Federal Armed Forces to be deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Cabinet approves involvement in operation Federal Armed Forces to be deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In future, the Federal Armed Forces are to send up to 50 troops to participate in EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was approved by the Federal Cabinet. This marks the resumption of the EU-led mission in which the Federal Armed Forces were previously involved from 2004 to 2012 – an overview.

The graphic is entitled “Federal Armed Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. (More information available below the photo under ‚detailed description‘.)

The Federal Armed Forces previously deployed liaison and observation teams during Germany’s previous involvement from 2004 to 2012.

Show detailed description

Photo: Federal Government

Stability and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina – and in the entire Western Balkans – are of key political importance to the EU and its member states. This is guaranteed by the EU-led security operation EUFOR ALTHEA and the support it provides for the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. With domestic tensions rising and in view of the Russian attack on Ukraine, increased German involvement is a clear commitment to the sustainable stabilisation of the Balkan state as its pursues its path towards integration in Euro-Atlantic structures.

The decision taken by the Federal Cabinet remains subject to Bundestag approval. 

Imminent danger to the stability of the Western Balkans

The internal political impasse and independence aspirations of Republika Srpska, as well as its proximity to Russia, jeopardise Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress towards EU membership. In this connection, the Federal Government considers it an important signal that the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has come out in support of the EU sanctions against Russia, as well as voting in favour of the resolutions condemning the Russian attack on Ukraine at the emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly. 

The current political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina heightens the risk of destabilisation and tensions between the various population groups in the country. In this situation, stability and security are essential to the democratic future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in view of the elections in October 2022.

The Federal Government is particularly committed to multilateral operations. EUFOR ALTHEA is a particularly good example of this since it is the first EU-led operation to involve non-EU member states. In addition, EUFOR ALTHEA is considered a “beacon” of successful EU-NATO cooperation due to the EU’s recourse to NATOstructures under the Berlin Plus agreement. The fact that Germany is now to be involved once again sends out a powerful signal in support of EUFOR ALTHEA.

Joint training with the local security forces

EUFOR ALTHEA monitors security-related developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is the major training and cooperation partner to national security authorities. Joint training with local security forces improves their ability to contribute to future international cooperation. Liaison and observation bases spread throughout the country ensure an additional presence at the local level, while also enabling dialogue with the civilian population. The troops inform local residents about the dangers posed by contaminated ammunition and provide support in dealing with the effects of the civil war. 

The Federal Armed Forces last deployed liaison and observation teams from 2004 to 2012. At the time their presence was seen by the Bosnian-Herzegovinian population as a guarantor of peace and security, so the renewed involvement of the Federal Armed Forces with the planned establishment of two liaison and observation teams ties in with this. Germany will also be deploying support personnel to the operation’s headquarters.

In addition, the multinational EUFOR ALTHEA battalion is capable of responding to threat scenarios, so it gives the High Representative greater freedom of action and contributes to implementation of the mandate. In addition to supporting the security forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR ALTHEA is also involved in non-proliferation, demilitarisation and removing mines in the country. Considerable progress has been made in these areas in the past.

The new EUFOR ALTHEA mandate is due to expire on 30 June 2023 and is subject to a personnel ceiling of 50 soldiers.