by President Fabrizio W. Luciolli. Excerpt from the opening remarks at the NATO Day in Skopje, 4 April 2018.

Twenty-three years ago, when the Macedonian Authorities signed the NATO’s Partnership for Peace and cooperation programs, the question to be answered was: Why NATO? Today the question is Why NATO is not doing more on counter terrorism, hybrid warfare, cyber, migration, climate change, etc?

At present, the elegant simplicities of the Cold War are gone, and the free democracies of the Euro-Atlantic community are surrounded by threats and instabilities originating not only from the East, but also from the South. Moreover, the Euro-Atlantic community still has an “unfinished business” to be completed in the Western Balkans.

In this context, Skopje is at a crossroad and its full NATO adhesion plays a crucial role for the Euro-Atlantic community as a whole:

  • Approaching the seventy anniversary of the Atlantic Alliance, a full membership of Skopje will restate the NATO’s Open Door Policy bringing new energy to the Atlantic Alliance.
  • The migration crisis is challenging not only the Macedonian borders as the stability of the country appears essential for the EU – Turkey deal on migrants.
  • Furthermore, the full implementation of the Euro-Atlantic integration process will discourage any “greater” strategic perspective or influence, eventually envisaged by neighboring countries.
  • NATO’s enlargement to Skopje will better counter the increasing Russian influence in the region, which is not favoring an economic and social development of the Western Balkans through their full Euro-Atlantic integration.
  • Finally, Skopje is at the end of the One Belt One Road commercial and strategic highway coming from China.

The aforementioned challenges cannot be effectively addressed by one country alone, but re-launching the NATO and EU integration processes. To this end, the 2025 could represent an achievable date for the European integration, which NATO can accelerate and secure.
While the name issue must be addressed by the Greek and Macedonian authorities with a spirit of true cooperation, the role of civil society appears essential to successfully implement the Euro-Atlantic integration policies, as well as to counter the new threats and challenges of the present security scenario, ranging from terrorism to hybrid warfare and disinformation.
In this framework, the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) and the Euro-Atlantic Council of Macedonia are ready to translate the Macedonians security needs and goals in concrete achievements by effective actions in the field of information, education, training, civilian preparedness and international cooperation.