Major General László Sticz will command the European Union peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR Althea, for one year, starting January 2024.
Following a decision by the Political and Security Committee of the European Union, Hungary has proposed to lead EUFOR Althea for the first time. Major General Dr László Sticz, commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces Military Modernisation and Transformation Command, will lead the European Union peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina from January 2024.
The appointment of the Hungarian commander was announced by Hungarian Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky on 3f October. In his announcement, the minister highlighted that safeguarding the stability of the Western Balkan region is one of the priorities of the Hungarian government, as
the countries of the region play an important role in controlling flows of illegal migration.
’Hungary has been participating in regional international military missions for decades, one of the most important of which is the European Union’s EUFOR Althea operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina’, the Defence Minister stressed, adding that one of the greatest acknowledgements of the professional and allied commitment of Hungarian soldiers is that they have held leading positions in missions in the region on several occasions.
’The appointment of Major General László Sticz was supported by the EU Military Council and Lieutenant General Hubert Cottereau, Deputy Chief of Staff of NATO Operations Command and EU Operation Commander of Operation Althea,’ he added.
Major General László Sticz is currently the Commander of the Military Modernisation and Transformation Command of the Hungarian Defence Forces. Having served in the Western Balkans and at NATO’s European Command, he has gained extensive experience in force development and planning in his domestic and foreign assignments.
In addition to the Hungarian leadership, from 2024 the Hungarian Defence Forces will contribute with additional forces to Operation Althea. Besides some key posts and the contingent it has already provided, Hungary will contribute such additional elements as helicopter airlift and air evacuation capability, a so-called ROLE-1 (medical level capability provided by military medics in the area of operations), a bomb disposal team, an explosive detection dog capability and a military police team.
Peacekeeping training for the incoming EUFOR Commander and his staff, as well as for the capabilities associated with the Hungarian year of command, is ongoing.
The majority of the personnel for the year-long mission, which will start in 2024, will be provided by the Signal and Command Support Brigade from Székesfehérvár. The soldiers will be given in-depth theoretical and field training, with emphasis on the mission experience they have gained so far. In Sarajevo, Bosnia, in addition to performing camp guarding and security duties, the soldiers will also be deployed on presence patrols and standby duty in all parts of Bosnia.
Operation Althea, also known as the European Union Force Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR), is a peacekeeping mission with military deployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina to oversee the military implementation of the 1995 Dayton Agreement. It is the successor to NATO’s SFOR ended on 2 December 2004 and is responsible for maintaining a Safe and Secure Environment (SASE) in BiH. Since the mission started, the responsibility for the execution of many tasks has been handed over to the local authorities according to the principle of ‘local ownership’ and in line with BiH’s path towards EU membership. Nevertheless, EUFOR promotes an environment in which the peace process can continue but retains full responsibility and authority to re-assume control if required. The mission has 1100 personnel in the region, with contributions from 22 participating countries. Currently, Hungary has around 160 military personnel deployed in Bosnia.