Sunday

27th Nov 2022

Question marks remain over EU's Georgia mission

The European Union has given its green light to a civilian mission to Georgia. But a question mark remains over whether some 200 EU observers will dare to operate in the entire country, including its breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, now under Russia's protection.

"The council [representing EU states] has decided to send an independent civilian observer mission to Georgia, under the European security and defence policy, which will be deployed by 1 October," reads the text adopted by 27 EU foreign ministers on Monday (15 September).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • The EU police mission will initially deploy in the buffer zones (Photo: Wikipedia)

France (76 people), Germany (40), Poland (30), Italy (30), Sweden (27), the Czech republic (10) and Spain (10) have pledged the largest contingents, with 24 out of 27 EU states set to take part to some extent, newswires report.

The so-called EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) will have headquarters in Tbilisi as well as a number of field offices and will deploy for an initial period of 12 months on a budget of €31 million.

The formal go-ahead is expected to secure that Russian troops will "completely" withdraw within 10 days from the buffer zones attached to South Ossetia and Abkhazia to the lines held prior to the outbreak of hostilities.

"EU observers will be able to be present and they should be able to get this withdrawal going, just by the fact that they are there," French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said after the ministerial meeting.

The EU's mission will be working in Georgia together with monitors operational under the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nation. The OSCE itself is seeking to beef up its presence by additional 80 personnel.

However, the EU seems hesitant to irritate Russia by sending its observers to the entire Georgian territory, including its breakway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Moscow considers the rebel regions as independent states and intends to keep 7,600 troops on their soil.

According to Slovak foreign minister Jan Kubis, the EU deployment will be done in several stages, in "areas where Russians are withdrawing from" to begin with.

"All further steps" will depend on political talks with Russia in Geneva next month, German deputy foreign minister Guenter Gloser said, Bloomberg reports.

Earlier, some EU states voiced concerns over a limited role of EU observers on the ground, saying it might wrongly imply that the union was protecting unrecognized borders.

According to one EU diplomat, the EU has decided to play a safe card based on the French EU presidency argument that all is still very fragile. "We will be moving a milimeter by milimeter," he said.

Mr Kouchner himself dismissed the worries by saying: "Let's not just see the obstacles in our path, otherwise we would never do anything...We are not recognizing anything in our text."

Apart from the EU mission, the foreign ministers appointed Pierre Morel, a French diplomat, to become the union's special representative for the crisis in Georgia.

The 27-nation bloc is also set to hold next month a donor's conference to help with the recontruction and recovery of the Georgian economy and resettle refugees. The European Commission meanwhile pledged to put aside €500 million for the period 2008-2010.

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The socialists in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar despite voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left demanded that the European Parliament take a stand.

No top EU officials going to Qatar World Cup

None of the four top EU officials are going to the Qatar World Cup amid a stink on human rights, but some are more brave than others in criticising the gas-rich emirate.

Moldova hit by spillover of Russia's war

Last week, the EU pledged €250m to help Moldova tackle the energy crisis consisting of €100m in loans, another €100m in grants, and €50m directed to help the most vulnerable citizens.

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The socialists in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar despite voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left demanded that the European Parliament take a stand.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. Sweden says 'no' to EU asylum relocation pledges
  2. The 'proof' problem with EU sanctions — and how to fix it
  3. The EU gas cap: will the bottle ever be 'uncorked'?
  4. Enough talk, only rights can eliminate patriarchal violence
  5. Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'
  6. EU Commission to keep Hungary's EU funds in limbo
  7. 'No substance' price ceiling for gas leaves everyone disgruntled
  8. Paying consumers who save most energy could tame gas prices

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us