The region unites in a joint response to natural disasters and other new challenges – a message from the Southeast Europe countries at Skopje Ministerial

The region must remain peaceful, stable and secure, the countries must develop good neighbourly relations, and military-political cooperation must continue to develop. That is the message from the Ministers of Defence and the high representatives of the SEDM member states conveyed in the joint statement at the end of the Ministerial meeting held today in Skopje.

“We are determined to maintain regional peace, security and stability, and we must continue on our path to even closer regional co-operation,” the Joint Statement states.

Special importance during the meeting was given to crisis management, and the need for mutual support in times of crisis and natural disasters caused by the already visible climate change.

“It is necessary to respond to the effects of the 20-month pandemic, which has created an unprecedented global situation that has negatively affected the lives of people, economies and governments and created an unprecedented crisis,” the Statement said, acknowledging the military forces of the member states for their support in dealing with the pandemic. “Our armies have demonstrated the ability and capacity to assist the population and state authorities in this crisis,” the Statement said.

The participants in the Ministerial meeting also touched upon the migrant crisis, pointing to the need to establish peace and security, as well as political stability and economic development in the places where the migrants come from.

The participants also discussed the illegal trade in weapons, drugs and people, which, in addition to the hybrid threats in the cyber domain and the impact of fake news and disinformation pose a serious risk to the stability of the entire region.

The Defence Ministers and other heads of delegations reaffirmed the Open Door policy for every country that wishes to join SEDM and gave their full support to the projects under this initiative, such as the South East Europe Brigade, the Female Leaders in Defence and Security project, the Interconnection of Military Hospitals (IMIHO) project, as well as the permanent SEDM portal for fast and efficient exchange of security information.

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