With the Hungarian EUFOR Commander’s year 2024 approaching, the pre-deployment training of the personnel to travel abroad is slowly nearing completion. The same goes for the EUFOR Commander’s position, but besides the traditional tasks such as reporting on the readiness status and the farewell ceremony of the contingent, there are also several high-level meetings on the agenda for the weeks before deployment.
At these meetings, Major General László Sticz PhD, the preparing incoming commander of the largest military mission of the European Union is discussing with military leaders of troop contributing nations (TCN) of EUFOR Operation Althea the national priorities, the lessons learned and the allies’ expectations as well as the preparing commander’s intent and plans. In the last week of November, three such events took place.
On 24 November, the delegation headed by Major General László Sticz PhD visited the Netherlands to hold discussions with Rear Admiral Peter Reesink, Chief of Operations Directorate, Central Staff of Armed Forces of the Netherlands. The main topics of the meeting were the current and future situation of the Dutch engagement in EUFOR, as well as the priorities of Dutch defence policy concerning the Balkans Joint Operational Area (JOA). As it is known, the Netherlands is currently contributing one company and staff officers to the European Union’s military operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On 28 November, the preparing EUFOR Commander visited Vienna, where he attended a joint ceremony of the Faculty of Military Science and Officer Training, Ludovika University of Public Service and the Austrian National Defence Academy held on the anniversary of János Bolyai’s birth, and also met with Major General Anton Wessely, who was COMEUFOR of the BiH mission from January 2022 to January 2023. At their meeting, great emphasis was given to Major General Wessely’s EUFOR-related personal and professional experiences.
Between 29 November and 1 December, a delegation from the Operations Planning Directorate of the Italian Defence General Staff paid a visit Hungary at the invitation of the Hungarian Defence Forces Force Modernization and Transformation Command (HDF FMTC). During the discussions, the participants reviewed a number of topics, among them the layered resilience capability development area of the NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and the activity of the related, Hungarian-led Perseverance thematic working group, the latest results of the HDF General Staff Scientific Research Centre, as well as the strategic forecast of the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) for the Western Balkans region.
Furthermore, in the framework of bilateral discussions, Admiral Stefano Barbieri, Head of the Italian delegation and Major General László Sticz PhD, Commander, HDF FMTC talked about topics related to the Hungarian commander’s year in EUFOR, the Hungarian armed forces development program, the multinational relations as well as the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP).