The NATO and EU Military Committee meet in joint format to discuss Western Balkans
On 28th March 2022, the NATO Military Committee hosted the European Union Military Committee for a joint meeting to discuss the current security situation in the Western Balkans, the current engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the EU’s ongoing Operation Althea.
Opening the meeting, the Deputy Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Lieutenant General Lance Landrum welcomed the NATO and EU Military Representatives as well as the Chairman of the EU Military Committee, General Claudio Graziano. He reiterated the importance of the NATO-EU cooperation and coordination in the Western Balkans, especially, in times of crisis. “Our continued cooperation is essential to achieving substantial and sustained progress, not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but throughout the Western Balkans, but also to protect and promote freedom, democracy and our common values”, he added.
The NATO and EU Military Representative then received an update on the ongoing political activities in relation to the EU’s activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the recent developments in the region as well as status updates of the respective NATO and EU activities in the country. “Security and stability in the Western Balkans is important for NATO and for peace and stability in Europe. NATO and the EU work to promote stability, security and cooperation in the region – and we will continue to do so”, highlighted Lieutenant General Landrum.
The next briefings were provided by the Commander of NATO HQ Sarajevo (NHQSA), Brigadier General Pamela McGaha and the EUFOR Commander, Major General Anton Wessely, respectively on ongoing NHQSA activities and the EU’s Operation Althea. After NATO’s mission SFOR ended in 2004, the EU deployed its Operation Althea. The Alliance provides the planning, logistic and command support for the EU mission, in the framework of a package of agreements known as "Berlin Plus". These agreements provide the overall framework for NATO-EU cooperation.
Today’s meeting was the last joint NATO-EU Military Committee meeting under the chairmanship of General Graziano – who took up the post in November 2008 – as such, Lieutenant General Landrum concluded the session by highlighting General Graziano’s exemplary dedication and commitment, and commended his unrelenting advocacy for enhanced cooperation and collaboration between NATO and the EU.