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NATO Accession Means Far-Reaching Change for North Macedonia Military

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Nineteen years stuck in the waiting room, North Macedonia is just two ratifications shy of formally joining NATO as the 30th member of the Western military alliance.

Skopje hopes Spain and France will endorse the Accession Protocol so the country can join by NATO’s December summit in London or in the first few months of 2020.

But behind the fanfare and protocol, North Macedonia’s defence ministry and parliament have been hard at work aligning national legislation with NATO rules, with far-reaching implications for how the country’s military will operate from now on.

Defence spending must go up, parliament has to adopt NATO’s Article 5 on collective defence, intelligence procedures must be tightened and decision-making streamlined around participation in NATO missions. The race is on for North Macedonia to finish its homework before the big day arrives.

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