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EU appoints Kęstutis Lančinskas as new head of EUAM Ukraine

January 8, 2016

The current head of the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine, Mr Kalman Mizsei, bows out as Head of Mission, to be replaced by Lithuanian top cop, Kęstutis Lančinskas, effective 1st February 2015.

To give the EU Mission its full title, “The European Union Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform Ukraine” officially began functioning on 1st December 2014, although it was far from fully staffed when it did (there were 42 vacancies at the time of official launch) – and despite the official launch date, some mission members had been preparing the ground since 22nd July 2014.

Thus the outgoing Mr Mizsei officially completed his 1 year contract as Head of Mission, and for whatever reason has not taken up any contractual extensions that are possible.  The incoming Mr Lančinskas will also assume a 1 year contract, but there is a contractual possibility of extending it for up to a total of 3 years.

All jolly good.

Kęstutis Lančinskas

Kęstutis Lančinskas

Mr Lančinskas clearly has the résumé and pedigree necessary to lead the EU mission when considering the role of the mission is to support reform in state agencies such as the police, other law enforcement agencies, (particularly the prosecutor’s office), and the judicial system overall.  In short emphasis upon law enforcement and prosecution institutions, with a sprinkling of judicial advice too.

Undoubtedly Mr Lančinskas and the mission will be a success, for what are they to be measured against?

It is impossible to state how well Mr Mizsei and the mission under his leadership has done during his tenure – for what were the benchmarks, were they achieved, if not, why not, and is it too soon to say anyway?  Over what timescale is any measurement to be made?

It is after all an advisory mission, so if the Ukrainian leadership politely listen and then ignore the advise entirely, the EU can claim the mission was successful, but the Ukrainian leadership a failure – even if the mission was actually abysmal.  To be honest abysmal it will not be – but how good and how effective it has been/is/will be remains anybody’s guess without knowing by what benchmarks and over what time period its effectiveness is to be measured.

Quite how well the EUAM works with the USA and Canada who have taken a high profile, and high $ investment lead when it comes to visible re-branding and revamping of the Ukrainian police, significant liaison with the SBU, and are the most vocal in decrying the obstructionism within the Prosecutor’s Office, is also unknown.  There is presumably some liaison, but how much, and how effective is it?

However, for all the politically necessary visible changes in the police, the rightful howls and laments regarding the obstructionism within the PGO, and the calls for judicial reform and the passing of constitutional amendments to allow that process to begin, those are probably not the benchmarks (if there are any benchmarks) against which EUAM will be measured (by somebody, somewhere).

It seems far more likely, in true European style, to be aimed toward institutional structures, European policy parity, mirrored methodology, and inter-operable  systems should “European integration” become deep and meaningful institutionally.  This is no bad thing, and naturally the US nor Canada are not best placed to provide “advise” upon meeting the “European normative”.

Unfortunately there is no Ukrainian Policing Plan, nor similar document for other civil institutions, in the public domain against which any EUAM “advisory progress” can be measured either.  Naturally the Ukrainian constituency cannot take the Interior Ministry to task for failing to meet parts of any “plan”, if that “plan” is kept from the Ukrainian constituency – if indeed there are official documented “plans” at all.

In fact, as part of the “advice” given by EUAM, it would perhaps be “advisable” to have the National Policing Plan, any Regional/Oblast Policing Plan, or even Local Area Policing Plan, freely available in the public domain.  (Likewise any plans for the prosecutors and judiciary.)  The entire system works by public consent if it is to be a “service”, whereas the system becomes a “force” if it fails to have public consent.  Ergo a published plan at least points towards what, why and by when for the public, allows “buy in” and thus builds trust if plans materialise (at either local and/or national level).

Nevertheless, as indeterminable as any success Mr Lančinskas. may have – welcome aboard  May any words of wisdom fall upon receptive Ukrainian ears (and may the healthy dose of cynicism inherent in any police officer serve you well when dealing with the political and institutional class of Ukraine).

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