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Serbia integrated into European peacekeeping operations

Return of Serbian soldiers engaged in the Minurcat in Chad (credit: Serbian army)

(BRUSSELS2) Serbia will be able to participate in crisis management operations, civil or military, carried out by the European Union. The 27 authorized, on December 20, the signing of a framework agreement for Serbia's participation in PeSDC missions (peacekeeping, security, observation, training, evacuation, etc.).

This agreement is part of a radical rapprochement between the former republic of former Yugoslavia and the European Union, ultimately leading to formal membership (1). Nothing would therefore prevent Serbia from offering its services to provide magistrates to Eulex Kosovo or soldiers in Bosnia. Hypothesis subject to agreement by the Europeans but theoretically possible from now on. More likely, it could be on the EUNAVFOR Atalanta mission. The Serbian Ministry of Defense very recently indicated that it could participate in the European anti-piracy mission in the Indian Ocean from 2011.

NB: Serbia already participates in several international UN missions, is a member of the Partnership for Peace and associated with NATO exercises.

Main provisions of the agreement

Commandment. All personnel remain fully under the command of their national authorities. But the national authorities “transfer operational control” to the European Union, for civilian missions; THE "operational and tactical control” (OpCon and Tacon), for military operations.

Funding. Serbia bears all costs related to its participation in the operation, with the exception of operating costs, as provided for in the operational budget of the operation (except for common costs in military operations ). It contributes to financing the budget of the civil (military) crisis management operation led by the EU. Contribution calculated according to the usual distribution keys (GNP ratio or workforce ratio).

Participation. Serbia has the “same rights and obligations in terms of day-to-day management de l 'surgery” than the Member States of the European Union which participate in it.

Responsibility. Serbia undertakes to cover the compensation of its affected personnel, and not to pursue or request compensation from other States participating in the operation, for this fact. Reciprocal provision. It is up to Serbia to “respond to any complaint related to the participation of one of its agents in a crisis management operation carried out by the EU, whether it emanates from or concerns one of its agents".

Discipline. In a civilian mission, it is the head of the European mission who is responsible for disciplinary matters affecting personnel. However, any disciplinary measures remain the responsibility of the national authority concerned. In a military operation, it is the “High Military Representative” (Serb head of mission) who is responsible “day-to-day discipline within the Serbian contingente". The commander of the EU military operation may at any time request the withdrawal of the national contribution after consulting that country.

We can consider that this is a new step which has been taken for the normalization of relations in the Balkan countries. Croatia, Montenegro and Albania participate or have already participated in EU operations, with or without such a framework agreement. We cannot help but notice that the main military leader during the wars and massacres in Yugoslavia, General Ratko Mladic, is still on the run.

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).