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EU Battle Group, including Macedonian army troops, ends military exercise


The EU Battlegroup for the second half of 2014 (EUBG 2014-2), which also includes Macedonian army troops, officially concluded Thursday the multinational exercise “Rampant Lion 2014″ in the Belgian city of Marche-en-Famenne, MIA reports from Brussels.

EU Battlegroup Commander, Major General Hubert De Vos told Macedonia’s Defense Minister Talat Xhaferi he was feeling safer knowing that he was being guarded by Macedonian soldiers having in mind that the main task of 134 Macedonian servicemen in this group was to secure the main headquarters of EUBG 2014-2.

“We are learning from the past and preparing for the future… I thank all partners in EUBG 2014-2 for their cooperation, training and efforts to create a successful battle group. Regardless of whether our group is to be used in the future, we can say this exercise has confirmed that we are prepared fostering an increased mutual cooperation,” said Major General De Vos at today’s closing exercise.

A day of high guests was organized for today’s closing event of the military exercise, where Macedonian Defense Minister Talat Xhaferi and Belgium’s Deputy PM and Minister of Defense Pieter De Crem were in attendance.

“It is being reaffirmed once again that the Macedonian Army in compliance with the standards is ready to execute missions and tasks in Macedonia as well as abroad regardless of whether these mission are led by NATO, the United Nations or the European Union,” Xhaferi told MIA.

Thanking the participants in the group, especially the “brave Macedonian soldiers”, Deputy PM De Crem welcomed Belgium’s leadership of EU BG 2014-2. “I believe the concept of EU BG 2014-2 is of great importance playing a strong role in the common security and defense policy. It is reinforcing the Union’s credibility by forming partnership of military forces,” he stated.

In addition to Macedonia, the EU Battle Group 2014-2 is also consisted of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, and Belgium. The 2.700-strong group, which is under direct control of the Council of EU, could be deployed on the ground within 5–10 days up to 6,000 km from Brussels in the next six months.