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Macedonia needs to pursue bank consolidation, develop renewables – EBRD

Macedonia needs to pursue bank consolidation, develop renewables – EBRD Bradley Howard/CC BY 2.0

SKOPJE (Macedonia), November 13 (SeeNews) – Macedonia should further develop renewable energy capacity following the introduction of the new energy law, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Tuesday.

“The authorities face a window of opportunity in terms of attracting new investments following the introduction of the new energy law,” the EBRD said in its Transition Report 2018-2019.

Consolidation in the banking sector should be pursued, the lender noted, adding that Macedonia has a large number of banks relative to the size of its economy.

According to the report, implementation of the government’s digitisation strategy can help attract investment and jobs. The EBRD noted that progress in areas such as e-governance can help further boost Macedonia’s reputation as a business-friendly environment.

“Growth was negative in the first half of 2017 but recovered somewhat in the second half, leaving growth for the overall year at zero, and further growth has been modest so far in 2018,” the EBRD said, noting that the process of building closer ties with the EU is advancing.

Macedonia's economic growth is projected at 2.0% in 2018, with a moderate increase to 3.0% in 2019 on the assumption of continued political stability, the unblocking of further reforms and the arrival of much-needed investments, according to the report.

“The key downside risk is the possibility of a resumption of political turbulence and uncertainty if progress in resolving the name dispute is not maintained.”

Macedonia's parliament decided last month to amend the constitution in order to put into force a deal with neighbouring Greece to rename the ex-Yugoslav country to North Macedonia, paving the way for its accession to NATO and the EU. The government will start work on the constitutional changes needed to enshrine the name deal into the constitution, Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev said, adding that the focus will also be on the implementation of the necessary reforms aimed at achieving European standards.