“Today’s meeting with my colleague, the Slovenian Defence Minister has a really extraordinary significance for us and for me personal, due to the fact that this is my first meeting as a defence minister with a colleague of a NATO member state in which I can truly say that Macedonia fulfilled its share of obligations and deserved the position next to Slovenia in the NATO alliance. Macedonia is proud of its achievements. In less than 2 years, we managed to bring the state back to normal, restore the basic democratic rules and chances. And you, as Slovenia, have the right to be proud of this success of ours, because I have to admit that the success of our country in terms of membership to NATO and EU has a strong Slovenian colour”, said Minister Shekerinska after the meeting.
Shekerinska stressed that Slovenia, as a serious country does not give its support only through words. “We have shown that democracy, the rule of law, media freedoms, reforms, security system reforms, the care for the Army and its members are not just words on paper, but are part of our priorities and our policy. We follow the Alliance’s guidelines for increasing the defence budget, which means more money for the Army of our country, we have increased the motivation of every member of the ARM, with two years of salary increase and better working conditions. This is the way Macedonia is entering NATO, but we also embed NATO standards step by step in our standards”, added the minister.
Minister Erjavec, calling this period historic for Macedonia, pointed out that both Slovenia and Macedonia made many compromises for membership in the NATO Alliance and the European Union, and added that he is pleased that Macedonia is on the path to NATO accession.
“I sincerely support Macedonia in its efforts to join NATO – we have shown this by the fact that the Slovenian embassy is the NATO contact point embassy and we have our representatives here today. I will continue to support Macedonia on its path towards attaining full-fledged membership in the NATO alliance, “said the Slovenian Minister of Defence.
Ministers Shekerinska and Erjavec stressed that bilateral defence cooperation is at the highest level, and an example of this are the joint exercises in both countries, as well as the renewed Memorandum for Cooperation in the use of military training areas both in Macedonia and Slovenia.
In that context, Minister Shekerinska said that “the Macedonian resources are becoming Slovenian resources, what Slovenia has can be used by Macedonia”, and that is the true recipe for unity in the largest alliance in which Slovenia has already been operating for many years, and in which Macedonia made the most important step, this year.