As Macedonia takes over the helm of the Adriatic Group, it hopes to speed up the integration of the remaining three countries to NATO.
By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 16/02/13
Developing the defence capacity of countries, regardless of limited resources will be the focus of the alliance in the coming months. [Tomislav Georgiev/SETimes]
The focus of Macedonia's presidency of the Adriatic Group will be to advance regional security co-operation and to boost member country's NATO bids.
The group, which is comprised of Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) facilitates frequent meetings and steady contacts.
Antonio Milososki, former Macedonian minister of foreign affairs, said the basis of the group is the joint regional interest in NATO membership. Two group members -- Albania and Croatia -- are already members of the alliance.
"With Croatia and Albania's NATO membership, the group strengthens its inner voice. These two countries advocates for the other countries in the region," Milososki told SETimes.
"Regarding Serbia and Kosovo, I think that the invitation to be part of this co-operation, involved in the Adriatic Group conferences, can contribute to bilateral relations between Belgrade and Pristina," Milososki said.
According to former Macedonia Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski, the priority of the group in the coming period is to speed up the integration of the remaining three countries to NATO.
"In the next six months, Macedonia should seriously approach its assignment and attract other potential NATO members [in the region]," Buckovski told SETimes.
One of the major projects for the group is to implement a regional approach to airspace defense, which will enable an information exchange for airspace surveillance.
"The aerospace defense resources of Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro are limited … we should rely on the experience of the Baltic countries that have a common defense concept. The air unit countries should have joints patrols," Buckovski said.
Adriatic Group co-operation is implemented through several projects, including military exercises, special forces trainings and joint security services actions.
"The Adriatic Group's ambition to join NATO indicates their willingness to share the responsibility of security. After years of civil war and regional instability, it was necessary to enforce mechanisms of security interest to the alliance. Co-operation among Balkan countries in Kabul Afghanistan is a unique example of co-operation," Aleksandar Radic, a military analyst in Belgrade, told SETimes.