Marvin’s double heads generals’ junta

Series Title
Series Details 05/04/01, Volume 7, Number 14
Publication Date 05/04/2001
Content Type

Date: 05/04/01

The office of the Union's military staff is beginning to resemble a South American-style junta as it fills up with top-brass braid and medals.

Its cramped headquarters in the Justus Lipsius building are officially home to a three-star general, the newly-appointed German Rainer Schuwirth and his two-star deputy, UK major-general Graham Messervy-Whiting. They are supported by five brigadier-generals.

Finnish four-star general Gustav Hagglund, whose appointment as first chairman of the EU military committee is expected to be rubber-stamped soon by the Council of Ministers, will be a regular visitor. And countless colonels, majors, captains, lieutenants and other ranks will join the 140-strong staff.

At least they will be moving into more spacious accommodation in June, when Lee Marvin-look-alike Schuwirth leads his troops to a new base in Avenue de Cortenbergh.

But don't expect anyone - even the French - to say whether the Cortenbergh HQ will include a little room with a plate on the door reading 'EU Rapid Reaction Force Independent Planning cell'.

Still on a military theme, the Brussels lobbying sector may not realise that it has a one-time Army major in its ranks. He's Australian, quietly-spoken and exudes a natural air of authority. Give up?

Step forward John Russell, boss of Weber Shandwick public affairs and former EU affairs manager of the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham).

A graduate of the Royal Military College in Duntroon, Russell spent more than a decade in the Aussie forces. As actor Michael Caine would say, not a lot of people know that.

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