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During a symbolic ceremony held in Camp Butmir, the battalion-size Strategic Reserve Force from France, supplemented by an Italian and a Romanian platoon, has been integrated into EUFOR structure on 12 April 2024. The event was honoured with the presence of the Ambassador of the Republic of France to Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. François Delmas, the Ambassador of Italy to Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Marco Di Ruzza and the Ambassador of Romania to Bosnia and Herzegovina H.E. Anton Pacureţu as well as Ms. Anja Margetić, Deputy Mayor of Sarajevo and Mr. Nikola Vujičić, representative of the Town Hall of East Sarajevo.

Ceremonial integration of reserve forces into EUFOR structure

The troops and their equipment have been recently deployed from France, Italy and Romania to Bosnia and Herzegovina by air, rail and road, and from now on they will be commanded by Major General László Sticz, Commander of EUFOR.

In his speech, COM EUFOR reminded that a total of 23 countries, including EU Member States and non-EU Troop Contributing Countries are present within EUFOR, the European Union’s military peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some of these countries have also committed to provide reserve forces for EUFOR, which are regularly deployed to BiH. Major General Sticz added, that despite all recent political and media speculations, these forces recently deployed to Bosnia and Hercegovina did not come here to respond to any kind of eventuality. This deployment and the exercise they will conduct, Exercise MELEAGER have been planned well in advance and is the manifestation of regular training objectives. COM EUFOR also emphasized that these reserve force elements are exclusively available for EUFOR, and not for any other organization.

COM EUFOR reminded the troops that while they are wearing the EUFOR badge on their shoulders, they are obliged to conduct their assigned tasks within the EUFOR force structure, based on the mandate of EUFOR and the Dayton Peace Agreement, and according to the six guiding principles of EUFOR: unity, impartiality, credibility, cooperation, integrity and progress. Major General Sticz also invited them to be a proud and professional member of EUFOR Operation Althea.

As part of the ceremony, Ambassador Delmas, Ambassador Di Ruzza and Ambassador Pacureţu addressed the parade in their native languages. In their speeches, they all emphasized the importance of EUFOR’s role in supporting the local authorities in maintaining a safe and secure environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the security of BiH is in direct relation to the security of the Western Balkans and also, to the security of Europe.

In the framework of Exercise MELEAGER, the reserve force will train together with in-theatre EUFOR elements as well as units of the Armed Forces of BiH in the upcoming month. They will conduct familiarization training which will ensure that, if they are ever requested to deploy, they will be familiar with EUFOR and BiH procedures and be able to integrate quickly to complete the tasks assigned to them. This will ensure that a safe and secure environment is continuously maintained in BiH.

Meleager was the son of Althea, after whom the European Union force in Bosnia and Herzegovina is named. Choosing this name for this deployment, Exercise MELEAGER aims to symbolize the strong ties between EUFOR in-theatre and reserve forces.

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