At its sitting today, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) decided to submit the Bill on the Approval of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the Accession of North Macedonia to the plenary sitting.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Enn Eesmaa pointed out that North Macedonia was one of the four countries, besides Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine, that had set accession to NATO as their important foreign policy target. “NATO continues its open door policy, and North Macedonia’s success story is a good example to others who strive to become members of the Alliance,” Eesmaa emphasised.
Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson believes that North Macedonia’s accession to NATO will enhance the security of the organisation and its member states, and improve the foreign policy situation because it will increase security and stability in Europe. “When the protocol enters into force, Estonia commits to defend North Macedonia, and North Macedonia will commit to defend Estonia,” Mihkelson emphasised.
The defence spending of North Macedonia forms 0.96 per cent of its GDP, but their government aims to reach the target of spending two per cent of GDP on defence by 2024.
The naming dispute with Greece, which hindered the accession of North Macedonia to NATO for a long time, was resolved at the beginning of this year, and “the Republic of North Macedonia” became the new official name of the country.
North Macedonia will become the 30th member of NATO after all current NATO member states have approved the protocol on accession according to their national law. Considering the earlier practice, the approval process may take several years. Greece was the first NATO member state to ratify the protocol on 8 February this year.
The discussion of the Bill on the Approval of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the Accession of North Macedonia, initiated by the Government of Estonia, is planned for the 4 June sitting of the Riigikogu.
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