European Union Force in Bosnia Herzegovina (EUFOR)

International Information

International Operation Name: Operation ALTHEA

International Mission Name: EUROPEAN UNION FORCE IN BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA (EUFOR)

Mandating Organization: European Union

Region Name: Europe

Location: Bosnia Herzegovina

Mission Date: 2 December 2004 - Ongoing

Canadian Operation: Operation BOREAS - 9 February 2005 – 31 March 2007

Mission Notes: NATO’s Stabilization Force (SFOR) had proven successful in supporting the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (aka Dayton Accord) and in reducing tensions in Bosnia Herzegovina. The initial force had been reduced over the years from 32,000 to 7,000 in June 2004. However, after eight years in the country, NATO considered that it was no longer required and that another organization should follow-up these successes. 

The European Union (EU), in the 2003 Thessaloniki Declaration, indicated that the Western Balkans were both central and significant to the EU. The EU thus agreed to send in a force and after a transition period, the European Union Force in Bosnia Herzegovina (EUFOR) took over on 2 December 2004. This new force was named Operation ALTHEA and was given the blessing of the United Nations Security Council with Resolution 1575 (2004) of 22 November 2004.

EUFOR’s mission is to ensure compliance with the Dayton Accord and to contribute to a safe and secure environment in Bosnia. Additionally, support is provided to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. These activities are performed in coordination with national agencies and other international agencies such as NATO.

Even before EUFOR took over, its forces conducted operations in Bosnia. From 16 November to 20 December, EUFOR troops participated in Operation Harvest, a weapons collection effort in Mostar and environs. This was followed by operation Spring Clean which started in January 2005 and was an effort to detect and disrupt organized crime and corruption. Similar operation in support of EUFOR’s mission continued throughout 2005 and into 2007.

Initially, Op Althea had about 7,000 personnel, but that number had fallen to 2500 by August 2007. Despite the name, over ten non-EU nations have contributed forces, in addition to at least 24 EU members.

Canada’s participation in Op Althea continued from SFOR. With the change in organization, this participation was given a new name, Operation BRONZE. There were 85 personnel who made the transition from SFOR to EUFOR. On 9 February 2005, Operation BRONZE was divided into two distinct operations: Operation BRONZE for those part of the NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo, and Operation BOREAS for those who operated under the aegis of EUFOR. 

The 69 Operation BRONZE personnel operated with Liaison and Observation Teams (LOT) in Bihac, with Multinational Task Force (Northwest), a field humint team and a national support cell in Banja Luka, and a movement detachment in Zagreb, Croatia. In Bihac, the Canadians assigned to the LOT were responsible for monitoring 35 communities. Working with local interpreters, they would visit communities to get a feel for what was happening in the area.

The Government of Canada expressed a desire, however, to reduce its commitment to EUFOR when a replacement nation could be found for the departing Canadian forces. With the second rotation of Op Boreas in September 2005, the mission was reduced to 11 persons restricted to the Liaison and Observation Teams in Bihac. A further reduction, to 9 personnel, occurred in July 2006. Op BOREAS was closed down on 31 March 2007.

 

November 11, 2008
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Major Paul Richer, Signal Officer working in SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, salutes a Canadian Monument dedicated to Master Corporal Stéphane Langevin and Corporal David Galvin during a visit on November 11, 2008. MCpl Langevin of the 12e Régiment Blindé du Canada (12e RBC) and Cpl Galvin, a reservist from the Sherbrooke Hussars attached with the 12e RBC died in Zenica, Bosnia on November 29th 1993 from a vehicle accident while serving with the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). 

The current CF mission, Operation BRONZE, consists of eight CF personnel serving in various staff positions for peace-support operations in the Balkans. Since 1992, more than 40,000 Canadians have served in the Balkans while 23 have lost their lives serving in these countries. 

Photo Credit: Mater-Corporal Robert Bottrill, CF Combat Camera

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