Macedonian government, under the leadership headed by youthful Nikola Gurevski, emphasized radical economic reform in its campaign. In fact, Macedonia is the very first country in Balkans to stress the gradual approach to economic reforms and step onto a different path of quick, flexible, rapid and radical structural reforming. Gurevski's plan is to let Macedonia to become "Estonia of Balkans" inspired by youthful and courageous reformers in Eastern Europe, namely Mart Laar and Ivan Miklos. The Macedonia government headed by Gurevski has promised to cut public expediture by 2% of the GDP by 2010. It has promised to cut the red-tape as well. The party plans to implement a flat personal tax rate of 10 percent by 2008 - a turnaround from the current progressive income tax rates of 15, 18 and 24 percent. The tax rate on corporate profits will be reduced from 15 percent to 10 percent and, following the example of Estonia, the tax on reinvested profits will be scrapped altogether:
"In the early 1990s the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia meant uncertainty for both Estonia and Macedonia. Both were new and unknown countries on the periphery of Europe. Many Westerners confused the Baltics with the Balkans. Estonia had a sizeable Russian-speaking minority that made up 35 percent of the population. Macedonia had an Albanian minority which was 20 percent of population in 1990 and has now increased to 25 percent. The confusion was not simply due to sheer ignorance. There were as many experts predicting doom for Estonia as there were "sovietologists" failing to predict the collapse of the USSR in the 1980s. A possible ethnic conflict or even a war with Russia was seen as likely. Despite the disadvantaged starting position and ethnic mix, combined with post-socialist politicking, Estonia emerged as a phoenix.
The reasons for Estonia's success remained invisible to the casual observer for years. While Macedonia chose a gradual, stop-and-go economic reform path, Estonia chose a radical and rapid approach by relying on the invisible hand of the market instead of on government intervention. The rapid economic development of Estonia is not just economic achievement: having benefited the Russian-speaking population in Estonia - it has contributed to social peace, as well. Good economic circumstances are less likely to feed social unrest. Indeed, Estonia has not had any large-scale ethnic conflicts, even if relations between the various ethnic groups are far from perfect.
The fact that thinking along those lines has reached the Balkans is a major improvement. Economic reforms do not offer absolute guarantees against potential ethnic conflicts but they will certainly reduce the likelihood of such conflicts. If the new Macedonian leaders run out of ideas and options for the rebirth of the Macedonian economy, they need not look far for inspiration: According to Bangs,- the fountain of youth is located in Macedonia's capital, Skopje - a mere 23 kilometers away (http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=082406A - no subscription required). "