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International information exchange on EUFOR

Text: General Staff | Photo: MH HTP, Romanian Armed Forces Joint Command Facebook page |  12:08 December 24, 2023

2024, the year of Hungarian command of Operation EUFOR Althea will soon begin, and in this context Major General László Sticz, designated commander, held several meetings in December with representatives of nations and organizations relevant to the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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At the beginning of the month, the delegation led by Major General Sticz paid a visit to Ankara, where he met with Rear Admiral Alper Yeniel, Chief of Force Planning Group of the Turkish Armed Forces. In addition to the preparations for the Hungarian EUFOR command year and the commander’s intent for Operation Althea, the main issue of discussion was the Turkish contribution to the mission. Due to Turkey's geographical location the Caucasus, the Middle East, and the Balkans comprise priority regions for the country, therefore the NATO mission in Kosovo is currently commanded by a Turkish general: Major General Özkan Ulutaş, and one of the largest contributions to EUFOR is provided by Turkish forces. The majority of this contribution is the Turkish manoeuvre company of the Multinational Battalion, but the staff officers who serve mainly in the operational, force planning, and training fields (for example as operations deputy chief of staff of the EUFOR) must also be mentioned here.

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In mid-December, Major General Sticz and his staff met with NATO Ambassador István Balogh and Major General Tamás Sándor, the military representative of the Hungarian Defence Forces, in Brussels. Afterwards, the delegation had a meeting with two directors of the European External Action Service (EEAS): Marko Makovec, responsible for Western Europe, Western Balkans, Turkey and the United Kingdom, and Cosmin Dobran (in the photo, right), responsible for peace, partnership, and crisis management. During the talks, it was emphasised that the EEAS was reassured and positive by the November resolution of the UN Security Council to extend the mandate of Operation EUFOR Althea, as it believes that Bosnia and Herzegovina does need the EU's military presence. The Western Balkan country is currently influenced by a number of factors that affect the sustainment of a peaceful and secure environment, in which the Operation has a unique and highlighted role to play. The Hungarian delegation underlined that it had applied for the command of EUFOR Althea for a one-year period and the necessary capabilities and additional capacities to be deployed, in line with the Hungarian security policy priorities and the 2024 Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.


Afterwards, Major General Sticz paid a visit to Romania to meet with Major General Valerica Vrajescu, Commander of the Romanian Armed Forces Joint Command. Due to its geopolitical location, Romania, as a neighbouring country, has similar security challenges and security interests as Hungary, thus the contribution of both countries to EUFOR Althea is a priority. Therefore, the meeting allowed the delegation to learn about the Romanian EUFOR experience, in addition to having a presentation of the Romanian Armed Forces Joint Command and outlining vision and preparations of the Hungarian EUFOR command.

The tasks for the last month of the year included the beginning of the handover-takeover process of the EUFOR command itself, and as part of the multi-phase procedure Major General Sticz visited the crowd and riot control exercise of the operation's Multi-National Battalion and the weapons demonstration of the Dutch manoeuvre company at Camp Butmir.

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