Re-balance to reduce budget resources for NATO integration


Skopje, 19 October, 2018 - 12:58 (META) 

The government, with the budget re-balance for 2018, plans to reduce defense spending in the Ministry of Defense planned for NATO integration. in the expenditures section of the Ministry of Defense for the 2018 budget, 935 million were envisaged for security and defense promotion, namely, the integration into NATO, and with the re-balance this item has been reduced to 855 million.

It is remarkable that the reduction of the money provided for NATO integration comes at a time when Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Radmila Sekerinska, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and the National Coordinator for NATO Stevo Pendarovski as members of the NATO Integration Committee , are staying at the headquarters of the Alliance in Brussels, where the final phase of the country’s accession talks with NATO, which will last until October 19, began.

According to recent statements, if the constitutional changes to accept the agreement with Greece are passed, the whole process should be completed by the end of December, this year. Then, in January 2019, Macedonia should sign the Accession Protocol with the right to participate in all NATO departments, but without the possibility of voting, and the accession of the country to full membership should happen after the member states ratify the Accession Protocol, within their national parliaments.


Shekjerinska: The parliament has a historic opportunity and responsibility to open the doors of NATO


Skopje, 18 October, 2018 - 10:48 (META) 

The parliament has a historic opportunity and a historic responsibility to open the door for Macedonia and to enter into NATO, said in an interview for MIA the Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, Radmila Shekjerinska, who is leading the Macedonian team who will start officially in Brussels the accession negotiations for Macedonia’s membership into the Alliance.

-If a two-third majority is secured, Macedonia will show Europe ad the world, including the region that it knows what it wants and knows how to reach that goal. If the party and personal interests prevail, it will be a big minus for the Parliament and for us it will mean calling for snap elections – stressed Shekjerinska.

Regarding the potential breach of the deadlines determined by the Prespa Agreement if snap elections become an option, she said that it is better for Macedonia if the process ends with a successful parliamentary procedure. But, if that procedure becomes impossible in the parliament, then the mandate should be returned to the citizens. If the parliament decides to give a chance to the country’s strategic interests, then the situation will be great. If not, the snap elections will be the only option left as there will be no other, said Shekjerinska.

She stressed that they are having contacts with countries partners and with Greece, and she thinks that if the elections become an option it is possible to reach on time for the Greek parliament to ratify the Prespa Agreement and the Agreement for Macedonia’s accession into NATO.


Sekerinska: Work on constitutional changes will begin after referendum


Skopje, 21 September, 2018 - 14:12 (META) 

We will not have any elections or a more clear demonstration than the upcoming referendum. This message will be conveyed to the public by September 30th, therefore our message is for everyone to exercise their right and express their opinion, said Minister of Defense Radmila Sekerinska while responding to a journalist’s question whether early parliamentary elections are plan “B” after MPs from VMRO – DPMNE said they will not vote on constitutional changes.

When asked whether the constitutional amendments made by the Greek side were received by the Macedonian government through the non-paper, Sekerinska pointed out that during this tome, they are being bombarded with lies and untruths. The goal, she said, is that we should again focus on the needs of the people, rather than focusing on the needs of VMRO-DPMNE and added that if the Greek side thinks that this should be done, it would be part of the agreement.

“The lies are here to not allow us to focus on the essence. We have signed an agreement and that agreement is binding. The obligations are ours, not Greek,” said Sekerinska.

Asked whether a new leadership meeting or political dialogue was needed after the referendum, Sekerinska said that “she does not believe Macedonia needs another round of negotiations on amnesty for crime and corruption.”


Von Der Leyen: The opportunity is now and should be seized


Skopje, 20 September, 2018 - 15:54 (META) 

The German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen at the meeting with her Macedonian colleague, Radmila Shekjerinska in Skopje, stated that Macedonia and Germany share the same values and that “we should continue to build Europe together!” also stating that this country has a unique opportunity that has to be seized.

-From our experience with the unification of Germany, I can say that these opportunities are unique and that should be seized. I want to say that I’m talking about a united Europe and that we want to build Europe together with you – said the German minister who also said that Macedonia and Germany share the same values – democracy, the rule of law, the dignity of individuals, the right for free expression.

After the meetings at the ministry head offices, Shekjerinska said that the frequent visits of the highest German leadership, Chancellor Merkel, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mas and the Minister von der Leyen, show that Germany is a sincere, consistent and true friend of Macedonia.

-We recognize the German leadership even today, when we are receiving a serious, sincere, and open support just when Macedonian citizens are about to decide for their country, for their future. We saw this leadership at the previous NATO summitt when Macedonia received a strong support to be granted the longawating invitation for a membership into the Alliance – said Shekjerinska.


Statistically, half of ARM soldiers have already participated in NATO missions


Skopje, 6 September, 2018 - 16:20 (META) 

More than 4,000 ARM soldiers have participated in NATO missions so far, Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska said after today’s meeting with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, at the Ilinden barracks in Skopje.

“Today, the NATO Secretary General was present in Stajkovci, where Macedonia could count on NATO in the recent past. We are now at the “Ilinden” barracks, where we had the opportunity to see the members of the ARM, which NATO could rely on in the past, since more than 4,000 members of our army participated in different missions led by NATO in the past years. For us, this is a partnership on which we can rely on,” said Shekerinska.

She acknowledged that the ARM was “a constant, quiet but very visible and recognized diplomat who lobbied for Macedonia to become a NATO member”.

Currently, the ARM has 8,167 members, which means that more than half of its members have already been on NATO-led missions. With the new Strategic Defense Review, which was adopted in June, the ARM will have approximately 6,800 active military personnel.

Macedonia has participated in NATO-led missions since 2002 when it sent two ARM officers to Afghanistan within the Turkish contingent.


Government forms NATO Integration Committee chaired by Prime Minister Zaev


Skopje, 5 September, 2018 - 11:52 (META) 

At its 86th session, the Government formed a Committee for NATO integration and it will be chaired by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, while vice prime ministers Radmila Shekerinska Jankovska, Bujar Osmani, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Dimitrov were appointed as deputies.

Permanent members in the Committee are ministers Oliver Spasovski, Renata Deskoska, Dragan Tevdovski, Damjan Manchevski, Major General Vasko Gjurchinovski, the Chief of General Staff of ARM, the Director of the Directorate for Security of Classified Information, Stojan Slaveski, the National Coordinator for NATO Stevo Pendarovski, the Deputy Minister of Defence, Bekim Maksuti, the Deputy Interior Minister, Agim Nuhiu.

The Government announced that other members of the Government and other relevant personnel may take part in the Committee’s work if there is a discussion regarding subjects in their field.


Scaparrotti: Looking forward to Macedonia becoming the 30th member of NATO


Skopje, 9 August, 2018 - 14:21 (META) 

Your country is building a bright future and progressing. NATO shares your commitment to democracy, the rule of law, security and stability in the region. Your continued support is important not only for the Western Balkans, but for the whole of Europe. I am looking forward to Macedonia becoming the 30th member of NATO, said the commander of the US Army Command in Europe for Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti, who is visiting Macedonia today.

General Scaparrotti, together with a delegation from the Ministry of Defence and the Army of the Republic of Macedonia, led by Minister Radmila Shekerinska, conducted a demonstration exercise at the “Ilinden” barracks.

“Recognizing the historic invitation of allies to start accession negotiations with NATO, we recognize and respect that there are challenges remaining before you, so, there is still a lot of work to be done. At the same time, we look forward to providing practical support to your military authorities in the accession process. We are convinced by addressing these challenges and a successful accession to the Alliance will have exceptional benefits for you. The countries that joined the Alliance have managed to strengthen their democracy, advance security and make their people more secure”, Scaparrotti said.

Shekerinska said this visit shows how things in Macedonia have changed since July 11 when we received the NATO invitation.

“Today we host the first NATO Military Representative from Europe, who is visiting for the first time in Macedonia. These amplified dynamics demonstrates the firm determination of Macedonia to become the 30th NATO member in a rapid and intensive process”, Shekerinska said.

She emphasized that at this point it is important to confirm and honour the two and a half decade of the determination by the people of the Republic of Macedonia for NATO membership, and one of those key steps will be the referendum on September 30th.


Russian Embassy: Zaev and Sekerinska are spreading Russophobia, we expect an investigation into allegations


Skopje, 17 July, 2018 - 11:55 (META) 

Yesterday evening, the Russian embassy reacted to allegations from Prime Minister Zoran Zaev that businessmen from Russia financed anti-government protests. Zaev made the statement in an interview with BuzzFeed News and then repeated it in response to a journalist’s question at the start of the construction of the American Dura plant in Bunardzik.

The Embassy believes that the statement was guesswork, similar to those of the Minister of Defense Radmila Sekerinska recently.

“We believe that such statements are guesswork, as well as the recent allegations by the Minister of Defense, Radmila Sekerinska, are aimed at spreading Russophobia, which is increasingly accepted by the Western partners of Macedonia as a tool for achieving its own internal and external political goals. In that context, the honesty of the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia for building friendly relations with the Russian Federation is questionable”, read the statement.

In addition, it calls for an investigation into the Government’s allegations.

“We expect that the Macedonian side, within the legal field of its state and international practice, will conduct a detailed and objective investigation of the allegations that the stated members of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia allude to, and will present it to the public, as well as the Russian side, real facts, not constructions”, read the statement.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation says they are “counterproductive and irresponsible attempts” to intimidate citizens “with a fictitious Russian threat”.


Shekerinska: Macedonia will receive NATO invitation while sitting at the table with world powers


Skopje, 10 July, 2018 - 18:17 (META) 

Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska speaking before the NATO summit in Brussels addressed the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia with a video message.

In the video statement Minister Shekerinska emphasized that Macedonia will sit at the same table with world powers in the next two days, and that it will officially receive an invitation to join NATO.

“We missed this chance in 2008 and since then things have gone wrong. We have seen what it means to live in an uncertain country and in an unstable region. We have passed through many crises, and the state stagnated in all areas. Dear fellow citizens, in the past 10 years, one thing has become clear – without clear perspectives for NATO and EU membership, the future of Macedonia is uncertain. NATO membership is a historic opportunity that we must now utilise. Thus, the Republic of Macedonia will become a partner and ally with the most powerful countries in the world. NATO membership will bring stability and security for the Republic of Macedonia and its citizens. But it will also bring a chance for faster economic development and prosperity”, said the minister.

Shekerinska stressed that major changes have taken place, bringing big steps forward, and difficult problems have been solved.

“We have made major reforms, we have solved serious problems. We have shown that Macedonia can do better. I am proud of what we have achieved, we are moving forward”, she said in her video address.


Shekerinska: We are getting an invitation for NATO the day after tomorrow, lets not miss this chance


Skopje, 9 July, 2018 - 15:36 (META) 

It is quite certain that on 11th of July, Macedonia will receive an invitation for accession talks for the NATO Summit, which is expected to be relatively short – three to six months – a procedure which is identical to the last countries which became NATO members, i.e. Montenegro, Albania and Croatia, and then the Accession Protocol has to be signed, after which its ratification will begin with all member states, and then, we will be “de facto” with NATO, because then we will participate in a big part of the NATO procedures. It remains only to complete the procedure in the country, with the referendum and the constitutional changes, in order to remove the last obstacles. For a long period of time the opposition has been stressing that the EU and NATO are the strategic commitments for Macedonia, and now, it is not serious by the opposition to block this road because of the small political points, said Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska and the national NATO co-ordinator Stevo Pendarovski at today’s briefing with journalists.

Emphasizing that it is a minor accession process and that a large part of the issues have already been completed, both Pendarovski and Shekerinska said the accession process would be identical as it is for Montenegro, Albania and Croatia, and that the main thing should take place in the country, i.e. to hold a referendum and to change the Constitution.

“Macedonia is at a new beginning. What we missed in 2008, we can now realize it with 10 years delay, and we know it costs us a lot. But now it is a new time when the state is no longer abducted, the period of stagnation has stopped, we have a chance to send a new message for stability, and also we could have economic benefits. In the meantime, we have noticed that there is no objection from Greece”, the Minister of Defense said.

When asked whether it was possible for France and the Netherlands to obstruct the process, as it was with the case regarding the invitation to negotiate with the EU, Shekerinska and Pendarovski explained there is no danger at all, referring to the meetings with NATO ministers and ambassadors.

According to Pendarovski, during his reports in Brussels, he received assurances from the ambassadors of both countries that there is no objection.