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The Buzz in North Macedonia: Interview with Tatjana Popovski Buloski of Popovski & Partners

The Buzz in North Macedonia: Interview with Tatjana Popovski Buloski of Popovski & Partners

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“The legal market is pretty stable,” reports Popovski & Partners Partner Tatjana Popovski Buloski. “The traditional concept of running a legal business that’s been present in North Macedonia keeps it like that. Not to toot our own horn, but the formation of our firm – and the discontinuation of my partnership with Polenak – was the biggest shift last year.” 

By contrast, Popovski says, the political situation in the country has been fairly tumultuous. “The current Government,” she says, “which consolidated its position in the middle 2017, began to produce some positive shifts with its policies sometime in 2018 and early 2019 – promoting some new investments and stimulating domestic growth, mostly in free economic zones.” Unfortunately, she says, the January 3, 2020 resignation of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev means that new elections are just around the corner, which she believes is likely to lead to another economic slowdown. “The anticipation of the outcome of the elections is likely to slow business down, but also, the Parliament will cease its session as of February until the elections are over.” This is especially problematic, she says, as there are “about 50 or so” acts in the legislative pipeline. “The political differences between the ruling party and the opposition are mainly to do with judicial regulation, but this inevitably spills over into other areas – which slows down the economy.”

Still, Popovski says, the North Macedonian economy itself is doing fairly well in these circumstances, with the energy and IT sectors being most active. “These two areas are clearly booming,” she says, adding that recent tax reforms should impact this as well. “We’ve seen a return to a 10% flat tax that is most likely to affect the personal income of individuals. The recent ‘excursion’ – the introduction of a bracketed personal income tax – clearly failed, so this measure should likely result in positive economic outcomes.” 

“On January 16, the Parliament passed the Strategic Investment Act which regulates Governmental investments and subsidies,” Popovski says, describing it as something that must be carefully studied and observed, especially given the scope of the Act and the economic impact it may produce. “Also, we’re expecting the NATO membership agreement to be ratified soon – our Government and Spain are the ones we’re still waiting on – but it should pass sometime this year,” she says. North Macedonia is also looking forward to receiving a start date for commencing negotiations for EU accession, but, according to her, “this is all up in the air, given our history with the EU accession process and how full of hurdles it’s been.”

Finally, Popovski reports that North Macedonia is gearing up to join a recently-announced crowdfunding platform. “This is a most interesting project, based out of Estonia, with Croatia being a regional country set to participate as well. It is likely that once in action, it should attract a lot of domestic entrepreneurs seeking capital backing.” 

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