The Hungarian Defence Forces have already proved that they are capable of leading an outstanding NATO operation – said Major General László Sticz, PhD, the new commander of the EUFOR Althea mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the M1’s current channel on Wednesday, 3 January.
Major General László Sticz said that the KFOR mission in Kosovo had already had a Hungarian commander in 2021 and now for the first time, the EU’s Bosnia and Herzegovina mission will also be led by a Hungarian commander for a year. The Hungarian Defence Forces are not only participants in such a large-scale operation but also coordinators and leaders. Furthermore, there will be an opportunity to use new military equipment such as new helicopters, which indicates that the Hungarian military development reform started in 2018 advances in leaps – the major general said.
He said in the radio program entitled Jó reggelt, Magyarország! (Good morning, Hungary!) of Kossuth Rádió that the current situation roots back to the 1992–95 armed conflict, which was ended by the Dayton Agreement, and the future of the region was then defined. The country has two parts: the Bosnian Serb and the Bosnian and Herzegovinian, where Croatians and Bosniaks live together. The final goal is the integration and cooperation of the Serb and the Bosnian-Croatian territories, to become appropriate for joining the EU. However, economic, political and military aid are needed for this, which are provided by NATO and since 2004, the EU.
The EU operation supports local authorities, primarily the Bosnian police. Military risk is secondary, the EU mission intervenes only if the Bosnian police cannot provide peace. But the situation might escalate at any time, that is what happened last May in Kosovo. That is why international military force is important, which must be unbiased and genuine, and it must show deterring force if needed – the commander said.
The peace of the Balkan is the peace of Hungary as well; therefore, it is important that after the 2021 Hungarian leadership of the NATO forces in Kosovo, last year the EU politically and militarily supported, then the UN also approved the Hungarian leadership for the EUFOR Althea mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2024 – underlined the general. Among the important military capabilities of the Hungarian forces are air transport, evacuation and rescue, which not only serve the security of the soldiers participating in the EU mission but can also help the local community if needed. Moreover, due to the mined areas of the region, EOD capabilities are also of great significance – the major general said.