Contribution of the Republic of Macedonia to the EU Crisis Management Military Operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Republic of Macedonia has reaffirmed its strategic commitment for attaining membership to the EU by its resolute political commitment to support the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSFP) and by declaring a concrete contribution to the civilian and military operations in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
The participation of the Republic of Macedonia in the EU crisis management military operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina marks the first in the series of concrete and substantial contributions that the Republic of Macedonia will provide in the framework of the civilian and military CSDP operations aimed at enhancing the EU capacities.
The Agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and the EU on the participation of the Republic of Macedonia in Althea was signed on 3 July 2006, in Brussels. The contribution of the Republic of Macedonia to the EU operation Althea has confirmed its progress from a consumer of the first EU military operation (Concordia 2003) into an active contributor to the CSDP (Althea 2006).
The first contribution of the Republic of Macedonia to an EU-led operation began in July 2006, by declaring a helicopter detachment, consisting of two Mi-8/17 helicopters and 21crew.
In November 2006, the Republic of Macedonia enhanced its own contribution to the EU operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina by declaring a medical team composed of 10 personnel for providing Role 1 medical support in Camp Butmir.
Considering the importance of the helicopter support for executing the missions as part of the operation Althea, especially in the period of the ongoing EUFOR transformation, a continuation of the mission of the Macedonian helicopter detachment was requested and hence it remained there with the same composition for a second and third rotation.
In addition, the contribution of the Republic of Macedonia to Althea was reinforced by declaring an additional person military lawyer – assistant legal advisor in the HQ EUFOR (as of 20 June 2007). Thus, the total contribution of the Republic of Macedonia to the operation Althea, including the helicopter detachment and the medical capacity, consisted of 2 Mi-8/17 helicopters and 32 personnel.
In terms of the fourth rotation of the helicopter detachment (January – June 2008), on the basis of prior analyses and assessments, the Republic of Macedonia made a decision to withdraw one helicopter Mi 8/17 in order to achieve the required level of operability for future contributions. In line with the Decision, the fourth rotation of the helicopter detachment in the mission Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of a transport helicopter Mi 8/17 and 12 crew.
On 12 January 2008, a tragic helicopter crash happened in the vicinity of the village Blace, Katlanovo, when 11 members of the ARM lost their lives on returning from a successfully completed mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the third rotation of the helicopter detachment.
In February 2008, the Republic of Macedonia sent one additional person – NCO for preventive medicine in the HQ EUFOR. Hence, the total contribution of the Republic of Macedonia to the operation Althea consisted of a transport helicopter Mi-8/17 and 24 personnel.
Following the completion of the fourth rotation of the helicopter detachment in July 2008, the Republic of Macedonia made a decision to end its contribution with a helicopter detachment in the EUFOR operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which consisted of four rotations (July 2006 – July 2008).
Upon the withdrawal of the helicopter detachment, the Republic of Macedonia has continued its contribution to the medical team for Role 1 medical support Camp Butmir, composed of 10 personnel, one assistant legal advisor in the HQ EUFOR and one NCO for preventive medicine in the HQ EUFOR, totalling 12 personnel.
In the course of 2009, 2010 and 2011 the Republic of Macedonia continued its participation with the same number of personnel. The eleventh rotation of the medical team, the ninth rotation of the assistant legal advisor and the eight rotation of the NCO for preventive medicine are underway.
In accordance with the new EUFOR Althea force structure, the size has been reduced, and as a result the position of the NCO for preventive medicine as of January 2012 was cancelled.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014, the Republic of Macedonia continued with its contribution to the Althea operation with a total of 11 personnel (10 in the medial team and 1 person military layer, assistant legal advisor in the HQ EUFOR).
The contribution of the Republic of Macedonia to the operation Althea is a confirmation of its strong commitment for a contribution to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU as well as a conformation of the overall efforts of the Republic of Macedonia for integration into the EU.
The contribution of a medical team of the Republic of Macedonia to the peace operation Althea was completed on 31 May 2015 with the return of the seventeenth rotation of the medical team.

In accordance with its plans, the Republic of Macedonia made a decision to continue its participation in the operation Althea with two new staff positions as of May 2015.
On 23 June 2015, the 16th rotation of the assistant legal advisor in Althea was completed, which was the last rotation of the Republic of Macedonia of this position.

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