Poland joins NATO's Budapest medical excellence center

Hungarian-Polish military cooperation took another step forward as Poland joined NATO's medical excellence center in Hungary.

Poland has become the 12th allied nation to join NATO's Budapest-based Center of Excellence for Military Medicine. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said he had experienced "innumerable times" how similarly the two countries think.

The NATO Center of Excellence for Military Medicine (MILMED COE) is an international military organization with the core task to facilitate interoperability between the military medical services in NATO. It was accredited by NATO on October 12th, 2009 and is located in Budapest, Hungary.

MILMED COE currently has 11 member nations. Besides Hungary as the founding Framework Nation, 10 countries have joined the center as Sponsoring Nations: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and the United States of America. The center is composed of four medical branches: Deployment Health Surveillance Capability (DHSC) – a satellite branch located in Munich, Germany; Interoperability, Lessons Learned and Training.

Hungarian Defense Minister Tibor Benkő said the two countries cooperate in many regional and global NATO operations. For example, under NATO's Baltic Air Policing agreement Poland provides the aircraft and personnel, with Hungary next in the four-month rotation.

Since March 2004, when the Baltic States joined NATO, the 24/7 task of policing the airspace of the Baltic States was conducted on a three-month rotation from Lithuania's First Air Force Base in Zokniai/Šiauliai International Airport, near the northern city of Šiauliai, and starting in 2014 at the Ämari Air Base in Harju County, Estonia. Starting with the Turkish deployment, rotations changed to a four-month basis. Usual deployments consist of four fighter aircraft with between 50 and 100 support personnel.

Title image: Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak and his Hungarian counterpart Tibor Benkő in Budapest (MTI/Noémi Bruzák)

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