Faced with an unprecedented financial crisis due to the coronavirus epidemic, Macedonia is looking to make cuts that have never before been considered. Zoran Zaev, leader of the ruling SDSM party, is proposing placing the public administration to the minimum wage for two months in order to plug a hole that could be as large as 60 percent of the budget.
In this environment it will be curious to see if Macedonia will be able to meet its obligation to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, now that it is a NATO member state. Using the 2019 GDP as a measure, it would amount to over 200 million EUR. Each citizen would pay 100 EUR per year.
The defense budget is currently at 163 million EUR, well below the requirement. The SDSM led Government pledged to quickly reach the required level of spending, but it’s unclear whether that would be possible given that the economy has virtually stopped with the imposed curfew.