Press Releases

Today, 4 November 2019, the Vice-President of the French Senate and member of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Committee, Hélène Conway-Mouret delivered a lecture at the MFA Amphitheatre.

 

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The event was hosted by the Deputy Foreign Minister Andrej Zernovski, who welcomed the visit of the high-level guest from France, underlining that the event is being held at a very sensitive time for our country. He stressed that the visit is also seen as a strengthening of the bilateral cooperation and building confidence between the two countries.

The topic of the lecture was French Defence Policy: Europe and NATO”, where Mrs Hélène Conway-Mouret, in charge of monitoring the defence and foreign policy issues in the region, conveyed several conclusions and views in an attempt to clarify the position of the French Republic, especially regarding the failure to adopt a decision to start accession talks for our country’s EU membership.

Addressing all those in attendance, Deputy Minister Zernovski stressed that this Government, following the generational dream of becoming a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, has made some painful compromises. “Guided by the desire for a secure future, for a safe society with economic growth, for the well-being of all our citizens, we have managed to secure a new hope for Macedonian citizens. We remained steadfast on this path because of future generations and because of the ultimate consolidation of our statehood and wholeness”, deputy minister stressed.

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In this context, Zernovski said “Our dream of NATO is becoming a reality”, adding that special emphasis is placed at the moment on achieving the highest level of institutional readiness for when North Macedonia is officially promoted as the 30th full-fledged member of the Alliance.

Senator Hélène Conway-Mouret underlined that our history and cultural heritage may be old, but the country itself is one of the youngest in the world, hence its weakness is not being well-known, probably because of the unfair clichés that are present among the Western public towards this region.

Speaking about European defence, which does not imply parallelism or distancing from NATO, but rather, complementarity, she emphasised that crucial need for strategic autonomy, given the specific security threats facing the European continent – terrorist threats, cyber-attacks, and sometimes natural disasters. The threats identified are not always treated as threats to the Alliance, and Europe cannot be a silent observer in the game of large global actors without having its own proactive role and engagement.

There are three basic points of view present or dominant in the current European discourse as pointed out by Senator Hélène Conway-Mouret: a) the East and North of Europe are concerned with the threats from the East of Europe; b) the South and the Mediterranean are concerned/affected by the instability in Africa and the Middle East and c) Europeans and European countries not affected by any of these threats (e.g. Ireland). Consequently, in her opinion, it is necessary to overcome the differences between these views and to harmonise unique European defence positions, within European institutions (in the European Commission – High Representative for Defence, joint military exercises, Military Erasmus Programme (unified military schools), so as to create a common strategic/defence vision for future decision-makers and to allocate the planned funding to the European Defence Fund for 2021-2027 in the amount of 13 billion euros.

The lecture was attended by a large number of diplomats and NGO representatives.