Your excellences, vice admiral, generals, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, today we are celebrating a double event: SEDM-CC/PMSC Chairmanship Hand Over – Take Over Ceremony and SEEBRIG's 20th Anniversary. I take this opportunity to congratulate H.E. Mr. Ambassador Eleftherios Angelopoulos and his staff for the great job they have done and the support provided to our brigade. I want to underline the important role of former and current SEDM-CC/PMSC Chairmen and their Secretariat for the advice, assistance and their initiatives to develop SEEBRIG in order to meet the emerging defence and security challenges in the world.
Also I would like to convey best wishes to incoming Tirana's Chairmanship and good luck and great achievements to H.E. Mr. Petro Koci, the new chairman of SEDM-CC/PMSC, in their endeavour to strengthen stability and security in the region of Southeastern Europe.
I am honoured to welcome you all to our events and I hope you will enjoy being a part of them. We all know that anniversaries are the best opportunities to recollect our year gone memories and to cherish them again.
SEEBRIG, the only military component in the context of SEDM Process, is a very unique structure and since the inception, on 31st of August 1999, when it became officialy operational, everybody has been adding value to this structure, by experience, commitment, dedication and willingness to promote regional security, stability and further enhance cooperation in conducting Peace Support and Disaster Relief Operations, as well as Humanitarian Assistance.
I am obliged to all former commanders of SEEBRIG for the wonderful job they did (BG Zorlu, BG Kouzelis, BG Sulis, BG Nenov, BG Balaceanu, BG Dushku, BG Popovski and BG Metin). Unfortunately two of them passed away: BG Zorlu and BG Nenov. May their memory be a blessing...
All of them were great leaders who set the stage for the smooth running of this organization and established excellent cooperation and mutual understanding among the nations.
The last 20 years had been a long and stimulating path and we had come across a lot of challenges, starting with operational aspects, SEEBRIG HQ relocations, member nations units/subunits interoperability, multinational exercises and participation to one mission in Afghanistan as Kabul Multinational Brigade IX.
Nowadays, our main effort is to continue the process of interoperability and training. SEEBRIG's 20 years history obliges us to increase the rhythm, to be more effective and as a consequence, this year we have been involved in no less than 7 exercises, which is a great operational improvement.
We are continuously working to consolidate and develop new lines of cooperation and training with NATO and non-NATO structures (NRDC-Gr, NRDC-Tur, NRDC-Esp, Multinational Division South East and EU Operation Headquarters from Na-3). We have a great cooperation with NATO Schools and other Centres of excellences in terms of training, education and lessons learned.
On top of that, this year we have managed to organize 4 high level visits to various and significant structures and organizations such as: NATO Shape, UN Department of Peace Operations, High Level Planning Group OSCE and KFOR.
Looking forward, we are confident that we can do more. We have many medium and long term projects and I am certain we will keep on demonstrating outstanding professionalism and dedication to accomplish all the tasks and assignments. We must be connected to the ever-changing environment, various global threats and to be in close contact with UN, NATO and EU structures. We can learn and achieve more and this is the only way to continue the successful regional story of our organization.
All these wouldn't have been possible without the professional human resources provided by SEEBRIG member nations to our HQ and of course, the real support of our families.
Let's not forget the generous contribution and support offered by all HOST NATIONS wherever SEEBRIG HQ was relocated and I am talking about Plovdiv/Na-2, Constanta/Na-6, Istanbul Na-7 and for the last 8 years – Larissa/Na-3.
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us, for being a part of this special day and allow me to express my appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has contributed to making SEEBRIG what it is today.