10 Years Anniversary of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia – “Mission supports stability and security on the ground”
07 August, 2018
 10 Years Anniversary of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia – “Mission supports stability and security on the ground”
10 years have now passed since the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia and still we face a huge daily threat. Certain parts of Georgia continue to be occupied even today. Georgia sees this as a problem that needs to be tackled. However it is not one that Georgia can hope to resolve without some involvement of the international community. In order for the latter to assist they need information about what is happening at ground level. Thus the EU
Monitoring Mission’s (EUMM) role in providing impartial information on this issue is highly appreciated.

The EUMM is an unarmed civilian monitoring mission in Georgia, set up by the European Union. It was deployed in October 2008, following the EU-mediated Six Point Agreement which ended the August war.

The Mission’s priorities are:
- to ensure that there is no return to hostilities;
- to facilitate the resumption of a safe and normal life for the local communities living on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABL) with Abkhazia and South Ossetia;
- to build confidence among the conflicting parties; and
- to inform EU policy in Georgia and the wider region.

The EUMM has a valid mandate throughout all of Georgia. However, the de facto authorities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have so far denied it access to the territories under their control.

The EUMM’s Headquarters are in Tbilisi with Field Offices in Gori, Mtskheta and Zugdidi.

geotv.ge
Map of Offices of EUMM, Photo courtesy: www.eumm.eu

The EUMM Monitors are selected from all of the European Union member states. Currently they have a total of 204Monitors from 23 different EU member states. We had a chance to interview one of the monitors, who is from Lithuania.

Jurgita Vilpisauskaite has worked as a monitor in Georgia for a year. She had previously worked in the political communication filed in her country, and has participated in numerous election observation missions all over the world as an international election expert. Jurgita worked in Georgia 12 years ago and, as she always had a feeling of coming back, she decided to apply for a monitoring post with the EUMM in Georgia. After a month’s selection process, Ms. Vilpisauskaite was deployed as a monitor to Mtskheta, where she joined the human security team. This team’s main task is to find out the everyday challenges and predicament of people living along the administrative boundary line. Ms. Vilpisauskaite is also responsible for reporting on the situation of internally displaced people, ethnic minorities, as well as contributing to open source monitoring, and plays a role of the Press and Public Information Section Focal Point at the Field Office level.

geotv.ge
Barisakho Patrolling, Photo courtesy: Valeria Elefterie

The EU Monitoring Mission operates 24 hours a day, especially along the ABL and every member of the mission has a different work schedule, depending on their profile, experience, and interests.

Jurgita’s typical working day starts in the morning with a briefing, detailing the previous day’s findings and the mission’s informational needs. Daily, she will be given various tasks, for example, meeting people from the IDP settlements, or going to Samtskhe-Javakheti to meet representatives from ethnic minorities (this task is also part of the mission).

“In the team, we have two international staff members, one national language assistant and medical support, and every day is a different story.”

After fulfilling her daily tasks, Jurgita returns to the office to write up a report. This is then sent to the reporting unit at Mission’s Tbilisi Headquarters, with weekly, monthly and other reports being sent to EU policy-makers and member states in Brussels.

geotv.ge
EUMM Patrolling, Photo courtesy: Valeria Elefterie

On a daily basis, Ms. Vilpisauskaite meets local residents along the ABL. She notes that residents face different concerns and problems every day, and including those related to irrigation and farming. Each case is unique and is given individual attention. These issues are reflected in the reports that are sent to Brussels and later on to member states. Because the EU monitoring Mission is an impartial mission and does not represent any parties within the conflict, it is responsible only to Brussels. Therefore, the information collected through the Mission’s monitoring is shared within a tightly controlled group within the international community.

“There is sometimes a misunderstanding about our monitoring role here. Because we are not allowed to work on the other side of the administrative boundary line, people think we represent the Georgian side. However, the reality is different, we only observe and monitor the processes, collect information and reports to Brussels with relevant information that is sent to member states. Even during the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings, we do not share the information with the conflicting parties; we only talk about the issues and attempt to find ways of addressing them.”

According to Vilpisauskaite, the Mission contributes to stability and security on the ground and provides neutral and unbiased information to the international community.

geotv.ge
Jurgita with a girl, Photo courtesy: Adam Moller

Our interlocutor also shared her personal views about Georgia, its nature and culture. As Jurgita noted, she finds it very interesting to meet its people and explore the country.

“I travel a lot during my working days and day offs. I choose to visit untouched and less populated places, where I can still find solitude and wilderness. I find it fascinating to learn more about the daily lives of shepherds and monks. The general public’s attitude toward the Mission around the country (not only along the ABL areas) is generally positive. Most of them already recognize our distinctive blue vests and cars. Sometimes, people even invite us to their homes and open their hearts.”

Jurgita said that she is impressed by Georgians’ respect and adherence to their traditions.

“What I love about Georgia is that my imagination is constantly stimulated by the combination of its rural charm with the people and the country’s sheer spontaneity.”

First photo courtesy:  Valeria Elefterie

Author: Gvantsa Kakauridze

Related stories:

European Parliament adopts resolution on Georgia's occupied territories 10 years after Russian invasion

Latvian MEP Andrejs Mamikins about Georgia’s prospects for EU membership

Russia conducts military exercises in Georgia's occupied Tskhinvali Region

Print
Other Stories
Clashes in Pankisi Gorge between locals and special forces
Clashes broke out in Pankisi Gorge, Georgia’s northeastern region between special forces and residents
Georgian Orthodox Cathedral to be built in Cyprus
President of Cyprus has visited Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili at the presidential palace. Number of agreements has been achieved between the two sides.
“Chakrulo” performed at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe opened with the Georgian polyphonic folk song Chakrulo,
Zurab Zhvania's star opened in front of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg
Zurab Zhvania's star has been opened in front of the Council of Europe Palace in Strasbourg.
Bidzina Ivanishvili addresses the people, experts, politicians answer
Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Chairman of the Georgian Dream party, gave an interview to Imedi TV, where he spoke about problems facing the country and his party.
Zurab Zhvania's star to be opened in front of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg
Zurab Zhvania's star will be opened in front of the Council of Europe Palace in Strasbourg.
Bidzina Ivanishvili releases open letter
Bidzina Ivanishvili, chairman of the Georgian Dream party, has released an open letter.
Brexit opens EU's door to Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili says
“There is a logic that the country that has been steadily moving toward
Direct flights may be launched between US and Georgia
We are working to ensure that flights between America and Georgia are timely launched,
Bidzina Ivanishvili will finance Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s Museum in Khibula
The Government of Georgia set up a special commission
Jens Stoltenberg speaks about perspectives of Georgia’s NATO membership, furthering relations
The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg has recently visited Georgia
Georgia to allow sex education lessons at schools
Sex education lessons will be allowed only with the consent of parents
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrives in Tbilisi
The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has arrived in Tbilisi.
Mikheil Saakashvili is a man without principles, says Ukrainian MIA Arsen Avakov
"Mikheil Saakashvili is a man without principles” – said Avakov in the interview.
President should not visit TV studios - Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili is in hot water again
President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili often finds herself in hot water.
“NATO-Georgia Exercise 2019” begins
“NATO-Georgia Exercise 2019” was officially opened at the Georgian Ministry of Defence "Army Hall" in Tbilisi.
Military Importance of Anaklia Port
Deep-sea ports allow large vessels and naval ships to anchor on shore…
There is peace in Khurvaleti and no armed persons have arrived from the occupied territory, say villagers
According to an InterPressNews correspondent, who managed to arrive in the village of Khurvaleti about an hour ago, locals have gathered in the center of the village.
Georgian State Security Service denies presence of Russian soldiers on Georgian controlled territory
State Security Service of Georgia denies reports about the presence of representatives of the occupation regime
US’ 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices about Georgia
While the constitution and law prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment there were reports government officials employed them
Salome Zourabichvili meets with her Armenian counterpart
As part of her official visit to Armenia, President Salome Zourabichvili held a meeting with President Armen Sarkissian.
Georgia will use all mechanisms to establish objective circumstances of death of 29 year old Georgian in Abkhazia
29 year old Irakli Kvaratskhelia committed suicide on March 12th after he had been detained by de-facto Abkhazian authorities.
Embassies of Georgia will open in the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam
Embassies of Georgia will open in the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam,
Mamuka Khazaradze's exclusive interview: "I can't rule out the possibility of my detention"
Mamuka Khazaradze, one of the founders of TBC Bank has recently given an exclusive interview to the Kviris Palitra newspaper.
Giovanni Morra Passport Covers for Ukraine: “7% of my country is occupied by Russia”
Giovanni Morra, men’s handmade accessories and gifts brand has recently unveiled a new passport cover
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
25.04.2019
26.04.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6984
2.6984
EUR
1
EUR
3.0246
3.0246
GBP
1
GBP
3.4912
3.4912
RUB
100
RUB
4.2125
4.2125
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6984
EUR
1
EUR
3.0246
GBP
1
GBP
3.4912
RUB
100
RUB
4.2125