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Commander NATO Sarajevo: “NATO committed to supporting EUFOR to ensure a safe and secure BiH under the Berlin plus agreement”

Large scale Brigade-Level exercises such as Exercise Quick Response 2016 show that EUFOR Forces along with partners from NATO and AF BiH, including Reserves are at all times ready and able to respond quickly and effectively to any potential threat to a Safe and Secure Environment (SASE) in BiH.

EUFOR were for the first time able to utilise the NATO KFOR Tactical Manoeuvre Battalion (KTM) from Pristina, Kosovo to the exercise area in Manjača, near Banja Luka. It is important to be able to demonstrate the rapid deployment of these elements made up of Portuguese and Hungarian troops arrived in BiH at extremely short notice utilising armoured and support vehicles.

In all, over 750 troops and more than 70 supporting vehicles were based in the tented city during QUICK RESPONSE 2016. This consisted of, EUFOR Multi National Battalion (MNBN) (Austria and the United Kingdom Intermediate Reserve Company), Armed Forces Bosnia and Herzegovina (AFBiH), KFOR Tactical Manoeuvre Battalion (KTM) (Portugal and Hungary) and the opposition force provided by EUFOR Turkish Company. During the 5 day exercise they conducted combined training, sharing skills and experiences. This brigade sized force were tested in three main phases; first, the deployment, secondly by combined training and thirdly by re-deployment.

Continued awareness of the security situation throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina is a key issue for EUFOR as well as the European Reserve Forces. Whilst KFOR elements made their way through the southern part of the country, troops were then deployed to the North where the exercise culminated in combined training of all units in Manjača. During the final phase of the exercise, British convoys redeployed through northern BiH returning to their parent units in the United Kingdom.

When a given crisis gives rise to an EU-led operation making use of NATO assets and capabilities, the EU and NATO will draw on the so-called "Berlin Plus arrangements". It is through close co-operation with NATO and an agreement such as this that a complex larger exercise can be successfully achieved, augmenting forces required to achieve a SASE.

COM NATO Sa Brigadier General Wilz said: ”NATO HQ Sa is committed to supporting AFBiH and integration in to Euro Atlantic structures, working in partnership with EUFOR to ensure a safe and secure environment exists within BiH under the Berlin Plus agreement”.

NATO support of EUFOR during exercise QUICK RESPONSE 2016 included not only the NATO KFOR Tactical manoeuvre Battalion but also personnel, vehicles and infrastructure provided by NATO Headquarters Sarajevo.

EUFOR Operation Althea is currently made up of soldiers from 15 EU member states and 5 partner nations. Its primary roles are to provide capacity building and training support to the Armed Forces of BiH and to support BiH efforts to maintain a safe and secure environment, whilst providing support to the overall EU comprehensive strategy for BiH.

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