Looking back, we can be really proud of what we have accomplished together in 2018. In history it will be written that this is the year when we stopped the isolation of our homeland and opened the doors to become an equal member in the most powerful military-political alliance.
The invitation for NATO membership is in our hands, we have successfully realized the accession talks. The position in the Allied table is already reserved!
For the first time in 14 years, a US Defense Secretary visited Macedonia. For the first time in 6 years, we had a meeting at the highest level in the Pentagon. After more than a decade, a NATO Secretary General visited Macedonia twice in the same year. For the first time in our history in one year we held bilateral meetings with the Defence Ministers of France, Germany and Italy.
Key political officials from the world visited us to send us a message – we are expecting you, it’s time for us to become allies!
However, the great achievements did not deter us from our decisiveness to give back to the Army. We promised and kept our promise – for the first time, the defence budget and salaries for the Army of the Republic of Macedonia are increasing for two years in a row. This is because we know who the pillar of our security is – they are our soldiers and our officers!
For many years it was only talked about the problems with uniforms and boots of the members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. This year we showed that we are able to solve the problems. We provided boots for all members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia and we have already signed an agreement for 14,000 uniforms. Our soldiers and officers will never face this problem again.
I was with our peacekeepers in Afghanistan. I travelled there to tell them that Macedonia is proud of them. They were and remain our true ticket to NATO.
In 2018, 375 young people entered the ranks of the Army. We realized what we promised. 375 young people got a job with good conditions and with a chance for promotion.
In 2018, we focused on our goal – Macedonia to be a member of the European family. We know that in 2019 our focus must be on domestic reforms. To increase the chances for all citizens of our homeland. To improve the economy and strengthen the standard of living. For this we will need your trust and your support. We will work hard and deliver what we promised.
I wish you a happy New Year and I call you to raise the Macedonian flag together in front of the NATO – Alliance and to continue building our future!