Prime Minister Zaev and Minister of Defence Shekerinska at the reception of 125 new professional soldiers in the Army of the Republic of Macedonia: The future and security of the country is seen in you as the first generation of young soldiers from the ARM as members of the NATO Alliance

At a formal ceremony in the Ministry of Defence, 125 citizens of the Republic of Macedonia were today admitted as professional soldiers in the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.

On the ceremony, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev stressed that they are the future; they are the security of the Republic of Macedonia. Prime Minister Zaev pointed out that this generation of professional soldiers should be especially proud because it is the first generation of soldiers to serve their country as a member state of the NATO Alliance.

“To be a soldier in a member state of the Alliance means working in much better conditions, according to the standards of NATO Allies… You become part of an army that is an example for the region, an army that has for years participated alongside the armies of NATO member states in peace missions of the Alliance and receives the highest marks”, said Prime Minister Zaev.

Prime Minister Zaev added that in just one year our country achieved what no one could predict. The approach that united strong political will, honest dialogue and preparedness for solutions will bring us these days more joyful news and positive decisions. He pointed out that one of them is the announced invitation for Macedonia to be the 30th member state of NATO next week.

“A time of change and intensive development follows. Reforms are next in the Army that will be felt very soon. You are the bearers of those changes, with your young spirit and with your professionalism and pride as soldiers of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia and NATO”, said Prime Minister Zaev in front of the new soldiers.

The Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska, said that precisely the invitation for NATO membership next week will mean the beginning of an era of stability and security for our country. She told the newly admitted 125 professional soldiers that they are starting their career in a real crucial time, a time of great challenges, modernization and professionalization of the Army, a time when Macedonia will advance the defence and reach the NATO Alliance standard.

“In each of you – 125 soldiers who will wear the uniform of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia, I see the change that is about to come. You are the ones that should be the embodiment of the results and values that we strive for and for which we work. Your generation is special – you have the privilege, but also the responsibility to be the first generation of soldiers in the Army who will almost entirely develop their career within the NATO Alliance”, the minister said.

Shekerinska pointed out that the citizens of Macedonia recognize the contribution of the Army members, and therefore the Army is an institution that enjoys the greatest trust between the citizens. She added that partners in the world have only words of praise and highest marks for the contribution of ARM members in peacekeeping missions.

Every effort needs to be valued, said the minister, and pointed out that in this year of positive changes, the wages for all members of the Army were increased by 10 percent, which is only the beginning of the positive changes in the Army.
Regarding membership in the Alliance, the minister pointed out that the experiences of the neighbouring countries showed that this guarantees security as a basic precondition for economic development, more investments and new partnerships, pointing to the example with Bulgaria where foreign direct investments rose from the level of 7 percent of the gross domestic product before joining NATO, to about 20 percent after joining the Alliance.

“NATO membership will mean final stabilization and sustainable peace in the region, a stable regional market and expansion of opportunities. In NATO, Macedonia will decide side by side with world powers on all important world security and political issues”, the Minister concluded.

The newly admitted 125 professional soldiers in the ARM are part of the planned 375 new professional soldiers in the Army for this year. 15 female members are part of this generation of professional soldiers.