Minister Shekerinska from the Security Conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Time to start the negotiations with the EU because we deserved this, and because we are Europe

On the Security Conference in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska said that it was time for the European Council to follow the clear recommendation of the European Commission and set a date for the start of the negotiations for membership of North Macedonia in the EU.

“We worked hard to create the arguments for the start of negotiations. We resolved the issue with Greece, signed an agreement with Bulgaria making North Macedonia the only Balkan country without an open issue with any of its neighbours”, said Minister Shekerinska at the conference organized by the prestigious European Centre for Security Studies “George Marshall”.

My country, she emphasized, is a brilliant example of reconciliation and good neighbourliness and I am extremely pleased that North Macedonia is a step away from the full-fledged membership in the Alliance, with a signed accession protocol and ratification of this protocol by more than half the NATO countries.

Shekerinska stressed that the country is committed to the domestic reforms – in just 24 months with the change of the previous government, democracy has been consolidated, the rule of law has been reinforced and we started decisive transformation processes in all areas – policy, public administration and society.

The defence was included in the reform steps by adoption of key, strategic documents, caring for every member of the Army, achieving interoperability, said the Minister.

In terms of the relationships and influence in Southeast Europe as the theme of the conference, Minister Shekerinska said that there were attempts at misinformation related to the full-fledged membership of North Macedonia in NATO, especially before the referendum where the citizens were expected to vote on the agreement with Greece. The only response to this misinformation, Shekerinska said, is that the country is strong and sure of the path it has threaded and has strong leadership. “North Macedonia is sure in its path and has bold and strong leaders”, concluded the Minister.

On the sidelines of the conference, Shekerinska met with the Deputy Director of the European Centre for Security Studies, Brigadier General Johann Berger, an expressed her gratitude for the opportunities for education and training of personnel from the Ministry and the Army at the “George Marshall” centre. Since 1998, over 400 people have completed courses organized by the Centre, while more than 700 participated in various activities organized by the “George Marshall” Centre.