President Stevo Pendarovski participated today in the leaders meeting organized by the Belgrade Center for Security Policy, titled “Russian aggression against Ukraine: New momentum for EU enlargement?”
The President referred to the significance of NATO membership and the influence of Russian propaganda in the Balkans.
“If we were not members of NATO and did not share all the information in that system, we would not be able to deal with all the other propaganda and fake news. If we compare the penetration of Russian services in the region, especially in Macedonia, now it is not so big compared to 2018, when we organized the referendum on NATO membership, and especially before that campaign, when foreign entities established 35 internet portals overnight in the country, 2/3 of which had similar names to already existing ones”, the President said in the discussion.
Regarding the bilateral dispute with Bulgaria, as an obstacle of the Macedonian integration to the EU, President Pendarovski said that two and a half years ago, Bulgaria started presenting demands that have nothing in common with the EU criteria. “They started talking about the Macedonian ethnic identity, that the Macedonian language is a dialect of the Bulgarian, that in the period from 1941 to 1944 they were administrators, not occupiers, and all this was disseminated in written form to all the ambassadors. This type of historical revisionism is absolutely inadmissible in any serious discussion”, President Pendarovski said, adding that such dialogue is not appropriate for an EU member state.
Slavica Grkovska, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of good governance policies, Igor Bandovic, Director of the Belgrade Center for Security Policy, Vesela Cherneva, Deputy Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, Goran Buldioski, Director of the Europe and Central Asia Program of the Open Society Fund, and Srgjan Cvijic, Chairman of the International Advisory Committee of the Belgrade Center for Security Policy, participated in the discussion.
The goal of the leaders meetings is to discuss the significant external and security challenges facing the region, geopolitical events and trends affecting it, and to assess the future of democratic reforms, regional cooperation and the place of the Western Balkans in global politics.