Representatives of Baltic states discuss possibilities of civil protection in Tallinn

  • 2024-02-29
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Tuuli Raim, deputy secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of the Interior for rescue and crisis preparedness, met with her Latvian counterpart Janis Bekmanis and Lithuanian colleague Vitalij Dmitrijev to discuss the general organization of the civil protection of the three countries, large-scale evacuation, as well as threat notification and sheltering during a two-day meeting in Tallinn this week.

This was the first such high-level civil protection meeting of the Baltic countries. According to Raim, the goal is to establish a regular cooperation format.

"In civil protection, we look a lot towards our northern neighbors as an ideal. However, our actual situation and the issues that need to be resolved are similar to Latvia and Lithuania, largely because of our shared history. All three countries are struggling with how to take the biggest possible steps forward as quickly as possible with limited resources. We can certainly learn from each other by sharing experiences along the way," the deputy secretary general said.

Bekmanis said that threats to the safety of the residents are still common to all three Baltic states and will be for many years to come.

"We must particularly take into account possible threats from the eastern neighbor. In this context, we not only have a shared past, but also a shared future, where the disadvantages and advantages of each directly affect the other. The need for a common approach is therefore obvious. From professional regional risk analysis to well-coordinated joint and unified action mechanisms in case it is needed," he added.

Dmitrijev noted that we live in a region with a changed security situation.

"Proper preparation in the area of civil protection is critical to protect citizens. At the same time, we must strengthen the capacity of the agencies responsible for civil protection and be ready to respond to new threats," he said.

Dmitrijev added that the Baltic states should coordinate their positions on civil protection issues both at the regional and European Union level.

During the two-day meeting, the representatives of the rescue and civil protection fields of the interior ministries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania received an overview of the general organization, capacity gaps and areas of concern of the civil protection of the three countries.

The focus was on extensive evacuation, threat notification and sheltering. The meeting also included a visit to the Rescue Board's warehouse, where they got an overview of the evacuation supplies and other equipment intended for the protection of the population acquired by Estonia. The Baltic colleagues agreed to continue close cooperation on civil protection issues.