Belgium to boost overseas military presence

Belgium to boost overseas military presence
The Belgian Army detachment in Cincu, Romania. Credit: Belga / Dirk Waem

The number of Belgian soldiers participating in international operations and missions will rise to around 1,000 from July to the end of this year. Troops will notably be deployed to reinforce NATO’s eastern border.

Belgian soldiers are already present internationally. To date, Belgian detachments serve in NATO, with the NATO blue helmets, and as part of the European Union’s Battlegroups.

As of 12 May, around 250 soldiers are currently deployed outside of Belgium as part of the country’s international obligations.

A further 1,000 troops have been deployed for other exercises, and 760 others are on “standby” for potential operations within Belgium, or outside its borders.

Belgium soldiers have seen service across the world. Previously, Belgian troops have fought in the Korean War as part of the UN forces, in the NATO intervention in Kosovo, and played a support role in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.

Belgian army detachment in Cincu, Romania, June 2022. Credit: Belga / Dirk Waem

Belgian troops have equally been deployed to Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Congo, Tunisia, Mauritania, Lithuania, Romania, Bosnia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Iraq.

Furthermore, Belgium assists in international operations, such as the fight against sea piracy off the Horn of Africa and enforcing the EU arms embargo in Libya.

Since 2022, Belgium’s Armed Forces have also assisted Ukraine. Belgium notably participates in the Security Assistance Group, which coordinates military support for Kyiv, as well as the European Military Support Mission to Ukraine.

By the end of the year, nearly 1,000 Belgian troops will be training Ukrainian soldiers.

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Around 300 soldiers will travel to Romania in July to help reinforce NATO’s eastern flank. These soldiers will join a multinational brigade under French army command.

In August, another 250 will travel to Lithuania to join a German-led brigade.

At the end of this year, Belgium will also commit four F-16 aircraft towards NATO’s efforts to protect Baltic airspace, notably against Russian incursions.

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