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SKOPJE (Macedonia), December 21 (SeeNews) – The Macedonian parliament approved next year's state budget, targeting a deficit equivalent to 2.5% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), down 0.2 percentage points compared with 2018, the finance ministry said on Friday.
The key goals of the government reflected in the budget are higher economic growth, better living standards, rule of law, higher level of social justice and membership in the EU and NATO, finance minister Dragan Tevdovski said in parliament.
The draft budget is built on a GDP growth forecast of 3.2% in 2019, the statement added.
Budget revenue is forecast at 210.8 billion denars ($3.9 billion/3.4 billion euro) in 2019, while expenditure is projected at 228.5 billion denars.
Inflation in Macedonia is forecast to accelerate to 2.0% next year, from 1.7% expected in 2018, while the unemployment rate is expected to fall to around 20%, from 21.5% anticipated in 2018.
Nominal net wages are expected to grow by 4.5% in 2019.
Macedonia has been a candidate for accession to the EU since 2005 but has not yet entered into accession negotiations. Athens has blocked Macedonia’s attempts to join NATO and the EU over the country's name, saying it implies territorial clams on Greece's northernmost province of Macedonia. However, earlier this year the two countries reached a historical deal, changing the name of the former Yugoslav republic to North Macedonia.
On October 18, NATO said it launched formal accession talks with Macedonia, marking an important step on Balkan country’s road towards NATO membership.
(1 euro = 61.34 denars)