New Year's address by PM Gruevski

We have gone through many challenges and temptations, changes, reforms and novelties, successes and unpleasant moments in the outgoing year, says Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in the New Year's address to citizens.

"Macedonia received the most positive European Commission Progress Report thus far and the fourth recommendation for start of EU accession talks. Although the expected date did not come, the European Council conclusions have made it difficult for those who blocked us to do it again. The insistence to impose a new name chosen by others, along with a new identity, is a precedent that leaves no one indifferent, as much as pragmatic and liberal EU politicians are", says Gruevski.

With regards to home affairs, he says the country has demonstrated capacity and potential to lead reasonable policies and find solutions, maintaining stability.

Referring to economy, Gruevski stresses 2012 was a year of European debt crisis, which also hit Macedonia, since 90 percent of the country's exports go to Europe, where most of investors come from.

"However, the numerous anti-crisis measures and reforms have helped companies and citizens in overcoming this period. The fact that the euro zone is in recession, whereas most politicians believe the crisis in Europe will last in the next 4-5 years, is of concern, but also a challenge for the Government to find out new steps towards assisting the economy. Still, we have managed to prevent rise in unemployment, even lowering it, which is rare in times of crisis. Our efforts to attract foreign capital have increased through visits to companies and investors, as well as business presentations, road shows worldwide. Although investment activities in Europe have reduced, the construction of many new plants has begun or will start in 2013, not only in Skopje, but also nationwide", says Gruevski.

He emphasizes that Macedonia has not only maintained the status of a country with lowest taxes and doing business costs, but the Government has eliminated delays in VAT returns and matured liabilities.

"Macedonia is one of Europe's lowest indebted countries, which has been confirmed by the World Bank and IMF. We will continue to demonstrate responsibility in this regard", says Gruevski.

The PM stresses the Government will continue with the same dynamics in 2013.

"This is a pace aimed to improve citizens' lives, create an environment for new jobs, bring Macedonia closer to Europe, and strengthen coexistence among all ethnic communities, with the objective of a better life and more prosperous country. Our goal of EU and NATO membership remains our challenge, as does the struggle for preserving our national dignity and identity", underlines PM Gruevski in the New Year's address, extending wishes of good health, more love and understanding, peace, prosperity and personal success.