Jolevski in Rome: Macedonia has fulfilled the criteria; NATO should reach a positive decision on fully-fledged membership

Today in Rome, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Jolevski, chaired the session titled “The Road to Integration”, which is part of the Conference organized by the NATO Defence College on the topic “Balkan networks and stability – linking cooperation and human security”.

On today’s session, where in addition to Minister Jolevski as the chairman, speakers were also the former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Dimitrij Rupel, then Goran Svilanovic, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, Arian Starova, President of the Atlantic Council of Tirana and Brooke Smith-Windsor, from the NATO Defence College Research Division in Rome, it was stressed the importance of integration of the countries aspiring for NATO membership from Southeast Europe. The speakers stressed that membership in the Alliance should be viewed in terms of preservation and promotion of regional stability and security.

As the Chairman of the session, Minister Jolevski suggested that membership in the EU and NATO is of strategic importance for the Republic of Macedonia and Europe. “It is essential for Europe to be creative and to find methods how to speed up the integration processes for the remaining countries from Southeast Europe”, the Minister said. The changes in the geopolitical environment in Europe and worldwide indicate the need for a strategic approach towards the acceleration of the integration processes of South-East Europe nations, because the status quo situation in their integration is unsustainable. The speakers at the Conference stressed that the future of Southeast Europe nations is in the EU and NATO. The Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, Goran Svilanovic, said that all countries from the region should start negotiations for EU membership and that the European Commission should be more active in resolving bilateral differences between member states of the Union and countries from the region.

On the conference opinions were expressed regarding the recent activities in relation to Montenegro’s membership in NATO and the need to continue the expansion of the Alliance with Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially having in mind the new geopolitical reality and challenges with the current migrant crisis.

The aim of the conference is to give additional contribution to the security of the international community, from the perspective of political and strategic considerations, and in the direction of integration of the remaining Balkan countries and the security developments in the region and Europe.