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42 EU Civilian Advisory Mission Vacancies in Ukraine

December 16, 2014

At the beginning of December the ” EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine ” officially swung into action regarding its mandate in Ukraine outside the confines of a few offices in Kyiv.  Some existing members of the Mission were already here and have been working/preparing since 22 July – some of those people are known to this blog.

The mission has a current mandate that runs until summer 2016, and whilst Kyiv-centric as these things always are, there is a vital regional outreach section to the Mission – vital as reform is often stymied, rebuffed and ignored in the regional fiefdoms, regardless of the political intent of Kyiv.  Ever has it been thus in Ukraine, regardless of sitting government/president.

That “outreach division”, from what I understand, will be severely short staffed, even when fully staffed – not even one representative per Oblast, a clear indication that the EU has yet to comprehend the internal bureaucratic and regional power-plays that will deliberately obstruct and slow the efforts of the centre.

The EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine is tasked with assisting in police, judicial, and prison (etc) reform.  No small task considering the varying levels of obstruction such reforms will face in various regions or via various individuals – though it has to be said “advisory” means exactly that, no more and no less.  Ukraine must make Ukrainian reform work – nobody else can do it.

Anyway, having already been officially launched – and indeed this blog having already met an old friend who is participating in this Mission earlier this week on an all too swift visit to Odessa – to the point of this entry:  42 vacancies within the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine.

How swiftly those 42 vacancies will be filled, who knows – but clearly the fact that there are so many vacancies will have an organisational and Mission impact upon its capabilities in the immediate now that it is entirely “live”.

Regular readers with the ability to read between the lines of historical posts, as well as those who know this blog personally, are no doubt asking why its services are not being volunteered for this EU Mission.

Indeed, no matter which way you shake the resume, it fits the vast majority of the vacancies, not withstanding a decade of living in Ukraine and knowing personally the majority of those in positions of power/influence from Odessa who are likely to either obstruct or accept the reforms that will be forthcoming.  Why waste almost two decades of sitting in Judges Chambers, Crown Courts, Magistrates Courts (mostly of the Northern Circuit), police stations and prisons, or the tedious hours of writing local area policing plans, emergency response plans, creating, monitoring and implementing policy documents to meet health and safety, environmental and public safety protocols etc., when Ukraine – and Odessa where I will continue to live long after this EU Mission loses its mandate – may benefit from those years?

There is surely a personal vested interest to see the rule of law, the establishing and consolidation of democratic institutions, and top-down, bottom-up and horizontal accountability installed in Ukraine.

Such matters are not always so simple.

In already knowing such people in Odessa (and a few in other Oblasts too), and having lived here so long, perhaps knowing too much, and too many relevant people, some may argue that the necessary “detachment” or “insulation” for unquestioned integrity and unbiasedness is missing.

Is a fairly deep insight into Ukrainian issues and knowing influential people already, when undoubtedly continuing to reside in Ukraine post any EU Mission conclusion, likely to create problematic personal issues in the future?  Has individual integrity already been compromised even before any application to the Mission?

Would any favourable or jaundiced bias matter that much, when what truly matters is the accuracy of reporting above all else?

Why show any interest in this particular EU Mission when there has been a deliberate and conscious effort made not to participate in any official election observing in Ukraine due to the high probability of knowing not only runners and riders in any elections, but also the election commission personnel as well?  Meeting, greeting and passing on local/national knowledge with as much accuracy as possible to numerous international election observers that arrive in Ukraine is one thing – acting as an official observer knowing these people, the potential difficulties that may present personally in the future, is quite another.

That said, this is not a 3 month LTO or one week STO gig.  It is at least 18 months – a sufficient timespan to get to know all those already known, if they weren’t already known, anyway.

Is there a beneficial legacy issue beyond the EU Mission mandate for the UK Embassy Kyiv (and others) that are constantly in contact with the blog due to no permanent diplomatic presence in Odessa, if existing (and potentially new) social contacts were temporarily made more formal for 18 months.  Once the mandate concludes, the blog presence and its contacts needless to say, remain.  Whilst such networks would be of little benefit to the blog, for certain nations, the existence of any such network may be of use in the future.

Returning to the mechanics of the Mission, there will also need to be a diverse composition of the successful applicants across the Member States that are taking part – and perhaps not all will be taking part.  It is not clear – and such things invariably are not.  Whilst the vacancies are open to all EU citizens, some nations may have quietly made clear that they are not especially keen to have their nationals involved in this particular Mission, but would prefer to carry more weight in another mission, either within Ukraine or elsewhere – who knows?  There are always issues behind the curtain to consider.

Anyway, for those interested, the application form is here.  Deadline for applications 9th January 2015.

In the meantime, something to ponder for yours truly.  Perhaps a few emails are in order to ascertain how well received any such application would be – or indeed if it would pushed forward/actively supported by certain quarters if it were submitted to circumvent the secondment issue for many posts – where there is political will, there is a bureaucratic way.

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