In a TV interview, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke about how frustrated he was when, under Gruevski, Macedonia would take nearly all companies that were looking to invest in the Balkans. Five dozen significant manufacturing companies, mainly from the automotive industry, set up shop in Macedonia between 2007 and 2015, when Gruevski was ousted in a Colored Revolution.

We set up the best policy to bring in foreign investments. But we were greatly bothered by Gruevski. For a year and half I was looking for a way to counter him. He had the best policy to attract foreign investments. Eventually, we set up our own program and took over all their investors. Now we don’t let anyone pass us by. Serbia rakes in 62 percent of all investments bound for the Western Balkans, Vucic said.

New investment in manufacturing all but stopped after the Colored Revolution, with the Zaev regime focused mainly on attracting marijuana companies. The manufacturing zones set up under Gruevski still provide the bulk of Macedonia’s exports and offer new jobs even during the current downturn.