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Macedonia leads SEE countries in economic freedom - The Heritage Foundation

Author Radomir Ralev
Macedonia leads SEE countries in economic freedom - The Heritage Foundation Source: Heritage Foundation

SKOPJE (Macedonia), January 30 (SeeNews) - Macedonia is the leader in Southeast Europe in terms of economic freedom, while Moldova ranks lowest in the region, according to the 2019 edition of The Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom report.

Macedonia ranked 33rd in the annual index, with a score of 71.1 points from a maximum 100, above the regional and world averages, The Heritage Foundation said in its 2019 Index of Economic Freedom report published on its website.

The overall score of the country has decreased by 0.2 point, with declines in trade freedom, monetary freedom, and business freedom exceeding improvements in fiscal health, labor freedom, and judicial effectiveness, The Heritage Foundation said.

Macedonia maintained macroeconomic stability after the global financial crisis, but its internal political crisis has hampered economic performance. Fiscal policy has been lax, with unproductive public expenditures, including subsidies and pension increases, and rising guarantees for the debt of state-owned enterprises, The Heritage Foundation said.

"Extensive informal economic activity may generate income equivalent to between 20% and 45% of GDP. Structural reforms are needed to address government corruption and a bloated bureaucracy. The legal framework is sound, but enforcement is slow and weak," the Foundation added.

Hong Kong leads the world economic freedom ranking followed by Singapore. Switzerland ranks first in Europe and fourth globally.

Details about the ranking of countries in SEE in the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom of The Heritage Foundation follow:

  Rank Score Change in score
Albania 52 66.5 2.0
Bosnia and Herzegovina 83 61.9 0.5
Bulgaria 37 69.0 0.7
Croatia 86 61.4 0.4
Kosovo 51 67.0 0.4
Macedonia 33 71.1 -0.2
Moldova 97 59.1 0.7
Montenegro 92 60.5 -3.8
Romania 42 68.6 -0.8
Serbia 69 63.9 1.4
Slovenia 58 65.5 0.7