ADDRESS BY MOD RADMILA SHEKERINSKA MINISTER OF DEFENCE HANDOVER CEREMONY 01.06.2017

Distinguished Mr. Jolevski,
Allow me on behalf of everybody to thank you for your service in the Army, in the Ministry of Defence,
Distinguished members of the General Staff,
Distinguished employees in the Ministry of Defence,
Distinguished guests and media representatives,

I am grateful for the entrusted confidence and for the possibility to invest all my knowledge, work and experience in this area which is very important for our country, so that I can undertake in front of you and the Macedonian public, as the Minister of Defence, to work on enhancing the international image and position of our country for its consensually declared goal for NATO membership and on the required reforms that will increase our security and guarantee a professional and efficient Army.

The Republic of Macedonia was the initiator and leader of the Adriatic Group. Today, it is the only country from this group that unfortunately has still not become a NATO member.

The reform activities in NATO context, due to this and many other reasons, have slowed down. They have even indicated signs of regress and we will have to change that together.

The defence of the country, and its Army, has had lower budgets for years due to various reasons. The modernization process has been initiated only recently. Various pressures were visible both on our security and with respect to the emerging risks faced by the contemporary world; however, there were strong pressures for partization and decreased motivation of the professionals in this sector. Together we will change that.

Macedonia has a small professional army that will be the pride of the country, but it will also be a pride to be part of this army.

Returning the process of NATO integration among the top priorities of the Republic of Macedonia will mean a much more open and transparent personnel management system in the Army and the Ministry of Defence. Greater professionalization, departization and career movement for the Army members that will based on essential instead on fictional standards.

Furthermore, it will mean much greater predictability in your careers and in the careers of all who work in this key sector for the security and future of our country.

I undertake to demonstrate maximal transparency and honesty and I will require the same from all of you. We will show it on a daily basis, in supporting the reforms, in our relations with the public and in the relations with all employees in this sector. We will also demonstrate it to our main ambassadors in the defence sector, the members of the Macedonian peace missions deployed abroad who must not be subject to any type of manipulations or any pressures whatsoever.

If I learned anything in my life, and Mr. Jolevski mentioned it as well, it is that fact that honest professionals make the institutions strong and efficient. Honest professionals , appointed on the right positions. I want to assure everyone that this will be my policy from day one. It will be my task and my obligation as long as I perform this important function. To ensure that all those who protect this country, all those who are fighting for the country under its flag, all those who sacrifice their lives for Macedonia and its future, to be able to do it with the dignity that belongs to them, the dignity that belongs to every important military service, with the dignity that belongs to the members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. With their heads up high and with certainty that their country will appreciate what they do. It is hard to have one’s head raised with empty pockets, it is difficult when the uniform is torn and the boots are worn out. I am aware of that and I therefore want to tell you that I will undertake from day one to increase the standards and the conditions in which all members of the Army and the Ministry of Defence are working and functioning.

I will work to ensure that the country will be honest to the members of its Army and the Ministry of Defence, so that they are honest to the country as well. To pay its financial obligations to them in due time. It will not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but we need to start from somewhere.

I assure you that I will be fully committed to raising this living and working standard of the ARM and MOD members because the country that does not take care of its defenders, does not think about itself and its future either. I started my career, inter alia, as an Assistant at the Military Academy in Skopje and I remember distinctly the words written on the wall, “Honour – Service – Motherland”.

The function of Minister of Defence that I have received is a great honour for me to serve our country together with you. I will invest all my knowledge and experience, together with the reformed defence forces and structures, together with the Army, together with all of you in the MOD, to guarantee the unity and security of our country, to guarantee its safe future and to confirm all the above said by attaining the great objective – Republic of Macedonia, a member of the NATO alliance.

I call on you to serve Macedonia together, united in this common goal and stronger because of this unity.

Long live the Army of the Republic of Macedonia!
Long live the Republic of Macedonia!

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