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Albania Joins Defence Cooperation Initiative

Szöveg: General Staff |  2016. június 30. 9:00

On 27–28th June, the partner nations of the Defence Cooperation Initiative (DECI) met at chiefs of defence level in Salzburg, Austria. At the event, the Hungarian Defence Forces were represented by Chief of Defence Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő.


One of the important events on the agenda of this year’s meeting was the enlargement of the Defence Cooperation Initiative (DECI) with a new partner nation. It was Italy that raised the idea of DECI in March 2012, to promote deeper military cooperation among some Southern and Central European countries in the interest of strengthening regional stability, security and development. In the initial phase of the cooperation, DECI was associated with the Multinational Land Force (MLF) that encompassed Hungary, Slovenia and Italy, with another two nations – Austria and Croatia – having observer status at the time. In June 2012, the above five countries’ chiefs of defence issued a joint declaration on the launch of DECI, and then Albania officially joined the initiative at this year’s meeting.

The main item on the agenda of the Salzburg meeting was the establishment of a battle group to be declared to the European Union and composed of troops from the participating nations (DECI EU BG), which will be on stand-by in the first half of 2017. By the EU Battle Group Concept, the DECI EU BG must be an effective, credible and coherent, force package, which is deployable over 6000km from Brussels to conduct small-scale stand-alone operations, and is capable of preparing the ground for main forces in the initial phase of larger operations. At the meeting, the participants agreed that the establishment and training of the battle group is right on schedule, so they expect that there will be no obstacles in the way of reaching the standby in January next year.


The Hungarian Defence Forces are interested in the Italian T-346A fighter pilot training program. At present, the Hungarian Air Force is training its fighter pilots in the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program, but the General Staff is considering the possibility of introducing another type of training system to ensure the supply of fighter pilots after the expiry of the NFTC contract in 2019.

A key topic of discussion was “Protection of civilians in peace support operations". Hungarian Chief of Defence Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő pointed out that the Hungarian Defence Forces fully adhere to the relevant UN guidelines on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts and humanitarian crisis. The Chief of Defence emphasized that in today’s confused security environment, the prevention of humanitarian disasters must take precedence over all other topics.


The participants of the meeting addressed a number of other important issues, including the Framework Nations Concept that Germany proposed in 2013 and the defence ministers approved as a NATO concept in June 2014. Building on cooperation in this field, the representatives of DECI member countries discussed the main guiding principles for setting up a joint framework nation group in the future. Besides, they talked about current security challenges to the region and the ways of tackling them, with special regard to the migration pressure on the DECI member countries.

Since its launch, the DECI has achieved several results through the member countries’ joint efforts to reform their armed forces and their participation in international operations. In the future, one of the most important common goals is to participate in the EU BG in the first half of 2017. Hungary intends to play an important role in DECI, as it is a linchpin between the DECI, the Visegrád (V4) Cooperation and the Central European Initiative (CEI). In this situation, Hungary may ensure a balance so it can gain advantage from all three initiatives.


Photo: General Staff