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Ex-Interior Minister Thanks Staff, Reflects on Time in Office

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 15
Georgia’s former Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili, who will soon chair an Emergency Management Center, said he carried a “huge responsibility” during the two years in office and thanked his staff for their assistance during that time.

Mgebrishvili added that the ministry was able to sign several major deals and changed the approach to crime prevention and investigation under his leadership.

“In 2017 we signed a high-level agreement with Europol and became a member of the European police family,” Mgebrishvili said, before adding that the Interior Ministry played a crucial role in the implementation of the EU visa-free regime, which allows Georgian citizens to enter the EU’s Schengen Zone for 90 days without having to obtain a visa.

“The European Commission gave high praise for our analyses-based police reform, which means we have taken genuine steps to prevent crimes through modern systems and technologies,” Mgebrishvili said.

Significant reforms were carried out under Mgebrishvili’s watch in the border police, emergency services and the police academy, which brought the agencies and institutions in line with European standards.

Mgebrishvili wished his successor, former Economy Minister Giorgi Gakharia, his best and described the latter as a “top level professional.”

The opposition, led by the United National Movement (UNM), says that Internal Affairs Ministry is a priority for the ruling Georgian Dream party. The UNM representatives claim that Gakharia, like Mgebrishvili, will fulfill the demands of the founder of the Georgian Dream, the billionaire former Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

On November 13 Georgia’s current Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced that the Emergency Management Agency of the Interior Ministry and the State Security and Crisis Management Council will be merged to become a new Emergency Management Center, headed by Mgebrishvili.

“The recently announced governmental reshuffle by the Prime Minister … is superficial, meant to mislead people,” an opposition leader Tamar Kekenadze of the Free Democrats party, said.

She says that the current state leadership failed to settle economic, social and other major problems and is now trying to shift people’s attention to less important issues.

The recent reshuffle leads to the decrease of 18 ministries to 14 and the dismissal of four ministers.