"Macedonia is now part of the NATO family, a family of thirty countries and nearly a billion people. A family based on the certainty that whatever challenges we face, together we are stronger and safer," said Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO. The NATO allies had signed Macedonia's accession process in February 2019, after which all 29 national parliaments ratified membership. The Balkan country could only join the alliance after it changed its name to Northern Macedonia. As an EU and NATO member, Greece had previously blocked any rapprochement with Western alliances. "Macedonia's accession to NATO will promote greater integration, democratic reform, trade, security and stability throughout the region," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement. "NATO's door remains open to countries that are willing and able to implement the reforms necessary to meet the Alliance's high standards and accept the responsibilities and benefits of membership," he added.
A triple ceremony took place today, March 30th at 3 p.m., on the occasion of accession at NATO's headquarters in Brussels, at the military command centre in Casteau, Belgium, and at NATO's training centre in Norfolk, in the American state of Virginia. The organisation came into being after the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington on 4 April 1949. Text: Geert Gelaude