Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska: With the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty we sealed our country’s independence, sovereignty, stability and prosperity

“With the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty for our accession to the Alliance, the future of our country secured, and our sovereignty and integrity are ensured. Soon enough, our membership will be verified, and with this we will seal our country’s independence, sovereignty, as well as stability and prosperity. The number 30 will received a new meaning for us and for the Alliance”, said Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska, at today’s press conference dedicated to the adoption of the Law on Ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty in the Assembly.

Minister Shekerinska stressed that with the NATO membership we are becoming a part of the security umbrella that protects one billion people, adding that progress can be measured by the speed of ratifications by the parliaments of the Allies, and by our national achievements.

“In just two and a half years, we increased the minimum wage by nearly 60 percent, the average salary has the fastest and most significant historical growth, from a minus 1.8 percent, in just two and a half years, the economy is again marking a growth of just under 4 percent, the unemployment is reduced to the historically lowest 17 percent, we opened over 60,000 jobs”, said Minister Shekerinska and underlined that this is only part of the benefits of our membership in the NATO – Alliance.

Our membership in the Alliance, said Shekerinska, is an achievement of the citizens, especially considering that for the first time in its history as an independent state an idea has received support from a large number of citizens, over 610,000. The difference of this reality, she added, is obvious – today we are not the topic of discussion without being present, today we are sitting at the same table with our partners, we are presenting and defending our position together with them, we are tailoring the strategy together, we are sharing ideas as to how to make the Alliance stronger, more stabile, and greater.

Minister Shekerinska expressed satisfaction with the fact that the benefits of our membership in the Alliance were primarily and directly felt by the members of the Army, in particular with the increase of the defence budget.

“Sixteen-percent increase in the salaries, additional 7,500 rent allowance, 50 percent increase in the salaries of professional soldiers, retirement under the most beneficial conditions, new machinery, new equipment, and new support to the Army. This is all the direct benefit of our membership to NATO”, said Minister Shekerinska.

“Yesterday we were convinced that literally everyone, including our colleagues from VMRO DPMNE, voted for the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty in our Assembly. I wonder who will have the nerve tomorrow, today, the day after tomorrow, to advocate the annulment of the Prespa Agreement and the cancelation of our membership in NATO. Will this not it be a new blatant lie presented before the people and the citizens. I would like to see who would be brave enough to nullify the votes cast yesterday in Parliament, after reaching such a consensus in the Assembly, and dare to erase and reverse the largest success since our independence until today”, said Shekerinska.

Minister Shekerinska said that the challenges in the past two and a half years were not new, but the tools to address them were truly new. She noted that today we speak the language that creates allies instead of adversaries.

“We truly moved mountains. Mountains that stood between us and the chances of a better country and the chances of prosperity. When we announced our ambitious plans, we know that many, even those who wanted to believe the plan thought that they were difficult to achieve. Some thought that they were downright impossible. We proved them wrong”, concluded the Minister of Defence Shekerinska at today’s press conference.