Minister Shekerinska at the prestigious GLOBSEC Forum in Bratislava: NATO kept its word to North Macedonia, the EU is next

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska is taking part in the prestigious GLOBSEK Forum in Bratislava, where she spoke at the panel “NATO at 80”.

Speaking of how you can describe the actions of the Alliance in history, Minister Shekerinska noted that this can be summarized in one word – fast, especially when it comes to the Balkan region.

“As someone who was outside the Alliance in the past, we probably value its success last year than we worry about its weaknesses. From our experience as a country, and me personally, I have seen how NATO works twice, in times of crisis and in times of opportunity. In 2001 we saw NATO taking responsibility and taking action. It was done on time, with the right motives, with the right political instincts and with the right partner – the EU. The combination of measures, actions and policies succeeded and help my country”, said Minister Shekerinska. She added that we appreciate what NATO has to offer – i.e. stability, prosperity and a system based on values.

Minister Shekerinska noted that our country showed readiness to solve its problems with its neighbours, and NATO’s response to that was the demonstrated willingness to move the membership process of North Macedonia in the Alliance. That commitment to this process, she said, can be seen through the rapid ratification of the accession protocol for the membership of our country in NATO”.

Regarding the contribution and commitment of the US in the Balkans, Minister Shekerinska said that at the moment it is more than visible. “Currently over 1,500 US soldiers alongside our soldiers and troops from five other NATO member countries are conducting the largest military exercise in the Republic of North Macedonia’s territory”, said Shekerinska.

In the context of the NATO-EU relations Shekerinska stressed the two main, strategic goals of the country – membership in these two organizations, adding that the results are most visible when they work together.

“What we have seen in our history is that real results come when the two organizations based on the same values and the same strategic objectives, work well together. In the history of our country and our region, whenever this partnership worked everyone felt better and safer. We need a strong and clear NATO with the same mission, but we need the EU, which will assume responsibility for its continent, not only in terms of the defence”, said Minister Shekerinska.

Shekerinska stressed that she is expecting the European Council’s decision on the start of negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia, saying that our country has given the region and the EU one of the few successes arising from the proven courage, but also from the support by NATO and the EU.