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Farewell to European Rapid Operational Force Headquarters

Friday, June 15, 2012

Number: 1722

European Rapid Operational Force (Eurofor) Headquarters situated in the Italian city of Florence was closed on 14th June in a ceremony presided over by Joint Chiefs of the Defence Staff  of the four member countries: Spain, France, Italy and Portugal.  Also attending were representatives from the respective Foreign Affairs Ministries.  On behalf of Spain present were the Joint Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Fernando García, and the deputy general director of Security and Peacekeeping Operations, Ms. Elena Gómez.

By agreement of the four countries, on 2nd July, Eurofor, whose Headquarters at present is made up of 82 servicepersons of whom 17 are Spaniards, will officially cease to exist.  The evolution of the European Union Common Policy on Security and Defence along with the reduction of NATO military structure (to be adapted to the strategic environment and current budgetary restrictions) have led to the four participating  countries’ taking this decision.  Nonetheless, the European Maritime Force, which leads operation ‘Atalanta’ in the fight against piracy in waters in the vicinity of the Somalian coast, will continue to exist.

Eurofor, created on 15th May 1995, had its official opening ceremony presided over by the ministers of Defence of Spain, France, Italy and Portugal on 9th November 1996. At the same ceremony General Juan Ortuño, took up the post as commander, which he held for two years.  In November 2004 command again corresponded to a Spaniard, General Fernando Sánchez-Lafuente. Since its creation, Eurofor has participated in three operations, which were undertaken in Albania (2000-2001), Macedonia (2003) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (2006-2007).

  Military representatives at the Headquarters closing ceremony

Military representatives at the Headquarters closing ceremony (Photo:European Rapid Operational Force/Public Affairs Office)