Shekerinska: Both the expert and political public in Macedonia are united in the message that NATO membership for Macedonia means increased security, increased predictability, and at the same time chances for greater economic growth

“Among the facts and fiction – what will Macedonia’s accession to NATO bring?” is the title of today’s debate and the presentation of two independent research papers on the effects of our country’s accession to the Alliance, organized by the Institute for European Policy, and opened by the Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska.

At the beginning of her opening address, Minister Shekerinska expressed her satisfaction with the cooperation of the state institutions with the civil sector. She stressed that the Government of the Republic of Macedonia firmly believes that this country can become a better society, more integrated, more prosperous, through NATO and EU membership.

- “The position among all 29 NATO members is undivided, that Macedonia is ready to become the 30th member state. And that is something we should be proud of because this country quickly managed to make up for lost time. However, it was understood that the process will depend on the completion of the process of constitutional changes and the messages that will be sent by the Republic of Macedonia for the whole period of ratification. We, practically from the first half of 2019, will be able to function at the NATO desk as a de facto member state. But we will have the right to vote after the process will be fully completed with ratification in all member states of the Alliance. And what we are doing now helps us to make this process successful”, the Minister said at the opening of the debate.

In a statement to the media, she said:

“Both the expert and political public in Macedonia are united in the message that NATO membership for Macedonia means increased security, increased predictability, but that at the same time it brings chances for greater economic growth. The examples we have looked at from the neighbourhood and more beyond show that NATO membership initiates a process of enhanced economic growth, greater mobility and courage among domestic investors, but particularly increased interest from foreign investors that immediately have an effect on more and better paid jobs. Of course, we agreed that we should not wait for NATO membership to solve all of our problems, but that it is a process of growth, transformation and improvement of the state. In the end everything will depend on our energy, everything will depend on our capacity and power to provide citizens with better chances for life”.

Simonida Kacarska – the Director of the Institute for European Policy said that NATO membership will bring increased development and inflow of investments.

“On the basis of the experiences of the other countries that joined NATO in the past 10 years, what we can expect is certainly increased development, increased inflow of foreign direct investment, but with one note of caution that much of those expectations and effects will actually depend on ourselves, on the implementation of domestic reforms and on whether we will be able to enable the domestic economy, as well as our institutions, to meet the challenges of the obligations of that membership”.

The two independent research papers, one dedicated to the “Multidimensional benefits and effects of NATO accession” and the other on “the economic benefits and challenges of NATO membership”, through facts and parallels with countries in the region that are already part of the NATO – Alliance, point out the real benefits for the citizens of Macedonia from membership in the Alliance.

Economic data for countries in the region show a dramatic increase in gross domestic product growth indicators and growth in foreign direct investment, compared to the five-year periods preceding and after NATO membership. Studies show that the effects can be noticed immediately, as can be seen from the data for Montenegro, which became a member of the Alliance last year. In this country, the increase in foreign direct investment, just one year after joining NATO, is 147%.