#AgentsofChange – Gete Markussen, EUAM Senior Adviser on Good Governance & Human Resources

January 14, 2022

“I am a member of the EU Advisory Mission’s mobile unit, and I have been travelling to several regions across Ukraine. During these deployments, I have encountered the challenges that the National Police face in transforming central policies from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA) into the regional context.

The primary mission of the Mobile Unit is to create interest for Europe: what it stands for and what kind of support and advice can EUAM provide. Through talks with our police counterparts, I underline the complexity of the change process and the importance to bring people on board through openness, communication and involvement. Change management and transformation is a process that does not happen overnight. The important thing is to bring people along with it. The reform needs support and guidance for a complete implementation. For this purpose, we are also intensifying our work with the Regional Administration and civil society organisations on topics like domestic violence or community safety (i.e. the citizen’s perception of the safety within his community).

I mainly work in the police sector, but I remain a civilian before anything else. Before EUAM, I operated for eight years as the Head of the Welfare Department in Denmark. Before that, I also worked six years in Kosovo with the Federation of Red Cross and then with the Danish Refugee Council right after the hard times of the Yugoslav Wars, and two years in Ghana with the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), principally advising and supporting the Ministry of Health. I have been extremely lucky to work both in my country and abroad. Everywhere I have been, I have tried to set up structures and to get people on board the change process, as they are the important changemakers in any kind of process.

In Ukraine, my work is to advise on Good Governance & Human Resources. The human resources aspect is an exciting part of how the EU Mission supports the Police in Ukraine. We want to support to get the right people employed at the right place. And we want to make sure they develop their skills and competencies to the fullest. For that, you need to define a comprehensive job description and identify management and leadership skills among the candidates. You also need a system where you can recruit and fire staff more efficiently. In many sectors, Ukraine suffers from a very top-down approach towards human resources. We need to change this mindset. Some people wish to work in the police but do not for some reason.

Ukraine is an essential country for the European Union. The EU standards and values are fundamental to developing a democracy based on good governance and people’s rights. I notice that the young generation in Ukraine wants to come closer with Europe and shares these European values on human rights, accountability or even the protection of the environment. They want to adapt their values while preserving their integrity as Ukrainians.”

*Share your own story by writing to stories@euam-ukraine.eu (500 words maximum).