Skopje, 26 August 2020 (MIA) – A ceremony on the occasion of the activation of the South-Eastern Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG) HQ in North Macedonia from 2020 to 2026 was held Wednesday in Kumanovo – based “Boro Menkov” barracks.
The ceremony was attended by President Stevo Pendarovski, Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska, the Chairman of SEDM-CC&PMSC Petro Koçi, Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Vasko Gjurchinovski, ambassadors accredited in Skopje, Deputy Ministers of Defence and Deputy Chiefs of Defence from the member countries, military leadership of the host nation, military attachés and local authorities.
Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska said at the ceremony that the Brigade returns to North Macedonia the same year the country became a member of NATO. SEEBRIG, she stressed, paved the way for multinational cooperation, strengthened team spirit and professionalism in the field of defence.
“The move SEEBRIG’s HQ to North Macedonia places on us enormous responsibility, but will also allow us to extend our influence and become a key contributor to regional stability and cooperation, ” Shekerinska noted, thanking Brigade members for their contribution.
She also thanked during the ceremony current Commander, Brigadier General Tudorica Petrache and told incoming Commander, Brigadier General Aristeides Iliopoulos that SEEBRIG has a friend in her, the Defence Ministry and North Macedonia’s institutions.
“I’m convinced that SEEBRIG was established to help us understand each other better, not fear one another. It’s been in the past 21 years, a bridge between six countries – North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey. Therein lies its importance which strengthens its role in regional cooperation,” the Minister added.
The Chairman of SEDM-CC&PMSC Petro Koçi thanked the host nation for efforts put in taking over SEEBRIG HQ. He underlined that the Brigade promotes regional cooperation and stability, as evidenced by its activities over the years.
Outgoing SEEBRIG Commander, Brigadier General Tudorica Petrache told the event that the Brigade has taken part in the past in several military exercises and expressed satisfaction over the results it has achieved. He congratulated staff members for their commitment and putting aside differences in order to work together.
Moreover, Petrache wished new Commander, Brigadier General Aristeides Iliopoulos success in his endeavours.
Iliopoulos on his part stressed that SEEBRIG was established 21 years ago to contribute to regional stability and security, as well as improve good-neighbourly relations between member states. He thanked SEEBRIG HQ’s host nation for support and for adapting the Brigade’s latest seat.
The South-Eastern Europe Brigade or SEEBRIG is a multinational brigade with forces from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Romania, and Turkey.
It was established in August 1999, based on the Multinational Peace Force South-Eastern Europe (MPFSEE) agreement concluded between the defence ministers of the participating countries in Skopje on 26 September 1998.
The location of the HQ was established on a rotational basis, starting with Plovdiv between 1999-2003, followed by Constanta between 2003-2007, then Istanbul between 2007-2011, and Larissa between 2011-2020.