EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell met State Inspector of Georgia, Londa Toloraia. Carl Hartzell said he had already expressed “some serious concerns” regarding the abolishment of State Inspector’s Service several times, previously. He evaluated the process as “too rushed and not inclusive enough.”
“I would not have minded having a discussion on the basis of lessons learned, et cetera, to see and make sure how the service would develop in the right way in the future. But it was a missed opportunity to get everyone on board in order to provide the buy-in necessary for this to happen. Apart from substance where we have questions, I would also say that the European Union has been a long-term stakeholder in the service.
It was actually part of, one of the conditions for visa liberalization between the EU and Georgia at one point in time, and we have also invested quite a lot in terms of expertise and capacity building in this institution and its predecessor – the data protection office. And it is an important institution as it is about providing checks and balances, as part of the democratic landscape and therefore, we hope that the concerns that have been expressed will now be taken into account and reflected upon when the process moves ahead,” Carl Hartzell said.
Ambassador Hartzell said he could not give the exact formula for reforming the State Inspector’s Service, but, a legacy of functions had to be preserved for the agency’s proper functioning in the future.
“I would not express any formula as to what needs to be done, but I think it’s important to make sure that there is guarding of the legacy, the current functioning, both when it comes to the surveillance and overview of law enforcement, but also the data protection as part of this, so everyone can rely on these functions to function properly also the future,” said EU Ambassador.
From March 1, two new agencies – Special Investigation and Personal Data Protection Services -will be established instead of State Inspector’s Service, which will be abolished. Special Investigation Service will probe the offences committed by the authorities, while the Personal Data Protection Service will be responsible to monitor personal data procession.