TALLINN - Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday presented a plan to increase the ambition for the construction of the eastern border, which also received the government's approval and the necessary funding in the amount of 22.5 million euros.
"Given what is happening at the borders of Belarus and the neighboring member states of the European Union, physical barriers have been playing an important role in ensuring security and border security. That is why I proposed at the government's Cabinet meeting today to increase the ambition of the border infrastructure to be built on the eastern border," Jaani said.
"In short, raising the ambition of the construction of the eastern border means completing previously neglected developments. This would mean an additional 20.7 kilometers of delay fence and thus better coverage of the land border, 95 percent coverage of the Narva River border by technical surveillance and the construction of a patrol path on the banks of the Narva River, which will prevent long detours and ensure a faster response to events," Jaani said.
According to Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, this has been the kind of an issue where a quick decision and solution has been needed. "Developments at the border between the European Union and Belarus are tense, we cannot ignore it," the minister said. "According to the proposal made to the Cabinet, we will increase the financing of the construction of the Estonian border by an additional 22.5 million euros. This will be in addition to the money already planned for the construction of the eastern border in the government's targeted reserve and will make it possible to cover sections of the border for which no funding had been planned at present."
A total of 115 kilometers of border infrastructure will be built along the land border. Due to the limited budget, it was not planned to build a delay fence along the entire border infrastructure. With the additional funding, an additional 20.7 kilometers of delay fence will be built there. Previously, only simpler soil improvement work was planned to make the border strip more accessible to border guards. The design and construction of the additional delay fence is estimated to cost 6.63 million euros.
An additional 14 radar and camera positions will be built to monitor the Narva River, which will allow 95 percent of the river border to be monitored by technical surveillance instead of the 70 percent realized so far. Radar and camera coverage has been modeled at the river border, but work is currently pending, as the government decided in 2019 to focus the border construction budget on building the land border infrastructure.
In the first stage, it is planned to invest 7.8 million euros to increase the surveillance of the Narva River. It is planned to purchase surveillance and monitoring equipment from both EU funds and foreign aid.
A patrol road will be built on the banks of the Narva River, which will make it possible to avoid long detours and ensure a faster response to events. In places where patrols can currently only be carried out by water, the possibility of patrols on land will be created. Until now, the construction of the patrol road along the Narva River has been postponed due to lack of funding. The cost of the development is estimated at 8.07 million euros.