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Mar 30 2020

SHAPE welcomes NATOs 30th member, North Macedonia

SHAPE, Belgium – Across the Alliance flags were raised in celebration to mark the accession of NATO’s newest Allied nation the Republic of North Macedonia on March 30, 2020.

Due to the current global pandemic of COVID-19, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) held a scaled down but no less sincere ceremony presided over by Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Tod D. Wolters. 

For my countrymen and women, NATO is not only a privilege, it is a reason to work harder, to function better and to relentlessly raise the ladder and look further and beyond
“This marks a tremendous step forward for generating peace,” said General Wolters. “We’ve all seen the stability that the Republic of North Macedonia creates and delivers in the Western Balkans, the Balkans, the region and Europe, throughout the Euro-Atlantic. With this ascension we now possess the great opportunity to generate more peace.”
SHAPE, Belgium (March 30, 2020) – Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Tod D. Wolters speaks during a flag raising ceremony at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) where the Republic of North Macedonia was welcomed as NATO’s newest Allied nation. The Republic of North Macedonia became the thirtieth Allied nation during the ceremony presided over by SACEUR General Wolters. (NATO photo by SSGT Ross Fernie)

After General Wolter’s remarks, SHAPE’s first-ever North Macedonia national military representative Lieutenant Colonel Panche Stefanovski spoke about the importance of the accession of his home nation into the Alliance.


SHAPE, Belgium (March 30, 2020) – The Republic of North Macedonia’s National Military Representative to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Lieutenant Colonel Panche Stefanovski salutes during a flag raising ceremony at SHAPE where the Republic of North Macedonia was welcomed as NATO’s newest Allied nation. The Republic of North Macedonia became the thirtieth Allied nation during the ceremony presided over by SACEUR General Wolters. (NATO photo by SSGT Ross Fernie)


“For my countrymen and women, NATO is not only a privilege, it is a reason to work harder, to function better and to relentlessly raise the ladder and look further and beyond,” said Lieutenant Colonel Stefanovski. “It represents the unity of ideas, convictions and commitments for creating a family of equals by determination, and belief in a greater cause. It is beyond any doubt that our pursuit that lasted almost three decades will end today. Yet, our adventure is about to begin, and we will prove that we are up to the task.”

The process of accession into NATO is a complex and well-planned initiative that must be approved by all Allied nations. North Macedonia’s first steps towards accession began in 1995 when they joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and then in 1999 when they joined the Membership Action Plan. They have also been involved in NATO-led operations in both Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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