The Western Balkans is not Switzerland so that it does not need NATO membership, because the region is a channel of terrorism-related extreme ideologies, heard Thursday’s debate on the tasks, challenges and opportunities from f.Y.R.O Macedonia’s NATO membership.
The discussion was organized by NGO Civil, in the framework of project “Free Media for Free Society”, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.
“Analyses over the past 25 years have shown that Macedonian citizens are not properly informed regarding the significance of NATO membership. However, I believe their expectations are increased security, guarantee for the country’s integrity and sovereignty, but also its economic growth,” said Minister Sekerinska.
When comparing the security of NATO members and aspirants, Sekerinska said the biggest threat of Alliance members lies far from their borders, while “Macedonia” is part of a region that serves as channel of extreme ideologies related to terrorism.
According to her, there is continual economic growth in recent and older NATO members, most visibly among Baltic states.
Pendarovski said “Macedonian” citizens are not properly informed about the Alliance’s significance, mainly due to the anti-american campaign by the former authorities and the claim that the country would collapse due to budget contributions in NATO.
“NATO member Croatia allocated EUR 3,5-4 million when it joined the Alliance, which represents 0.2-0.3 percent of the NATO budget. We should not fear these numbers,” he added./IBNA