BRATISLAVA – This is a joint success and it should be appreciated, and we should all give us credit for making this achievement, which two years ago was considered impossible, says Minister of Defence of North Macedonia Radmila Šekerinska at the GLOBSEC 2019 Bratislava Forum on Friday.
The Minister explains at the panel “NATO at 80”: Alliance Navigating Disrupted Partnerships that the country is now expecting the ratification of NATO treaty in the US Senat this autumn, which is much quicker than its predecessor Montenegro.
As North Macedonia is set to become the 30th member of the Alliance, Šekerinska pointed out that it would not have been possible without strong US support, adding that the country did its share of taking the risks and responsibility and NATO followed.
When it comes to the strategic goals of North Macedonia, she points out that they are very clear – to join the EU and NATO.
“What we have seen in our history is that real results emerge when these two organisations which are essentially based on the same values and more or less the same strategic goals, cooperate well. In the history of our country, and to a certain extent in the history of our region, whenever this partnership worked everyone felt more secure and better,“ says the Minister of Defence of North Macedonia.
She also believes that the country and the region, as well, need a strong and clear NATO, with the same mission empowered by the new challenges, adding that they also need the EU that will take the responsibility for its continent, and not only with regards to defence.
On the question what comes next for North Macedonia, Šekerinska emphasised that the country now waits for the EU decision to start the accession talks.
“What we have given to our region, to ourselves and to the EU is one of the few successes. It was successful because we committed, and because we have shown the courage, together with the Greek government, but also because NATO and the EU were supporting us,“ she says.
Šekerinska notes that everyone can benefit from the stable Balkans and that North Macedonia should be seen as an example.
“We all have stakes in stable Balkans. We do see our advancement as an investment in the stability of the region. We are sending a message to the other countries of the region that compromises, good policy and political courage pay off and move the country forward,“ Šekerinska says.
She also points out that North Macedonia has a strong support of its neighbours when it comes to NATO membership.
“We do not expect that any of the countries in the region will be interested in creating an obstacle. The first countries to ratify an agreement were the countries from the region, our imminent neighbours. This would have been impossible to foresee 15 years ago. It says – with all the problems in the Balkans, that region has moved forward,“ Šekerinska concludes.