. We are trying to find a solution on this issue, because it is the only reason why Macedonia is not a member of NATO and why Macedonia in 2009 did not started the final negotiations for full membership in the European Union, and if there were to no such problems then, today would have been part of EU.

But because of the problem with our southern neighbor Greece, which is member of these organizations and has the right to veto, our membership was postponed. In the meantime, along with the support from the United Nations, we are trying to solve this problem.

 

Do you see a resolution on the horizon?

Still I can not say that there is serious progress. Our southern neighbor has serious problems in the country; they have serious financial and economic difficulties. They are focused on themselves and not sufficiently focused on this issue. For us this is issue number 1 that should be resolved as soon as possible, but for them apparently not.

 

So is joining the EU a prospect and if so what kind of timeline would you be looking at?

– There are several solutions. One of them is to start the negotiations, Greece to allow us to start the negotiations and to continue looking for a solution to our bilateral issue during negotiations, which usually takes 4-5 years. To give a chance to resolve the name dispute within those 4-5 years and simultaneously continue the negotiations for full EU membership.

The second approach is the approach currently used by Greece. It is not giving a possibility to start negotiations to join NATO before resolving the issue.

I think the first one would be much more productive, but it is up to them. They are members and have right to veto.

 

Prime Minister, Macedonia has had tremendous success with its own fiscal and monetary policy, you’ve managed to keep inflation in check, the local currency, the denar, has been compared to the euro is stable, and GDP has been consistently strong, will there be any real benefit from joining the EU, considering that the blockade is in the most stable state right now?

We have a stable macroeconomic policy, we have low inflation, low government debt, currency is very stable, but joining the EU is important to all the countries of southeastern Europe. First of all, we share the same values ​​with the European countries. Second, there are a lot of funds that we can use in the development of the country in the coming years, which is very important for us, as well as all countries in the region.

 

Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel with regards to the eurozone crisis?

– In the last period we have positive feelings about the European debt crisis. If we connect it with our economy, I can say that in the first quarter we had GDP growth of 2.9 %, and 3.9 % in the second quarter, which is good and positive. This is one of the signals that the things in the Eurozone and the European Union are improving.

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