The Republic of North 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 North 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 North Macedonia provides in the framework of the civilian and military CSDP operations aimed at enhancing the EU capacities.
The Agreement between the Republic of North Macedonia and the EU on the participation of the Republic of North Macedonia in Althea was signed on 3 July 2006, in Brussels. The contribution of the Republic of North 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 North Macedonia to an EU-led operation began in July 2006, by declaring a helicopter detachment, consisting of two Mi-8/17 helicopters and 21crew.
From 2006 to date, the Republic of North Macedonia deployed a total of 292 personnel in different rotations and capacities: helicopter detachment, medical teams, staff officers and legal advisors.
In accordance with the latest transformation of operation Althea and the rebalanced mission, as of December 2018, we have been contributing with one representative, i.e. deputy liaison officer with law enforcement institutions/J2.
In November 2006, we enhanced our contribution to the EU-led 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 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 North 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 North 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 North 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 North Macedonia sent one additional person – NCO for preventive medicine in the HQ EUFOR. Hence, the total contribution of the Republic of North 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 North 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 North 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 North Macedonia continued its participation with the same number of personnel.
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 North 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 North Macedonia to the operation Althea ended on 31 May 2015, with the return of the seventeenth rotation of the medical team.
In accordance with its plans, the Republic of North Macedonia made a decision to continue its participation in the operation Althea with two new staff positions as of May 2015.
As of May 2015 we commenced with the latest contribution on two staff positions (one staff officer, advisor in the section for defence and promotion of the capacities and one staff officer, administrator in the section for training, planning and coordination) which continued by the end of December 2018. These positions, in accordance with the latest EUFOR transformation have sized to exist.
According to the latest transformation of the Althea operation and the rebalanced mission, as of December 2018, the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia is contributing to the mission on one position: deputy liaison officer for law enforcement institutions in the J2 section.
The contribution tot eh Althea operation is a confirmation of the firm determination of the Republic of North Macedonia for enhanced contribution to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU, as a confirmation of the overall efforts of the Republic of North Macedonia for integration in the European Union.