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Gruevski: Macedonia to emerge from Europe's crisis with minimal consequences

14. March 2012. | 10:13

Source: MIA

Macedonia, has emerged less scared than European countries from the several consecutive crises since 2008, caused by surging oil and food prices, the global economic crisis and debt crisis in Europe.

Anti-crisis measures in Italy failed to yield expected results. Italy's economy has entered into recession. A tax on financial transactions of 1.5% has been introduced as of January, health-care expenditures will be cut down by five billion euros as of January 2013, personal income tax has been increased by additional five percent for employees with incomes over 90 thousand euros and by 10% for those earning more than 150 thousand euros annually. Salaries and employments in the public sector are frozen for the next three years.

Grants for education, health, local roads and regional and local authorities have been reduced, while local self-government institutions serving less than 220.000 residents have been abolished.

Pension age has been raised by six months as well as the number of working days in Italy.

Hungary also increased the retirement age from 62 to 65 years. It is envisaged total costs for salaries in state-owned enterprises to be slashed by 50 per cent, a 13th salary in public administration has been annulled as well as the 13th pension, family allowance is frozen, while subsidies for gas and heating are also cut down. Hungary upped VAT rate by 5% and now stands at 25%.

Portugal in line with its anti-crisis measures in 2011 raised its VAT by one percentage point thus becoming 23 per cents. Preferential VAT rate of 10% for the food in restaurants is abolished and a tax rate of 23% has been introduced.

Unemployment has hit a record high rate, salaries are decreased by 20% compared to 2010, while pensions have been also cut by 5%.

There is reduced spending on defense by 40%. A ban has been established for new contracts enabling costs in the defense sector, which also minimises benefits and the number of employees in defense by at least 10% in the period between 2011 and 2014.

Many other European countries face similar situation.

Macedonia with its measures, macroeconomic stability and increased capital investments is least likely to experience major damage from the crisis.

"With all anti-crisis measures that are being taken and with ongoing reforms, we believe we don't need to change the current situation and to raise the retirement age," Gruevski has stated over the weekend.

He elaborated that almost half of the countries in Europe in the past three years had been forced to increase mandatory retirement age to 67 or 68 years as a result of the global economic crisis and Europe's debt crisis. "This was the case in EU members and in some Balkan countries."

Macedonia, the PM said, has emerged less scared than European countries from the several consecutive crises since 2008, caused by surging oil and food prices, the global economic crisis and debt crisis in Europe.

"We have had extremely sound macroeconomic policies and a stable macroeconomic situation, the Denar is stable. Macedonia, in macroeconomic point of view, emerged with as few scars as possible amid an extremely difficult period for Europe and the world," the PM noted.

Europe, he added, has been facing severe consequences. Unlike Macedonia, European countries saw paycuts in administration, lay-offs, closure of banks and companies, boost in unemployment rate, etc...

"Taxes have been also boosted in most European countries. VAT was increased in 25 out of 27 EU countries. VAT didn't rise in Macedonia, but we have also managed to reduce it as well as other taxes in several sectors," Gruevski concluded.


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