Macedonia is a leader in the region according to the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual guide published by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation.

Macedonia with 68.5 out of 100 points is ranked 43rd ahead of Albania (57th), Bulgaria (61st), Slovenia (69th), Montenegro (72nd), Croatia (83rd), Serbia (98th). Greece’s economy is greatly unfree in the region and secured the 119th place on the list. Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland are the world’s freest economies, while North Korea, Zimbabwe and Cuba finish last among 179 countries.

“In 2011 Macedonia was ranked 55th and this year it is 43rd, thus becoming the best rated country in terms of economic freedom in the region. The rating doesn’t mean that there are revolutionary changes, however it demonstrates that economic reforms and all of the steps undertaken by the government in a bid to improve the business climate are being recognised by international financial institutions,” Vice PM for Economic Affairs, Vladimir Pesevski.

Macedonia last year made a breakthrough in business freedom, taking up the 35th place at global level – a jump of 60 places compared to 2011.

“Progress has been also made in freedom from corruption. The country retains high ratings with respect to monetary and fiscal freedom, labour freedom, business freedom and financial freedom,” Pesevski said.

The Vice Premier underscored that the government would keep on implementing reforms and announced that a package of reforms was about to be promoted in an attempt economy’s competitiveness to be improved. He voiced expectations that efforts for boosting the business climate would resume this year as well. Macedonia debuted on the Index of Economic Freedom in 2002 and has moved up 10.5 points since then. The Index’s editors have stated that Macedonia’s index compared to last year rises by 2.5 points and that headway has been made in six in total of ten criteria for economic freedom.