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CIOR PFP and Outreach Workshop in Opatija 2014

The CIOR PFP & Outreach Workshop this year was held on October 15-19 in OpatijaCroatia together with the Croatian ROA with an attendance by 12 participating nations. Special thanks to the Croatian Col. Stanislav Linic for a Successful work with the preparation of this workshop together with Chairman of the PFP committee Cr3 Jean-Marc Siegnez and the PFP committee.

Today Croatia is facing new challenges for their regular military units with changes who will have an impact on their future system of needs and skills for the reserve officers.

The purpose of the workshop was to establish ways to show and describe how other nations reserve system works and the role, the reserve officer fills nationally and internationally among other important functions in the society. Hereby the ambition of the PFP Committee is that the results of the workshop will contribute to the development of the Croatia's ROA.

In addition, the CIOR PFP Committee with its role has existed and worked for approximately 20 years, which also was manifested by the activities in Opatija in an in-depth review and flashback.
 
At Thursday morning the workshop was opened by Major General (MG) Mate Paden, director of the General Staff of Croatians armed forces (CAF). Whom in the main parts of his speech talked about NATO efficiency and exchanging views.
 
“The key of NATO efficiency lays in the interoperability amongst the forces of its member states and therefore it is equally important that reserve officers of NATO members are educated and trained in a similar way with full respect to their differences and national traditions.
 
By exchanging views with your fellow colleagues, you will be in much better position to establish best common practice for professional development of reserve officers in NATO and PFP countries and therefore to propose necessary improvement in that process to your respective national authorities.”

The CIOR Presidency was represented by Captain (Navy) Jacques De DECKER from Belgium as Permanent Representative of CIOR at NATO, whom in his initial speech welcomed the participants. Captain De DECKER also described this workshop as historical, because the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the ”PFP and Outreach“ committee, and reminded the participants of the purpose behind this workshop.


“Established in 1994 as a subcommittee, later transformed into a committee, aiming to contribute to the rapprochement of the CIOR with the reserve officers from Central and Eastern Europe, the” PFP and Outreach” committee became one of the most important tools of the Confederation.”

As an introduction to this workshop there was a brief description of the SECURITY SITUATION IN THE REGION. Describing the NATO in the Balkans and KFOR posture as well the EUFOR and the future security challenges.

LTC D. Jurić, General Staff of HRVAF described after that different threats and pointed out that, defense and security sector reform remains a key component for the countries in the region to move closer towards the EU and NATO.

“Send the Reserve! New ways to support NATO through Reserve Forces” was an interesting Title of the presentation from Guillaume Lasconjarias, Dr and a research adviser at the NATO Defense College. Who expressed that the “Reservists are a bridge and help to reduce the gap between civil society and military”.

To point at different perspectives there was a broad spectra of presentations from different Reserve Officers Associations (ROA), all from larger countries as the US and France to nearby countries like Slovenian and Switzerland to countries facing new challenges and concept like Sweden.
 
It’s always interesting to hear different practice from partner countries and their national experience.
 
Employer support is one of the main key successor in all reserve officers system which the French Colonel André GEOFFROY described from the French approach, were the reservists and the employers rights are guaranteed by law. He also pointed at the risk for the reservist as well as the benefits for the company, and one of his interesting conclusion was that “Burden of reservists depends on company Size”. 

The role of the reserve associations is also an important issue and especially when we are facing new challenges. This theme for the WS was introduced by the French LCL Robert Fouillot and the Slovenian Col Miran Fiser. The practical work in the group was led by LCL Marco Labella, Switzerland and presented by Captain Mats Franberg, Sweden.
 
At this day we also had the pleasure to visit the Croatian Special Forces Battalion in Delnice were we was well received and giving an interesting briefing about their organization and main tasks. At the end of the visit we also took part in an honorable wreath laying Ceremony over falling soldiers during the war.

At the last day we also took part in a wreath laying ceremony at the homeland war monument at the Croatian home defenders bridge in Rijeka.

During this day there was some workshops presented about Crisis Management and CIMIC from SwitzerlandAlbania and an interesting part about the Red Cross from the Cap. com. CRIMauro DE ANGELIS fromItaly. It was also an interesting presentation by Mr. Vedran Obucina political scientist, Secretary general of the Mediterranean study society and the NAPO program Manager. Who presented “CIMIC” the role of the NGO in civil – military relations with focus on reserve forces.
 
At the end of this Workshop LTC (H) Jacques DEVÈZE described the PFP history in an interesting way from its start, with support of ROA, to PFP contacts and the CIOR & NATO’s Cooperation Structure.




 



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