Minister Shekerinska from the International Conference “We are working together against hybrid threats”: Democracy, interethnic relations and membership in NATO and the EU are strengthening the country in dealing with hybrid threats

From 12 to 13 September 2018 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia is organising an international conference titled “Stabilising Effects of Euro-Atlantic Integration: Working Together against Hybrid Threats” which will be attended by representatives from NATO, the diplomatic corps in the country, the academic community and the civil sector.

The conference was opened by the National Coordinator for NATO, Stevo Pendarovski, in the capacity of chairman, with introductory addresses by Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and Minister of Defence Radmila Shekerinska, and State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Viktor Dimovski.

“Hybrid threats are present through the influence of information with black propaganda, the weakening of state logistics in important political processes, denigrating of institutions, but I am convinced that we will tackle them successfully because the citizens know well what the truth is. This is the first time that Macedonia is present at the international scene not because of a crisis or a domestic or regional conflict, but as a positive example that emerged as the new political course chosen by the citizens in the elections.

Hybrid threats take advantage of weaknesses in the country. That is why we chose to emphasise three important pillars: democracy, interethnic relations and NATO membership. These three goals are a strategic priority of the country. Their strengthening weakens all threats, including hybrid ones.

At the referendum, citizens should make a decision that will remove the final obstacle for NATO membership and speed up European integration. This is a historic opportunity that will not come again for a long time – an opportunity to become a full-fledged member of NATO next year and to start negotiations with the EU.

“With that aim, the Government calls for unity in Macedonia, not only declaratively, but to show that as citizens and leaders we know exactly in which direction Macedonia should be headed” emphasised Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska Jankovska.

Ambassador Antonio Missiroli, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, also delivered an address and spoke about the comprehensive model in dealing with the multidimensional nature of hybrid threats, which presupposes the use of appropriate resources and coordination of activities between the parties involved.

The conference presents an opportunity for exchanging opinions and sharing the experiences of NATO in relation to tackling these modern challenges in cyber-space. Comparative experiences of countries from Central and Eastern Europe were presented and the opportunities available to countries in building capacities and tackling this modern phenomenon.

The event also discussed the possibilities for establishing a regional model for its application in dealing with hybrid threats, taking into account the consequences of hybrid action on the Euro-Atlantic integration processes of Western Balkan countries.