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The badges change in Bosnia

Posted by Helen Friday, December 03, 2004

With much trumpeting (real and metaphorical) the EU has taken over peacekeeping duties in Bosnia and Herzegovina from NATO. Under Major-General David Leakey, EUFOR will continue NATO’s work in maintaining a "stable and peaceful environment", concentrating on fighting corruption and organized crime. This will be the largest EU-led military (or, in fact, policing) operation.

There is just one problem. The troops are the same and among the 7,000 there will be Turks and Canadians. The 1,000 Americans will be replaced by Europeans, though 150 will remain in Sarajevo to concentrate on the so far unsuccessful pursuit of the main characters in the decade old drama, accused of war crimes: Radovan Karadjic and Ratko Mladic.

We are still a long way off from real EU forces, but the emphasis on the political nomenclatura is all too familiar. The EU continues to use NATO forces and NATO resources while undermining its structure and importance. At least the cap badges the vehicle insignia will change.