While the world is conerned over COVID-19-related issues, the NATO continues its expansion in southeastern Europe. Here is a comment by the Russian Foreign Ministry on the joining of North Macedonia to the NATO.
Comment by the Information and Press Department on North Macedonia joining NATO (source):
On March 27, after depositing its instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Washington, North Macedonia officially became NATO’s 30th member. By necessity the event had a lower profile and less pomp than previous waves of the alliance’s expansion due to ongoing concerns over the coronavirus.
Despite the emergency declaration in North Macedonia, its leaders still took time out to rhapsodise on the historic nature of the country’s accession to NATO, which supposedly will ensure stability and security of Skopje. Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov even called the country’s NATO membership “the testament of our fathers and grandfathers.” What was not mentioned, however, was how close the formal date of accession was to the anniversary of the start of NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia.
From the moment the Prespa Agreement was signed with Greece in June 2018, the process of North Macedonia’s integration into NATO – the self-proclaimed “alliance of democracies” – has been marked by a great many procedural and legislative irregularities. According to national law, turnout for the referendum on EU and NATO membership on September 30, 2018 was too low for the result to be valid. Various cases of interference in North Macedonia’s domestic affairs, even blackmail and intimidation, became known to the public. All of this went unnoticed by our Western partners, who are usually such sticklers for detail when it comes to legislative procedure.
It is evident that Skopje’s membership in the alliance yields no added value to European, regional or national security. This step certainly will not make it any easier to join efforts to counter common threats and challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic. It will only create new lines of separation.
A clear rationale for North Macedonia joining NATO has still yet to be given. Its people are promised economic growth, increased foreign investment and greater rule of law. But it is not necessary to join a military-political alliance for this. Now Skopje is required to immediately increase spending on defence and purchases of Western, primarily American, arms and equipment. This is the price the Macedonian nation will have to pay for ceding its sovereignty on military-political and other matters.
Regarding the promised security dividends, the alliance is not always able to reliably protect its members or even put an end to old disputes between them, instead mastering the art of sweeping such things under the rug.
According to procedure, Skopje is expected to confirm acceptance of its NATO obligations under documents signed with Russia, in particular the 1997 Founding Act and the 2002 Rome Declaration.