Updated: 01-Apr-2003 NATO Speeches


31 March 2003


by Javier Solana, European Union High Representative
for the Common Foreign and Security Policy,
at the ceremony marking the ending of
NATO's Operation Allied Harmony and transfer of authority to EU

This is a good day for all of us: for the EU, for NATO, and, most importantly, for the people of your country.

For NATO it is a good day, because a series of successful field operations have been concluded. The organisation can and should be proud of what it has achieved here, together with the authorities in Skopje, with the EU, the US and all other international partners.

For the EU it is a good day. President Trajkovski and the Government have shown confidence in the European Union's commitment to assist their country in assuring real, lasting peace and stability throughout its territory. I am fully convinced that Admiral Feist as Operations Commander and the Force Commander here in Skopje, General Maral, with the support of our Special Representative Alexis Brouhns, will prove that this was indeed a sound decision.

It is also a good day for EU and NATO together; and - allow me to dwell on a personal note - for Lord Robertson and myself. Today's transfer of authority from NATO to the EU for the field operation is an important demonstration of our reinforced partnership. For our two organisations the key message today is not "EU in and NATO out" - but that by working together, we are both
stronger, here and wherever else such cooperation may be in demand.

Finally, and most importantly, it is a good day for your country. The country's partnership with the European Union is growing stronger. This day marks the start of a new phase in our relations, a phase where cooperation with the EU extends to all fields: political, economic and in security matters.

We have a shared interest in making the best possible use of all the instruments in this multi-faceted co-operation in order to meet our shared objective - a future together within the European Union.

The journey towards the EU will not be short. And it may not be without obstacles: but this mission will help your country overcome some of the initial ones. We will make every effort to make it a shared success.

Go to Homepage Go to Index