The Estonian Ministry of the Interior has asked other ministries for their opinion on optimizing the organization of the road border crossing point at Koidula, Võru County. The Ministry of Finance supports the idea of closing the border crossing point, as doing so would help to save around €11 million that would otherwise be spent on its maintenance and repair.
"In view of the changed security situation and the Russian Federation's aggression in Ukraine, as well as the ministries' aim to critically review the costs of the government departments and find savings, the Ministry of Finance considers the initiative of the Ministry of Interior to be reasonable and supports the closure of the border crossing point as soon as next year," Estonian Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev wrote.
According to the finance ministry, the statistics suggest that closing the Koidula border crossing point would be the best approach. The number of trucks crossing at the Koidula border has decreased by 31 percent since last year.
Closing the border crossing point would help to save several million euros in management and maintenance costs, with a considerable amount of investment currently earmarked for work scheduled to take place there over the next few years.
This includes the renovation work to preserve the main building, as well as upgrade its technical systems, improve the working environment and increase energy efficiency.
The total estimated cost of these works is €6,890,000. In addition, work to replace the road's lighting installations is also currently planned for completion by 2030 at the latest, at a cost of around €3 million.
The management and maintenance of the border crossing point would also require a number of other resource-intensive works to be carried out in the near future.
However, Võrklaev also believed alternatives ought to be considered, as closing the border crossing will have an impact on local people.
"Undoubtedly, changes to the organization of work, at the Koidula border crossing checkpoint, or its closure, will affect the local community and the municipality of Setomaa, as well as employment and the opportunities for people to move and work in the border areas. We therefore support the Ministry of the Interior's plans to conduct a study in order to identify potential alternatives," said Võrklaev.
Editor: Michael Cole