The military integration of North Macedonia is the fastest military integration in NATO so far – a message from General Lavigne to Minister Shekerinska

With today’s signing of the Joint Declaration on Military Integration, our country has formally achieved fully militarily integration into NATO structures, and the process of military integration is the fastest so far in the Alliance.

The Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska, at the signing ceremony of the Joint Declaration at the Presidential Villa, said that NATO membership was not only a political message, but that it was a deserved result of the major and very ambitious reform processes.

“We did not stop even for a moment with our reform efforts. Today was music to our ears when we heard from General Lavigne that this is the fastest military integration in NAT. That we managed to achieve this goal in 19 months from our full-fledged membership. This success with the fastest military integration shows that we will not be the biggest, but we can be faster, we can be more ambitious, we can be more determined and we can get the result even faster than the others”, said the Minister.

Shekerinska noted that at the same time as one ends, a new path begins, filled with new challenges, difficult reforms and a number of responsibilities.

“NATO is the most powerful military-political Alliance because it is constantly changing, transforming, adapting to the new challenges. That is what we need to do, and that is why today we are starting a new journey of a thousand miles, continuing the transformation and reforms and continuing to build a modern army that will be part of the most powerful alliance, but also an army of a proud, albeit small nation”, said the Minister.

President Stevo Pendarovski stressed that the signing of the declaration shows that the country has achieved significant results after only one and a half year of membership and has confirmed its credibility. According to President Pendarovski, the completion of this process is a success for the Alliance as a whole.

“All this does not mean the end of the wider reform process. On the contrary, this means that we must continue to promote democracy and the functioning of a multi-ethnic society, while respecting the bilateral and multilateral agreements reached. We have committed that by 2024 we will reach the threshold of allocating 2% of GDP to defence. Although unpredictable things are happening, such as the pandemic or the energy crisis, which are pushing for a different schedule of the budget priorities, still, defence and security are the basis for the functioning of all other social sectors”, said President Pendarovski.

The Commander of the Allied Command Transformation, General Philip Lavigne said that the process of military integration of North Macedonia into NATO is a great success for both the country and the Alliance.

“You have done a fantastic job, primarily in preparing your country for full-fledged membership in the accession phase, and now by integrating the defence institutions into the Alliance. Today is a day of gratitude to North Macedonia for its contribution to the stability of Southeast Europe and to NATO’s efforts to ensure stability”, said General Lavigne.

The Chief of the General Staff of the Army, General Vasko Gjurcinovski said that today we are witnessing the successful completion of the integration process which practically reflects and brings into effect the three decades of hard and dedicated work in all segments as a state and Army as part of the most powerful military political alliance in the history of mankind.

“Thanks to the unreserved support and expertise of our NATO partners, but also thanks to the continuous support of the state leadership, we managed to implement all planned activities and successfully achieved all the necessary criteria for accession and integration of the Army in NATO. We remain fully committed to being a credible member of the Alliance, where together with other allies we will contribute to the defence of peace and security of the member states, but also of world peace and security”, said General Gjurcinovski.

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