Justice minister: Only moving all of security sciences academy to Narva sensible ({{commentsTotal}})

Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL).
Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL). Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Moving the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences to Ida-Viru County is part of the government’s coalition agreement, but more recently both the Social Democratic Party (SDE) as well as the Center Party have said that the agreement didn’t specify to which extent this would have to happen.

According to ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” newscast, an analysis by the Ministry of the Interior found that moving the whole academy to Narva would be very expensive, and that it would make more sense to only take part of it to Ida-Viru County, most likely connected with the practical training of the academy’s cadets.

Anvelt: Moving bulk of academy to Narva too expensive

Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) said that he had never had an issue with the idea of moving the bulk of the academy east, but that it was necessary to be realistic in terms of the available means to do this.

Anvelt’s predecessor, Reform Party chairman Hanno Pevkur, also said that moving the whole academy didn’t seem reasonable.

Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL) disagreed, saying that the issue wasn’t just the coalition agreement, but also the fact that the Estonian state needed to increase its presence in Ida-Viru County. “This is a serious problem we have with the level of integration in Ida-Viru County, and this is doubtlessly important also from the point of view of security,” Reinsalu said.

The criticism of the idea gave away that Estonian politicians still treated Ida-Viru County as an area where an academy of this central importance shouldn’t be placed, which was a point of view he was categorically against, Reinsalu added.

Reinsalu: Cost projections don’t include future maintenance cost of Tallinn facilities

As the Ministry of the Interior said last week, there are currently three options on the table. The first includes the construction of new training facilities for up to 850 cadets in Narva. This would mean maintaining the current training facilities in Väike-Maarja in Lääne-Viru County, but closing the police school in Paikuse in Pärnu County. The investment, in this case, would amount to some €63 million.

The second option is to scale down the proposed facility in Narva, and build it for some 700 cadets. In turn, both the Väike-Maarja and Paikuse facilities would remain open. The investment here would amount to some €36 million.

The third option, currently the preference of the Ministry of the Interior, is to build facilities only for practical and complementary training in Narva that would accommodate some 100 cadets at any given time, and keep all of the academy’s other training centers open. This option represents the smallest change, as in essence the academy would remain in Tallinn.

Reinsalu pointed out that the cost of the move depended on those as well who would eventually undertake it. On paper, moving just the practical part of cadets’ training to Narva may look cheap, but eventually, any solution would cost about the same, as future investments in the academy’s Tallinn facilities needed to be taken into consideration as well.

Moving just part of the academy won’t do

If the reason behind moving the academy was really going to be one of increasing the state’s presence, and increasing the importance of any place other than Tallinn, a minimal solution wouldn’t do, Reinsalu said. A solution that called for most of the academy’s staff to remain in Tallinn would be window-dressing.

Taking the same direction as his minister of the interior, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said in an interview with ERR’s Vikerraadio last week that the coalition agreement didn’t specify to what extent the academy should be moved to Narva.

Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn

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