Monitoring Estonian-Latvian border costs €93,000 a week

Estonian-Latvian border, crossed by a forest road. Crossing illegally will now result in a fine.
Estonian-Latvian border, crossed by a forest road. Crossing illegally will now result in a fine. Source: ERR

Baltic states are to open their internal borders on May 15 for the free movement of residents of the three countries. Border patrols will continue work on the southern border between Estonia and Latvia as they did before the emergency situation was declared.

The total cost of the border control to Estonian taxpayers was on Thursday not yet possible to say, but the weekly cost amounted to an average of €93,000, Head of the Border Control Department of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Egert Belitšev told ERR's online news in Estonian.

At the end of April, introducing and maintaining internal border control on the Estonian-Latvian border had cost around €700,000, Belitšev said.

"In addition to man-hours, this includes roadblocks and other systems and infrastructure necessary for carrying out border control. After the necessary infrastructure was created, maintaining it cost around €93,000 per week," he added.

Costs related to reopening the border are added to the costs of reintroducing border control.

"As the amount of travellers on the Estonia-Russia border decreased significantly, we could involve officials who normally work on the external border. There were 60 police officers and as many member of the Defence League, in addition to moving patrols, air force and other helpers," Belitšev said.

Reintroduced border control also discovered 168 boxes of or 1.68 million illegal cigarettes, a van carrying two tons of illegal fuel and other infringements of law. "Some 20 proceedings regarding illegal crossings on the Estonian-Latvian border have been initiated after the emergency situation was established," Belitšev remarked.

On the southern border, the burden was heaviest after restrictions were imposed, because passenger traffic had not yet decreased and additional burden was created by those not yet acquainted with new restrictions, Head of the Border Control Department said.

Currently, the southern border is being crossed by an average of 400 people daily, most of whom are related to international transport of goods and carry specific authorisation from the government.

From May 15, restrictions for Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian citizens for travel between the Baltic countries will be eliminated, but border controls will carry on in harbors and airports.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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