Updated: 17-Mar-2003 NATO Press Releases


17 March 2003


by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson

Today, the North Atlantic Council has decided to terminate Operation Allied Harmony in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) as of 31 March with a view to the EU commencing a successor operation. The handover has the full agreement of the authorities in Skopje, and demonstrates the considerable progress achieved during Allied Harmony and the previous operation Task Force Fox in restoring stability.

NATO will remain fully committed to helping the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to become fully integrated in Euro-Atlantic structures, and will continue to work for peace and stability in the Balkans. To that end NATO will maintain a Senior Civilian Representative and a Senior Military Representative in Skopje, who will continue to assist the authorities in the development of security sector reform and adaptation to NATO standards.

This decision also marks an important milestone in the development of the NATO-EU strategic partnership. The full set of agreements for ready access by the EU to the collective assets and capabilities of NATO for EU-led operations (the so-called "Berlin Plus" arrangements) was key for the European Union to be able to take over NATO's mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Under these arrangements, NATO is able to support EU-led operations in which the Alliance as a whole is not engaged militarily. The force commander of the EU-led operation will be co-located in Skopje with the NATO Senior Military Representative.

The “Berlin Plus” arrangements, which have now been finalised, are in line with decisions taken at the 1999 NATO Washington Summit, and are consistent with decisions taken since then by NATO and the EU. Deputy SACEUR will be the operation commander of the EU-led operation and in this way will play a pivotal role between the EU and NATO.

NATO-EU cooperation in the Western Balkans goes back to the mid-1990s. The new crisis management arrangements now being put into practice in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are founded on both organisations’ determination to enhance mutual consultations, dialogue, cooperation and transparency, in due regard for the decision-making autonomy and interests of each.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name.

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