Macedonia spends barely over 1 percent of its GDP for defense, far below the 2 percent NATO requirement. The Government promises to meet the requirement by 2024, which is estimated to increase the defense budget from the current level of 135 million EUR to a little over 200 million EUR.
Given this, a comment from Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska raised eyebrows on Wednesday, after the signing of the NATO accession protocol, when she claimed that Macedonia will pay a mere 1.2 million EUR per year for its NATO membership.
Depending on the talks we had with NATO, our estimates and calculations, we would have to contribute about 1.2 million EUR to the NATO budget per year. That is not a large sum of money, Sekerinska said, trying to reduce criticism over the high price tag that comes with NATO membership.
Still, the minister acknowledged that far more significant costs are coming down the pipeline, as the country will be asked to meet the 2 percent spending requirement, which she referred to as “investment”.
The largest portion of the investment in NATO comes in the form of investing in our defense and our army, she said.
A first move to increase NATO related spending, Sekerinska said, will be to increase the mission to NATO to 15 people, most of whom will be military representatives.