Over €22 million is to be invested into the continued construction of Estonia's eastern border this year.
According to Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt, the goal is to construct for Estonia the most modern state border in Europe, which would likewise be a worthy external border for the EU and NATO alike.
The minister noted that the plan is to outfit the entire border with technical surveillance.
"If years ago we acknowledged that the border is guarded by people supported by technology, then in a few years we want to be able to say that it is modern technology supported by people that is used to guard borders," Anvelt explained.
Last year, land valuation was completed for property falling within the border strip and as of today, a total of 68 properties have been expropriated. It became clear in the course of the design process that infrastructure will in some places have to be built outside of the border strip due to the specific nature of the landscape and the resulting concerns regarding the feasibility of construction. As a result, a full overview of lands to be expropriated will only be possible following the completion of the project.
A construction procurement will be be carried out this year, in the preparations for which the results of tests conducted in sections specially constructed for the testing of infrastructure and technology will be taken into account.
"We initially planned on beginning construction one section at a time in order to save time, however in order to save taxpayers' money, one procurement will be carried out for the construction of the entire land border," Anvelt explained.
Work planned all along eastern border
This year, the entire temporary border line separating Eastern Estonia from Russia will also be marked with a total of 555 border markers along the shared land border and 144 border markers along the Narva River. In the spring, floating border buoys will also be installed on Lakes Peipus, Pskov and Lammijärv in cooperation with the Maritime Administration.
In addition, a patrol path will be constructed along the Narva River and a border lake, the Vaniku artificial lake, will be cleaned and renovated.
The installation of warning signs along the border will also be completed this year, which, together with the floating border buoys, is expected to help prevent unintentional illegal border crossings.
A total of nearly €22.2 million is expected to be spent on works involved in the continued construction of Estonia's eastern border this year.
As certain activities involved were postponed, €16 million from last year's border construction budget was redirected to the Estonian government's reserves, to be used to cover border project-related costs in 2018.
The construction of Estonia's eastern border, which is scheduled to be completed in 2019, is expected to cost approximately €74 million in total.
Editor: Aili Vahtla