On 13 Feb 18, at a ceremony held at EUFOR HQ in Camp Butmir, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Lippert, officially handed over his command of EUFOR's Multinational Battalion (MNBN) to Lieutenant Colonel Markus Schwaiger and was awarded the European Union Common Security and Defence Policy Medal 'Althea' in recognition of his service in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The MNBN is EUFOR's immediate manoeuvre unit in BiH, and its primary task is to support the Law Enforcement Agencies and Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH) ensuring a safe and secure environment in BiH. Every year, during Exercise Quick Response, EUFOR practises its ability to integrate its Intermediate Reserve Forces.
Lt Col Lippert as MNBN Commander saw Exercise Quick Response 17 in October last year as the highlight of his mission, when his troops and those from AFBiH trained with the Law Enforcement Agencies in complex and realistic peace support operations for the first time. As EUFOR Chief of Staff, Brigadier General József Szpisják, highlighted in his speech the MNBN Commander and his staff did a great job. He said:
"Due to the fact that this was the first time that Law Enforcement Agencies and AFBiH practised contingency plans with EUFOR, this exercise was more challenging: the participants had to think about 3 different scenarios, and had 3 times more radio calls coming in to the command post than in previous years. The MNBN improved their performance day by day and fulfilled all the given tasks."
Three is a significant number for the MNBN: there are 3 nations represented in the Battalion. They are Austria, Hungary and Turkey. Lt Col Lippert said 'The Companies from the 3 nations responded well to the challenges of integrating 3 ways of working and 3 languages and everyone supported the Mission regardless of rank or nationality." He finished by wishing his successor all the best, and saying 'goodbye' in the 3 languages of the MNBN.
The incoming MNBN Commander, Lt Col Markus Schwaiger, described how this appointment is a milestone in his career and how he is looking forward to leading the Battalion. He said "Working together, we will deal with any challenge facing us." The MNBN is a demonstration of the team spirit which characterises the 14 EU and 5 partner nations who work together in EUFOR to ensure the safe and secure environment for the people of BiH is maintained.