The European Union’s peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) will be led by a Hungarian commander, Major General László Sticz, from January. The Hungarian Defense Forces will participate in this mission with a total of 400 soldiers, three times the previous number.
According to Sticz, the tasks in support of the local authorities are wide-ranging, from air rescue to mine clearance to the work of canine bomb disposal teams. However, as a senior officer, he promised the soldiers’ families that he would do his utmost to ensure that everyone returned home safely at the end of their service.
EU’s largest peacekeeping operation
Sticz said Operation EUFOR Althea is the largest military operation of the EU, which took over NATO’s peacekeeping role in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Dec. 2, 2004. Under an annually renewable mandate from the UN, EUFOR (European Union Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina) supports the training and development of the armed forces in BiH in accordance with NATO standards. It provides a deterrent force while fulfilling its responsibilities under the Dayton Agreement to end the war in Bosnia, supporting local authorities and organizations to ensure a peaceful and secure region.
He added that the operation will further the EU’s long-term objective of moving Bosnia and Herzegovina irreversibly toward EU membership as a stable, viable, peaceful, and multi-ethnic country, in cooperation with its neighbors. EUFOR is therefore a supportive force, supporting the forces, authorities and organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, since it is the citizens and authorities of their country who are primarily responsible for their own country.
Sticz said the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is “stable but fragile.” EUFOR’s task is to ensure that, over time, stability, peace and security become more and more dominant by effectively supporting local authorities and organizations.
To this end, EUFOR is paying particular attention to the management of weapons and armaments accumulated during the South Slavic war, coordinated by the EUFOR commander’s special adviser on ammunition and weapons with the BiH authorities; he also highlighted the continuous exchange of information with the local authorities on migration.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has never been closer to joining the European Union, and in December 2022 the country was granted EU candidate status, but the road ahead will be long and bumpy,” he concluded.