Ratas: Border construction price hike unexpected surprise for government
The up to threefold increase in the total price tag of the construction of the country's eastern border was an unexpected surprise for the government, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said during question time in the Riigikogu on Wednesday.
Responding to questions posed by opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP Martin Helme, Ratas said that the two and a half to threefold increase in the price of the construction of Estonia's eastern border came unexpectedly for the envoys and government members, considering the calculation in 2015 was €79 million.
"This definitely does not mean that the construction of the eastern border will stop or be interrupted — this will not happen," the prime minister said. "I, in any case, consider it right that we must move on with the construction of the border."
The total length of Estonia's eastern border is 338 kilometers, 135 of which is on land. "The construction of the land border, which is also the longest part of the border, has first and foremost become more expensive," Ratas said. "The difference between the assessments which were carried out in February 2015 and now is approximately €100 million. A total of €11 million has been planned for the river border and the actual need is €25 million, so the border has increased in price by approximately €14 million as well."
At the same time, Ratas referred to the fact that the border project is still at the design stage, adding that when tenders are submitted, the cost can definitely be changed once again.
The prime minister said that he would not jump to say that the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has made incorrect calculations.
"I think that to conduct a full assessment in a month and a half during winter of how much the border construction will cost — to bring it to the government level, and to make a decision based on that — I think this was slightly hasty," Ratas admitted.
Editor: Aili Vahtla