doi:10.3849/1802-7199

Austria’s Engagement in Chad as Element of Its Neutrality Policy

Gerald BRETTNER-MESSLER

The article provides an overview of the Austrian engagement in the EU military operation European Union Force (EUFOR) Chad/Central African Republic (CAR) and its historical and political background. Notwithstanding its neutrality, Austria has deployed the soldiers of the “Bundesheer” (Austrian Armed Forces, AAF) for more than forty years to international peace operations. Since becoming an EU member in 1995 Austria has been participating in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). Austria’s position is that neutrality means refraining from military alliances, troop deployments on Austrian soil and participating in wars. Peace operations are part of its “active neutrality policy” and neutrality is the key for an active peace policy. As a neutral state Austria is a reliable intermediator in conflicts. To alleviate the plight of the refugees in Chad is the main reason for Austria to deploy troops to this country. The opposition criticises the deployment because in their opinion the soldiers are ill-equipped and neutrality could be violated if Austrian soldiers are dragged into the ongoing Chadian civil war. Certainly this operation is very demanding and therefore a challenge for the Austrian military. The success of the whole operation will be a test for European abilities to create safety and stability in Africa.

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