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Eastern border construction not likely to be completed before 2026

At the Russian border.
At the Russian border. Source: (PPA)

The government discussed postponing the completion date of the projected construction works along Estonia's eastern border from 2019 to 2026. The project turns out to more than €100 million more expensive than expected.

The Ministry of the Interior has proposed breaking up the construction of the eastern border infrastructure and technical surveillance systems over the years from 2019 to 2026. This would make it possible to divide the burden on the state budget more equally.

If the completion isn't postponed, a considerable part of the investments would coincide with a period where a decrease in the state's EU support receipts could be expected, as the EU's current budget period is about to end and the new budget's resources cannot be used yet, the ministry said in its proposal.

According to Interior Minister Andres Anvelt (SDE), the government decided to return to the topic after thorough additional analyses have been carried out regarding the project's costs. Neither the exact cost nor the timeframe are clear at this point, Anvelt said.

According to the ministry's plan, the infrastructure could be built between 2019 and 2022. After that, the procurement and installation of the necessary surveillance equipment could then follow.

The government also approved a development plan to build the eastern border and setting up the necessary technical surveillance systems, along with additional funding for the 2020-2026 period including €117.2 million for investments and €45.7 million for maintenance costs. This sum adds to the €70.8 million allocated in 2015.

The total cost of building Estonia's eastern border would amount to more than €184 million according to current plans.

The infrastructure for the land border would be built between 2019 and 2022. The Narva River patrol road would be built between 2022 and 2024, but might also be postponed.

A state-of-the-art border between Estonia and Russia was supposed to be ready in 2018 or 2019 at the latest, but at present just two 1.6-kilometer test sections of the 136-kilometer border are partially ready. The marking of the whole stretch of the Estonian-Russian border was completed last year.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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