Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani (Center) said the first section of the eastern border construction has essentially been completed and the entire construction is proceeding at the planned pace.
Responding to questions from MPs on Wednesday, Jaani said that the situation on Estonia's eastern border is calm and no situation has arisen on the Estonian borders similar to that on the Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish borders with Belarus. He pointed out that there have been six illegal border crossings this year.
"The construction of the external border is proceeding at the planned pace," Jaani said. He added that the first section is "essentially completed" and preparations and activities are underway on a 60-kilometer section of the border.
Jaani noted that the completion date of the border infrastructure is 2025 and the construction of the entire eastern border will end in 2026.
"In the near future, we will start applying for funds from the EU to also start installing monitoring equipment. It is planned to apply for up to €30 million from European Union funds," Jaani said, adding that the total budget for the construction of border infrastructure is €88 million, excluding VAT.
Jaani: Defense forces to help build barriers if migration pressure arises
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) have agreed that in the event of migratory pressure on the Estonian border, the defense forces will come to the border service's aid to put up temporary barriers on the border, Jaani said.
The minister said the police have specific agreements with the defense forces, according to which, in the event of a crisis at the border, the defense forces will quickly come to their aid to build temporary barriers on the border.
"This kind of cooperation with the defense forces is what we are having on an ongoing basis, and there are very specific agreements also with the commander of the defense forces (Martin Herem - ed). It has been agreed to in the respective regions between the local police chief and the local brigade commander - when someone will come to help, how quickly they will come, how they will come and with what means," the minister said.
Commander of the Estonian defense forces Lt. Gen. Martin Herem told BNS in early September that should migration pressure extend to Estonia as well, the defense forces are prepared to send their combat engineer units to build border barriers, if necessary.
"If support is requested from the defense forces, we are ready to contribute with all the capabilities we have, be it supporting the Police and Border Guard Board in maintaining border control or even using our reserve capabilities, such as combat engineer battalions, to adjust the border so that it would be easier to control," the defense chief said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste