In an official welcoming ceremony held in Sarajevo on Wednesday, Major General László Sticz of the Hungarian general staff took command of the European Union’s EUFOR Althea mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
President Katalin Novák addressed the Hungarian troops serving in the mission after the ceremony, calling on them to be role models and being a soldier was synonymous with “decency, honour and patriotism”. She said the ongoing wars had highlighted the importance of “being able to defend ourselves as a country, a nation and in an alliance”. She underscored the importance of military upgrades, bolstering defense capabilities and bolstering the prestige of the Hungarian Armed Forces. Novák said the Althea mission having a Hungarian commander was a matter of great pride for Hungary. Hungary, she said, was “surrounded by powder kegs”, noting the ongoing war in Ukraine and the Yugoslav Wars in the past. The president noted that the defense ministry’s recruitment campaign was also aimed at bolstering the Armed Forces by encouraging more and more people to join the military either as volunteers or reservists.
Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky told the media that the importance of the Althea mission lay in the fact that it contributed directly to the security of the Hungarian people. Hungary’s security, he added, was also dependent on the stability of the Western Balkan countries. “It is clear that in the era of dangers, in addition to the war to the east, we must also keep an eye on illegal migration routes,” he said, adding the Althea mission guaranteed peace and stability in the Western Balkans after the Yugoslav Wars. Sticz told the media that the tasks of the mission have to be coordinated with the state and military leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. EUFOR’s mission, he added, was to support the work of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities with all means and military power.