TALLINN - The Estonian government decided on Thursday that Estonia and Latvia are to conclude an agreement concerning the maintenance of their shared border, create a joint committee consisting of representatives of both states and update the tasks of border representatives.
"Pursuant to the agreement, the parties will carry out maintenance of the border and border signs situated in their territory. So far, no separate agreement has been established between the two states for the organization of border maintenance, therefore this agreement serves as an important milestone in rendering the procedure clearer," Minister of the Interior Mart Helme said, adding that the official border is a distinctive feature of an independent state, which is why it is crucial that it be well maintained and visible.
The maintenance of the state border so far has been carried out on the basis of the 1993 state border restoration agreement, according to which the parties organized the maintenance of the part of the border they had constructed. As a result, Estonia maintained the border strip and boundary markers on both sides of the state border along some 170 kilometers.
Compared to the current procedure, the establishment of a joint committee consisting of representatives of the Estonian and Latvian sides is an innovation.
"The committee will be responsible for assessing the overall maintenance of the internal border and making decisions in order to remedy the situation," Helme said.
The 1994 agreement on the activities of border representatives will also be terminated.
The signing of the agreement is scheduled to take place at a meeting of the interior ministers of the Baltic countries to be held in 2020.
Maintenance of the state border consists of the upkeep of the banks and boundary markers of the transboundary water bodies, removing brushwood from the border strip and mowing hay, and replacing and repairing damaged or destroyed border posts.
The draft agreement concerning the maintenance of the Estonian-Latvian state border and the activity of border representatives between the governments of Estonia and Latvia does not have to be ratified by the Riigikogu. Additionally, the implementation of the agreement does not require changes to be made to Estonian law and the implementation of the agreement does not involve additional state budget costs.