TALLINN – The Riigikogu's national defense committee at a sitting on Tuesday discussed the final report of the Government Office's maritime resources working group, which provides for unified coordination and exercises in the Baltic Sea.
Committee chair Andres Metsoja said that when ensuring security, the military and civilian systems must always be considered together. "Agencies tend to sit in different chairs and finding common ground is quite difficult," Metsoja said. "Today's meeting was necessary, in particular, to enable ministers to explain the proposed changes in their areas of responsibility," he said, adding that the harmonization of positions is the only possible solution to move forward.
Committee member Johannes Kert stressed the importance of transmitting the identified maritime surveillance image to NATO. According to him, we need it so that the NATO maritime forces can respond in support of us. "Estonia's current situation with maritime defense inevitably makes Estonia the weakest link in the NATO chain," Kert said. "As we are not able to provide NATO with an identified maritime surveillance image today, NATO is not able to respond in time to protect us. The vulnerability of the islands of western Estonia is also a problem for other Baltic states and NATO and European Union countries bordering the Baltic Sea."
According to Kert, the wasting of maritime resources must be stopped and the performance of state functions at sea must be combined into a single fleet. "The most effective option would be to integrate maritime administrations into the Navy with the resources and tools available today, to optimize the use and development of capabilities under a single management," he said, adding that this is largely the case in NATO member countries.
Explanations were given to the committee by Prime Minister Juri Ratas, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme and representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the Government Office.