Interior minister's crisis plan needs €27 million, ministry budget increase ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE).
Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) is calling for the Ministry of the Interior's budget to be increased. €17 million is needed to set up a crisis reserve, €9.6 million is needed for a one-off payment and the annual budget should be increased by €10.8, a memorandum states.

According to Helme, it is necessary to make a number of essential acquisitions, recruit additional people, organize training and carry out several prevention and information activities in order to increase crisis preparation.

The memorandum which was submitted to the government shows the establishment of the Police and Border Guard Board's (PPA) crisis reserve will cost €17 million in 2021-2024. A one-off payment of €9.6 million is needed and additional fixed costs of €10.8 million per year are required for the annual budget.

Helme said a number of analyzes have shown that there are "gaps of power capacity" in terms of preparing for the crisis in Estonia and no money has been allocated from the state budget to improve the situation.

Helme cited the storm in South-Eastern Estonia in 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic as examples of crisis situations.

The government has so far allocated €4 million to the Ministry of the Interior to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Helme said more money is needed as the ministry prepares for the future.

To create the much-talked-about crisis reserve, the Ministry of the Interior will need €17 million for the years 2021 to 2024, of which €3 million is needed next year. In addition to training and equipping 1,200 people, the money will be spent on, for example, off-road vehicles.

For example, €2.3 million is needed for the acquisition of resources (mobile electricity generators, crisis tents) to protect the population; the ministry's agencies need equipment (lifeboats, personal protective equipment, storm suits) which will cost for €1.1 million. It will cost €3.8 million to modernize helicopter cameras and train an additional crew. The mobile land border monitoring platform (cameras, drones, video recognition) will cost €800,000.

In addition to all of that, Helme wants the annual budget of the Ministry of the Interior to be increased by €10.8 million. This funding will be used to strengthen border guards and involve more police officers at the border which will cost €800,000. Setting up a network of public shelters and increasing crisis preparation in municipalities will cost €2.2 million. Increasing the technical capacity of rescuers and lifeguards will be €3.9 million.

The budget would additionally provide more funding to increase the cybersecurity capacity of the ministry of the Interior, for which €2.2 million is needed. Maintaining the capacity of aircraft and helicopters cost around €900,000 and recruiting an additional helicopter crew will be €500,000.

An additional €200,000 is needed every year to clear bushes and maintain the Estonian-Latvian border.

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Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein

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