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Emergency Management Service May Again Merge With Interior Ministry

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, July 27
The Georgian Emergency Management Service, which is under the direct supervision of the prime minister, may again return within the Ministry of Internal Affairs after the split from the ministry last year.

The opposition and part of experts believe that the agency was “artificially” separated from the Interior Ministry last year, to create a separate body for former Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili.

Mgebrishvili had to quit his post several days ago because of his close connections with the former Prime Minister Giorgi Kvrikashvili.

“It is better when such bodies are under a common umbrella which are in need of similar techniques, for instance- helicopters. Such unity makes it possible to save money,” Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said on Thursday, which caused media’s speculations that the Emergency Management Service and the Interior Ministry will merge in the coming days.

Under the legislative changes that came into force on January 1, 2018 the Emergency Management Agency of the Interior Ministry and the State Security and Crisis Management Council were merged to become a new Emergency Management Service chaired by Mgebrishvili.

In May 2018, then Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced that Georgia has moved to a new model of emergency situation management, which meant the Emergency Management Service would be more independent in decision making and additional funds would be spent on the purchase of anti-fire equipment.

“The Emergency Management Service will be tasked to evaluate threats, make decisions independently and act as a coordinator in emergency situations,” Kvirikashvili said.

“A volunteer system will be established, as well as an alternative military service to provide more people in emergency situations on time. In order to prevent crises the agency will be tasked to closely cooperate with scientists,” Kvirikashvili stated.

The former PM said that the government was taking steps to renew the emergency service infrastructure and fleet.