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The Issue of EU’s Monitoring Mission in Georgia

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On 1st of October 2018, ten years had passed since the deployment of European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia. For over a decade the EUMM has contributed to enhanced security and stability, conducting over 65,000 patrols on the ground. Over 1,700 EU nationals have served in the Mission over the years (statistics taken from EEAS’s homepage). That staff have come from all 28 EU Member States and this can be said to be the strongest evidence referring to them being fully committed to enhancing stability, monitoring the situation and rights of the people most affected by the conflict, building confidence and reporting factually. Head of the Monitoring Mission, Mr. Erik Hoeg, noted: “The EUMM remains present on the ground 24/7, 365 days a year – ready to monitor, report and de-escalate at any given time”. The extension of the mandate of the Mission for a further two years, until December 2020, was decided recently, a loud and clear declaration of the European Union’s commitment to its cause.

Extensively

The Republic of Georgia gained its independence 1991 as part of the ongoing dissolution of the Soviet Union. The relations between Georgia and Russia got worse and worse. The climax came in a form of war between Georgia and separatists of South Ossetia and Abkhazia backed, unofficially, by Russia. The French presidency of the European Union, in the person of Nicolas Sarkozy, negotiated a ceasefire agreement on 12 of August. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia under its control from Georgia while the Georgian government severed diplomatic relations with Russia.

The EU apart from mediating the ceasefire, also initiated the operation known as the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM). Russia, however, declared the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independent states, offered them its full military protection and forbidden any act of monitoring inside their land. Erik Hoeg stated: “Now we are the only international presence, which means that we are the eyes and ears of the international community in a wider sense” (Eurasianet).

EUMM’s headquarters are stationed in the Tbilisi building that housed the OSCE in the past while it also holds field offices near the two flashpoints (in Gori,Mtskheta and Zugdidi). Daily unarmed patrols scour the line that divide Georgia from the separatist regions, often in presence of strong Russian forces, in order to patrol and tone down any incident that may occur.

The EUMM Monitors are selected from all European Union member states. Currently there is a total of 201 Monitors from 26 different EU member states. The Mission is also supported by two international colleagues based in Brussels.

The Georgian government is more than glad to have the monitors as can be seen in the comments of Georgia’s Foreign Ministry in Eurasianet: “Although the mission is denied to enter the occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, it represents an important stabilizing instrument that, at the same time, contributes to confidence-building among the war-torn societies”.

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Under the protection of Russia, the aforementioned regions have little interest in negotiating their status with Georgia. But even so, all sides involved do have an interest in maintaining daily stability.

The main tasks of EUMM in Georgia are plenty. Firstly, it provides stabilization by regular patrolling the conflicted area. The Mission helps to maintain stability by operating a Hotline to deal with incidents in real time. Moreover, they aim to achieve the best normalization possible by recording the repercussions of the conflict on the people living near the ABL such as those displaced from their homes. Furthermore, it contributes to the facilitation of contacts between the two parties of the conflict aiming in confidence building. At the end, it sends information and analysis to policy-makers of the EU member states.

Of course, the EUMM is part of the EU ‘s Common Security and Defense Policy, so I deem necessary to provide some information on this high importance aspect of the Union. CSDP was created in 2009 as part of the Treaty of Lisbon and replaced the former European Security and Defense Policy (ESPD). Its aim is the establishment of a common European defense capability, when the European Council unanimously decides so. It will, however, not interfere with the defense policies of EU member-states and will respect the obligations of EU countries that are also members of NATO.

Recommendations and Conclusions

The EUMM, even though has evolved and advanced in the past decade, has more than enough problems it still faces and needs to tackle by taking measures.

First of all, the Georgian society is plagued by negative phenomena that need to be addressed, for example the gender-based violence. A viable solution is the cooperation between the staff and the majority of Georgian Civil Society Organizations. The elimination of such events that disturb the tranquility and the unity of the local society could be a major factor in bringing together the efforts of all citizens to find constructive solutions.

Moreover, villagers being arrested by Russian border guards for crossing the borders to get to their land which extends to the other side and infrastructure such as fences, observation towers, surveillance equipment, controlled crossing points being built demonstrates the lack of numbers that the staff faces, so its patrols can cover adequate space and not limited areas. Georgia herself committed 140 personnel to the newly-established EU operation in the Central African Republic. Even though forty-five non-EU states (about thirty if the countries that have joined the EU since 2004 are subtracted) have participated in CSDP operations since the first mission, there is no third state involved in the EUMM in Georgia. This could be radically changed, if EU promoted the incentives that such cooperation offers to the third states. For example, EU candidate countries’ contribution could be a mean raising their profile and acquiring a deeper operational and political connection with the Union and its members. Other countries could use such opportunities to raise their international profile via playing a valuable role in a crisis management. At last, but not least, the participation on this kind of missions could also demonstrate eagerness to become operationally experienced and solidarity among the states that coexist in another international organization, NATO, since 22 of EU’s members are also part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Finally, the relations between the Union and third states need to be recalibrated. The EU member states are seen by many to be the only ones with the privilege of deciding the actions and the undertaking of the important roles. Third states have the same obligations concerning day-to-day management of the operation, they often shoulder he economic burdens of their participation and thus, should have the same rights. The common CSDP practice of using third state contributions only to fill the gaps and the tendency for them to not being part of the decision-making processes needs to stop. EU’s persistence of ignoring possible valuable outside partners and placing its own members to the crucial positions because of its relation with the later harms the common effort. These partnerships should, therefore, move from a technical level to a more political one.

References

  1. EUMM Georgia – Factsheet and Figures. [online] Eumm.eu. Available at: https://eumm.eu/en/about_eumm/facts_and_figures [Accessed 20 Nov.2018].
  2. EUMM Georgia – Our Mandate. [online] Eumm.eu. Available at: https://eumm.eu/en/about_eumm/mandate [Accessed 20 Nov.2018].
  3. EUMM Georgia – EU Monitoring Mission Mandate Extended to 2020. [online] Eumm.eu. Available at: https://eumm.eu/en/press_and_public_information/press_releases/6519/?year=2018&month=12 [Accessed 21 Nov.2018].
  4. EEAS – European External Action Service – European Commission. [online] EEAS – European External Action Service. Available at: https://eeas.europa.eu/topics/common-security-and-defence-policy-csdp_en [Accessed 25 Nov.2018].
  5. Κοινή Πολιτική Ασφάλειας και Άμυνας (KΠΑΑ) – Η Ελλάδα στην ΕΕ. [online] Mfa.gr. Available at: https://www.mfa.gr/exoteriki-politiki/i-ellada-stin-ee/kpaa.html [Accessed 25 Nov.2018].
  6. Military and Civilian Missions and Operations – EEAS – European External Action Service – European Commission. [online] EEAS – European External Action Service. Available at: https://eeas.europa.eu/topics/military-and-civilian-missions-and-operations/430/military-and-civilian-missions-and-operations_en [Accessed 27 Nov.2018].
  7. EUMM Georgia – EUMM Fights Against Gender Based Violence. [online] Eumm.eu. Available at: https://eumm.eu/en/press_and_public_information/features/6525/ [Accessed 2 Dec.2018].
  8. 10 Years Anniversary of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia – “Mission Supports Stability and Security on the Ground”.[online]. GeorgianJournal. Available at: https://www.georgianjournal.ge/politics/34841-10-years-anniversary-of-the-eu-monitoring-mission-in-georgia-mission-supports-stability-and-security-on-the-ground.html [Accessed 7 Dec.2018].
  9. EU Launches Consultations with Georgian Civil Society – EEAS – European External Action Service – European Commission. [online] EEAS – European External Action Service.Available at: https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/georgia/52177/eu-launches-consultations-georgian-civil-society_en [Accessed 10 Dec.2018].

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The Issue of EU’s Monitoring Mission in Georgia. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-issue-of-eus-monitoring-mission-in-georgia/
“The Issue of EU’s Monitoring Mission in Georgia.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-issue-of-eus-monitoring-mission-in-georgia/
The Issue of EU’s Monitoring Mission in Georgia. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-issue-of-eus-monitoring-mission-in-georgia/> [Accessed 3 Feb. 2023].
The Issue of EU’s Monitoring Mission in Georgia [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-issue-of-eus-monitoring-mission-in-georgia/
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