16th Conference, First ETESWG Meeting - Sofia, 08-10 February 2023

In accordance with the timeline for the preparation of the 16th Balkan Countries CHOD’s Conference, the 1st ETESWG meeting was held in Sofia from 08 to 10 February 2023. The meeting was chaired by Captain (N) Kalushko GANEV as the ETESWG leading member of the hosting Capital. At this meeting, present in person were the representatives of Athens, Belgrade, Podgorica, Skopje, and Tirana. Due to conflicting commitments and travel issues, unable to attend in person were the representatives of Ankara, Bucharest, and Sarajevo. For those three members, a last minute VTC was arranged. This way, the on-line participation to the meeting of all three of them was made possible.

The meeting was held at the National Defense College in Sofia.

The opening remarks were offered by the Director of Operations and Training Directorate, Brigadier General Stanimir Yordanov. In his speech, he emphasized that the ETESWG performance is pivotal for the accomplishments of our cooperation since exercises are the most significant part of the regional partnership in general and the BCHOD Initiative in particular. Additionally, the General outlined that the ETESWG is a key tool of the Balkan Countries’ CHODs in their goal to develop military partnership, promote peace, and enhance stability. Ultimately, the Director expressed on behalf of the CHOD and his own behalf great appreciation to all ETESWG members for their contribution and support to this event in preparation of the 16th Balkan CHODs Conference.

Welcome remarks were offered by the Dean of National Security and Defense Faculty, Colonel Georgi Dimov. In his speech, the Dean emphasized the importance of learning for military leaders, as well as the pivotal role of defense education for the regional peace, security and prosperity.

During the meeting, the ETESWG 2023 task list was reviewed as assigned by the Coordination Group of the Initiative. All tasks were acknowledged and concurred as per the discussions that followed.

The meeting was held in a constructive and friendly atmosphere. The chairman expressed sincere appreciation to all participants (both in person and on-line) for their contribution and support. In return, participants commended the efforts of the chair and the host nation support.