First modern Estonian border marker installed at Estonian-Latvian-Russian border point in Võru County
The Republic of Estonia's border marker No. 1 was installed on Tuesday at the point in Võru County where the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Russia meet. According to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the Estonian state border is a rather complicated one, which is why it must be Europe's most modern border as well.
Border marker No. 1 was installed on the bank of the Pedetsi River, where a border line begins whose segment along Meeksi Creek has remained unchanged for more than 800 years. This same border segment is known to be one of the oldest in Northern Europe, reported ETV's nightly news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."
According to President Ilves, at a time when the situation along the EU's external borders remains tense, the construction of the Estonian border helps provide reassurance to Estonians.
"We have a complicated border specifically to the east," said Ilves, noting that the country had no problems with Latvia or Finland. "But we have a problem with smuggling as well as human trafficking and illegal activity in general which is tied to our eastern border."
The Estonian president found, however, the construction of Estonia's border alone would not be enough. In order to ensure the continued free movement of people within Europe, all state borders must be kept in order, "...or else we will lose this opportunity, this fantastic right, that we currrently enjoy."
According to Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur, the installation of the new border markers can be considered the cornerstone of the constrution of Estonia's eastern border. The minister found that the importance of border marker No. 1 was above all symbolic, as it marked the meeting point of three countries' borders, however there is still much work to be done.
"The construction of the border is in the active preparations phase," explained Pevkur. "We are signing contracts with land owners with which we want to assume ownership of the necessary land. The project is in the final stages; the initial work is already underway. Border markers are being installed and we will begin demarcating the aquatic border."
A total of approximately 700 border markers will be installed to mark the country's eastern land border, while another nearly 400 border marker buoys will be installed along its aquatic borders. The Estonian government has allotted an estimated 73 million euros through 2020 for the construction of a high tech eastern border. Construction on the border is expected to be completed in 2019.