The forum was opened by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel. On the panel entitled ” Line(s) of Defence: Securing Europe and its Neighborhood”, speeches were given by Minister Shekerinska, former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Council of the Federation, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Kosachev, and MP Michael Georg Link.
In the framework of the discussion on European security and defence, Minister Shekerinska spoke of the security challenges of Macedonia, the region, as well as the situation in Ukraine and the possibilities for its solution, using the lessons learned in the Balkans. “The citizens of the Republic of Macedonia have for the first time, in two election cycles, voted outside of their ethnic and religious blocks. The citizens require vision and courage”, the Minister said. She added that full safety and prosperity in the region is possible only if all NATO aspirant countries achieve their goal – full membership in the Alliance.
“Regarding the membership in the European Union and NATO, I believe that the Republic of Macedonia has not only theoretical, but concrete chances as well”, said MP Michael Georg Link. Referring to the negative public opinion among citizens in Germany, regarding the enlargement in the Union, he stressed that in foreign policy politicians should guide them, not follow the citizens.
The Berlin Foreign Policy Forum is attended each year by over 250 ministers, politicians, experts and journalists who debate on topics related to foreign policy issues in Germany and Europe. The purpose of the Forum is to stimulate interest in foreign policy issues, especially among younger generations. Some of the senior officials who have participated in the Forum thus far include Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Wolfgang Schäuble, Federica Mogherini and William Hague.
In Berlin, Defence Minister Shekerinska will meet with Ralf Brauksiepe, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Defence of Germany, with Lars Klingbeil of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence in the German Bundestag, with Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office and with Kurt Beck, President of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.