PM Gruevski: Economically powerful Macedonia is needed as much as EU, NATO membership

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in the second part of his interview with the daily 'Dnevnik' admits that few years ago he would not have been satisfied with today's economic results of Macedonia. But, considering the global crisis, he believes that Macedonia is coping pretty good. In addition, an impressive list of investments, he is mentioning in public for the first time, which are in progress, approved or expected, sets solid ground for him to claim that the country's economy is moving into the right direction.

Referring to the present economic situation of the country, Gruevski expresses satisfaction with the GDP growth of 2.9% in the first Q1 of this year.

"If you had asked me in 2007-08, I would have said that it was not enough. There was neither economic nor European debt crisis then. Today I say that I am satisfied as Europe is still under the burden of the debt crisis and recession, so a growth of close to 3.0% deserves respect," Gruevski says.

He also points out that the unemployment rate of 29.9% is rather high. But, considering the fact that it was at 38.0% in 2005, Gruevski is satisfied that it has been reduced to 29.9% in a period of economic crisis, which is still present.

In regard to possibilities for fresh investments in the country, Gruevski says he could not disclose the names of companies until they decide to announce their intentions to that effect. He however listed French, US, German and regional companies, which have plans to invest in Macedonia. The Prime Minister also presents a long list of potential investors in food sector, metal-processing, automotive industry, mining...

Asked about a feedback of the Government's road-shows, aimed to promote the favourable opportunities Macedonia has been offering to foreign investors, Gruevski says the best response came from the US, Germany, Turkey and India.

In regard to the Government's efforts Macedonia's ambassadors abroad to assist in attracting investments, Gruevski says the country's main goal, in addition to its strategic aspirations to join the European Union, NATO, develop good political relations with all countries and settle the name row, should be economy, investments and opening of new jobs. Excluding the ambassadors to the UN, NATO, EU, all other should be focused on investments and export.

Gruevski also announces opening of Macedonian Embassies in Tokyo, Astana and most probably Abu Dhabi with Dubai.

"We are poorly represented in Africa and it is something we must take into consideration in the future," PM Gruevski says.