Alessandro Bartolini, Sweden
This is my first Mission with the EU, but not my first time working in Georgia. My background is in the humanitarian field. During 2004 - 2005, I was based in Tskhinvali with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Besides working in Georgia, I have worked in several countries in the Former Soviet Union, namely Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. For me this is a sort of homecoming, as I have always had warm feelings for this country. What is new to me is working in a civilian mission that has a much more vertical chain of command than I am used to; this stands in contrast to my most recent experience with the OSCE monitoring mission in Odessa, Ukraine.
I think that the role of the mission is extremely important, mainly in terms of stabilization. First by simply being present in the country, and secondly by being the only communication channel between the parties to the conflict: using the EU Monitoring Mission managed Hotline, the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings and the Geneva International Discussions. During the first few months in Gori field office I have managed to get to know quite well the area of responsibility, I have learned a lot about the Mission equipment, mapping, and… how not to get stuck in the mud with the car!
In the forthcoming months, I hope I will be able to take on additional responsibilities, and bring my experience and skills to the table.