Major-General Friedrich Schrötter is an alumnus of the ESDC and is currently deployed as Force Commander to EUFOR ALTHEA, the European Union's operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On Wednesday 15 March 2017, he visited Brussels to brief the EU Military Committee on that mission and to give his assessment of the situation. In the morning he briefed the press corps on the state of affairs.
Since 2004 EUFOR, on the basis of its executive mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, has been responsible for the implementation of the military Annexes to the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Force has contributed to the maintenance and stability of a Safe and Secure Environment in BiH and has helped to promote a climate in which the peace process can continue.
In the meantime, responsibility for many of the tasks has been handed over to the local authorities in accordance with the principle of 'local ownership and in line with BiH's path towards EU membership. Nevertheless, EUFOR retains full responsibility and the authority to take back control, if the situation so requires.
One of the tasks for which EUFOR remains responsible is 'training and education'. Alongside training in military skills and leadership, EUFOR has organised a wide range of capability-enhancing training events including dismantling and delaboration of surplus and outdated ammunition, deployability and mobility, disaster relief operations, road construction, flight operations, flight safety and communications security. Furthermore, in 2016 the AFBiH were able to declare eleven units operationally ready, and eight of the units completed NATO Evaluation Level 1 in May. For 2017, AFBiH, supported by EUFOR, will be preparing these units for NATO Evaluation Level 2.
In addition, EUFOR supported the regional training programme of the ESDC (conducted by Austria, Hungary and Croatia), which targets strategic decision-makers in the administrations of the Western Balkan partners.
MajGen Schrötter underlined the importance of a common European security culture and the role of the European Security and Defence College in further deepening it. 'Training and education are key for the long-term success in conflict affected areas', concluded COMEUFOR.