Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council and the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia

  • 03 Jun. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 03 Jun. 2019 10:15

(As delivered)

So good morning.

It’s great to see you all. And it is really a great pleasure to be here with the whole North Atlantic Council.

29 Allies welcomed and hosted by our soon 30th member, North Macedonia.

Skopje and Athens showed historic determination and conviction in putting aside decades of dispute and solving the name issue.

It shows that change is possible, that courage pays off.

Thanks to the hard work of individuals, including many of you here in the room today.

You are now building a better future for your country.

Contributing to regional and transatlantic security.

And ensuring North Macedonia’s sovereignty and prosperity.

And its place among the international community.

Today, we will discuss North Macedonia’s integration into the Alliance. 

So Prime Minister Zaev, dear Zoran, it’s really a great honour to be together with you again and I remember the first time we met here in Skopje, that is was still uncertain whether you would be able to meet an agreement with Greece on the name issue. Then you showed courage and political leadership and you were able to agree on the name issue and that paved the way for NATO membership. Therefore it’s really great to see you again. 

Many thanks for your warm hospitality. Thank you for hosting the North Atlantic Council and then I hand the floor to you.


Thank you Prime Minister Zaev. It is really a great pleasure to listen to you and as you said NATO membership is really important for North Macedonia but it’s also important for the region and it’s also important for the whole Alliance that we are now moving forward towards having 30 members in our Alliance. And we can already see the benefits for North Macedonia, of the membership, because as you said investments are increasing, investments in North Macedonia have increased three-fold over the last year and this shows that security provides the foundation for prosperity, also for your country. So once again, it’s great to be together with you again with all the 29 Allies today.

This concludes the public part of the meeting and I thank the media for joining us at the opening of our meeting. And we will continue in just a moment with our discussions.