The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Radmila Shekerinska, participated today at the 22nd European Forum held in Vienna on the topic: “The EU as the leading actor for security and defence”. In the framework of the Forum, Shekerinska addressed a panel discussion dedicated to Southeast Europe, Macedonia and its role in the stability of the EU.
“The Republic of Macedonia recently had a successful outcome of the Accession Talks for NATO membership and we expect the positive tendencies to continue and result in the start of negotiations with the EU. All this is the result of long preparations and cooperation with the Alliance and with the EU to meet the political and military-security standards. We have invested enormous efforts and dedication and we remain on that road”, Minister Shekerinska said. Also, Shekerinska said that for the first time there has been progress in the political climate in Macedonia with the participation of part of the opposition in the process of constitutional changes that are necessary for NATO membership, and that this is a result of the efforts of all who want to see Macedonia successful and integrated in Europe.
The Minister outlined the agreements with Greece and Bulgaria as a turning point in Macedonia’s foreign policy and Euro-Atlantic integration, and said that their achievement required much work and cancellations, but all that is worth it because the future of the citizens is ensured.
“I am convinced that dialogue is the only way for all of us in the region to overcome bilateral differences and misunderstandings. I sincerely hope that our example will serve as an impetus in the development of relations among the countries of the region”, the Minister said.
The Minister concluded that the EU’s enlargement policy is an investment in peace, security, prosperity and stability in Europe and that the integration of the Western Balkans will be a major victory for the European Union. As an argument Shekerinska noted the increase in economic and trade opportunities, as well as the improvement of the living standards of aspiring countries on the one hand and the increased trade for the European Union on the other.
Hosts of the Forum were the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, with participation from current and former officials from the region, Austria and beyond, as well as authorities in the area of defence and security.