Ministry of Defense submits objections to crisis reserve bill

Ministry of the Interior coat of arms.
Ministry of the Interior coat of arms. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Ministry of Defense did not approve a bill of amendments to the Police and Border Guard Act, the Assistant Police Officer Act and the Income Tax Act, or the so-called crisis reserve bill, drawn up by the Ministry of the Interior as the former claims that their positions have not been taken into account.

The Ministry of Defense does not agree with the bill's proposal to equate individuals assigned to the reserve with individuals in national defense positions and jobs. This would release the individual simultaneously from their obligations before the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) as well as their obligations before their national defense job, which would mean an increased contribution to internal security instead of national defense.

In light of the same result, the Defense Ministry likewise does not agree with assigning individuals with national defense-related job duties to the crisis reserve, which would raise the question of whether they should answer first to their service and employment relationships or to volunteer activities.

Based on the document, the size and makeup of the crisis reserve as well as its overly broad application remain unclear, the ministry finds.

"According to the bill, an individual assigned to the crisis reserve can participate in the fulfillment of all Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) duties," the ministry writes. "In the course of the coordination of developing intentions, the Ministry of Defense has clearly stated that the crisis reserve cannot under any circumstances be used as a measure for resolving labor shortages in the PPA."

The ministry finds that such an overly broad application of the crisis reserve as well as a lack of defined restrictions on times of use or notice period in the bill would significantly impact working relations, as the assignment of an individual to the crisis reserve would relieve them of their job duties at unforeseen times and for unknown periods of time.

The Ministry of Defense has noted its continued support for the goal to introduce the opportunity to include individuals in the fulfillment of specific PPA duties in exceptional circumstances.

At the same time, however, the goal and structure of the crisis reserve to be established as well as the rights and obligations of members thereof must be clearly defined and not negatively impact military defense or the organization, planning and implementation of other duties necessary to the functioning of public authorities.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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