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Story of Georgia 5: At EUMM Headquarters

(B2) It is on the heights of Tbilisi that the European mission established its headquarters, in what is called the dacha of Shevardnadze, the first president of independent Georgia (and former Minister of Foreign Affairs under Gorbachev) , trees of rare species, frolicking grasses... Here we breathe a different air than the lower part of town, cluttered with traffic gas, during rush hours. And calm looms there, unlike the horn blasts that constantly resonate in the city.

View of Tbilisi from the mission © NGV

housed, first in an official dacha, the Europeans very quickly retreated – as soon as it was fitted out – to the building next door, which was allocated to them (question of finances, also, the dacha had a certain price. Nb : previously public buildings now belong to a private person who is planning a real estate operation). The old building which was used for receptions of foreign guests remained abandoned for several years. And the first task of the “Europeans” was to arrange it so that they could work there. Even today, painters and electricians are at work, setting up offices, a little more practical than large rooms.

Headquarters of Eumm Georgia Tbilisi © NGV

On the ground floor, reception is reduced to the most basic, a table, a chair, a computer. Soon, we will be able to set up a cafeteria bar there. In the meantime, it's the housekeeper who brings some sweets and hot dishes at noon. Very practical. Because “here there is not much to eat”.

On the 1st floor, the general meeting room – which hosts the morning briefings – and offices, still being fitted out (when I was there), which will be used by the administrative and support team (public contracts, personnel management …). Even today, all the plasters are not yet dry, literally or figuratively.

We paint, we repair, we cable © Ngv

2nd floor, “command”, communication and “operational” (intelligence, liaison with the field, etc.). These are installed in a magnificent room, to make Javier Solana or the highest European officials green with envy. Parquet on the floor, chandeliers, large bay windows overlooking the park, it seems a "little disproportionate almost" for the small dozen operators who usually work there. But very practical for spreading out the cards (they are on the wall and we are still waiting for the tables to work more precisely). We also understand why there is a “top ban on entering, photographing. Rather useless prohibition, it must be recognized. A "bullshit" recognize most agents who work here. “There is nothing really secret”.

the operational room (view of part of the room) © NGV

Every morning, at 9 a.m., the “operational staff” take possession of the meeting room, for a quick overview: intelligence, planning, conduct of operations, etc. Then at 10:30 a.m. there is the meeting with the entire General Staff. Each of those responsible (operations, intelligence, press information, politics) takes stock of what they have noticed. Every Thursday, a meeting with all the ambassadors present in the Georgian capital (from the EU but also from countries like the United States), and other organizations involved such as the OSCE, the UN, etc.) takes place. This meeting, where there are around 20 to 30 people, begins with an update on the situation of the past week (with the significant events). We “cross-check the reports” of other organizations present on the ground (Osce or Monug). But there is no question yet of “coordinating patrols”…


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).