The 1st October marks 10 years since the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) was deployed to Georgia. For 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. That these staff have come from all 28 EU Member States is the strongest possible testament to the commitment of the entire European Union to this Mission. The Mission focuses on enhancing stability, monitoring the situation and rights of the people most affected by the conflict, building confidence and reporting factually.
Mr Vincenzo Coppola, who was recently appointed as commander of EU civilian missions worldwide, said: “Ten years after the war in Georgia, the European Union continues to work for peace and a sustainable solution to the conflict. Our Monitoring Mission fulfils an indispensable role as the only international monitoring presence on the ground. It benefits all of the communities affected by the conflict – the women, men and children who are the ones still suffering the consequences of hostilities from 10 years ago. EUMM Georgia demonstrates the EU’s continued long term commitment to regional stability and to a peaceful, prosperous future for all citizens, in full respect of Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.”
Head of the Monitoring Mission, Mr Erik Høeg, said: “The EUMM remains present on the ground 24/7, 365 days a year – ready to monitor, report and de-escalate at any given time. Over its 10 years the Mission has had to adapt to changes in its security context. The organisation is efficient and our role understood and respected. On this day I want to acknowledge the contribution of the entire EUMM team. I am proud of the dedication and effort of colleagues during the past decade - something I have seen day in and day out, during my time as first Deputy and since as Head of EUMM. It is only thanks to the individual efforts of more than 200 monitors from 26 member states, and experienced Georgian colleagues, that we can carry out our tasks efficiently in the interest of peace”.
EUMM Georgia is one of 10 civilian crisis management missions presently deployed by the EU under its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), launched in order to ensure that parties complied with the Six Point Agreement that ended the 2008 war.
Since 1 October 2008, the Mission has been patrolling day and night to ensure there is no return to hostilities, to facilitate the resumption of a safe and normal life for the local population living in areas adjacent to the Administrative Boundary Lines with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and to build confidence among the conflict parties. In addition, the Mission assists EU decision makers in shaping EU policy on Georgia and the wider region.
Over the years, EUMM has ensured effective information sharing and de-escalated tensions between the parties on numerous occasions, including through handling some 8,000 calls on its Hotline. This is supplemented through the EUMM’s support of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings. These IPRM meetings allow participants from both sides of the Administrative Boundary Lines to talk with one another on security issues and other matters that affect the lives of people residing in these areas. Over the years, the IPRM format has proven to be a very efficient tool to manage situations on the ground and also to promote stability in Georgia.
The European Union recently decided to extend the mandate of the Mission for a further two years, until December 2020. This sends another strong signal of the European Union’s commitment, in light of the relatively fragile security situation in Georgia and the continued relevance of the Mission’s mandate.