Foreign Minister Maas on North Macedonia’s accession to NATO
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (27 March) on the accession of the Republic of North Macedonia to NATO:
Today, North Macedonia will become NATO’s 30th member. We congratulate the people of North Macedonia on this membership and warmly welcome our newest NATO Ally. For the people of North Macedonia, this is the end of a long journey of perseverance. The historic Prespa agreement between Greece and North Macedonia was a significant milestone. With it, the Heads of State and Government of both countries impressively demonstrated how long-standing impasses can be overcome through political courage and diplomatic skill. The fact that the EU decided this week to take up accession negotiations with North Macedonia is another great success for a steadfast policy of reform. North Macedonia’s membership in the Alliance strengthens security and stability throughout the Western Balkans; it also publicly reaffirms NATO’s open door policy – a policy that helps protect freedom, democracy and human rights. The German Government looks forward to working with our new NATO Ally, North Macedonia.
North Macedonia has since 1999 been a participant in NATO’s Membership Action Plan, a programme for countries wishing to join the Alliance. At NATO’s 2008 Bucharest Summit, a decision was taken to invite the country to engage in accession talks as soon as a solution to the name issue was reached with Greece. This condition was met with the conclusion of the Prespa agreement between the Governments in Skopje and Athens on 17 June 2018. Subsequently, the Permanent Representatives of NATO’s 29 member countries signed the accession protocol in a ceremony that took place in the presence of the Foreign Minister of North Macedonia. North Macedonia has enjoyed observer status in the Alliance since the signing of the protocol, which all 29 national parliaments have meanwhile also ratified. Now that this instrument of accession has been formally deposited with the United States Department of State on 27 March 2020, North Macedonia will officially become NATO’s 30th member with a flag-raising ceremony on 30 March 2020.