New parties oppose speedy border treaty ratification ({{commentsTotal}})

The Free Party and the Conservative People's Party (EKRE) said Estonia should not rush ahead with the Estonian-Russian border treaty ratification.

Russia last week sent a bill for the ratification of the treaty to its Parliament and the two nations have said they will finalize the treaty simultaneously.

“If we look at the experience of not only European states but around the world, then the norm is that nations' borders are not only defined geographically and physically but also legally,” Hannes Hanso, who is the likely candidate to head the Estonian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said.

Marko Mihkelson, the current chairman of the committee, said it is in Estonia's interest to fix the border legally as it will then be possible to begin building up the exact border, he added. According to the signed, but not ratified treaty, the border between the two nations will shift a little.

Martin Helme, head of EKRE's Parliament faction, said the Estonian Parliament should not ratify the treaty as it is disadvantageous to Estonia and against the country's constitution, which says Estonia's land border should run along the Treaty of Tartu lines.

Helme said the Supreme Court should first rule whether there is a conflict with the constitution. He added that EKRE will not rule out using filibustering tactics and turning to the courts to stop the ratification process.

Andres Herkel, head of the Free Party, said his party does not see the reasoning behind ratification at a time when Russia has not stopped hostilities in Ukraine.

On the border, 128.6 hectares of land, roughly the size of Tallinn's Old Town, and 11.4 square kilometers of lakes will be swapped.

Estonia will gain a boot-shaped piece of land near Värska, which currently belongs to Russia, but has a road cut through it used by Estonians, although it is not allowed for people driving through to stop.

Amendments will also be made on Peipsi lake to make life easier for fishermen.

Talks on a border treaty began in the early 90s, but have been derailed for political reasons. This is the third attempt.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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