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Estonia's eastern border construction and maintenance to cost €320 million

Border markers along Estonia's eastern border with Russia.
Border markers along Estonia's eastern border with Russia. Source: (Arved Breidaks/Valgamaalane/Scanpix)

According to the Estonian Ministry of the Interior, building the infrastructure and surveillance system of the border between Estonia and Russia is set to cost around €250.3 million over the course of 11 years, with additional maintenance costs of €70 million to be needed down to 2026.

At present the available resources for covering the building and maintenance costs of Estonia's eastern border with the Russian Federation total €96.8 million. According to estimates, the required sum stands at €320.3 million.

The €223.5 million shortfall, according to the Ministry of the Interior's calculations. should be included in the special-purpose reserve of the Ministry of Finance, earmarked for the aegis of the Ministry of the Interior.

Maintenance costs

The forecast need of the border's maintenance costs total €70 million for the period until 2026, which is €15.2 million more than previously predicted.

From 2027 onwards, the annual maintenance costs are to total €15-16 million. The costs planned for the Finance Ministry's special purpose reserve down to 2026 total €25.8 million, which means that an additional €44.2 million should be added to the reserve., to meet the €70 million maintenance figure.

According to experts, the eastern border costs €188-194 million at 2017 prices, about the same figure as forecast in February this year.

However, the rise in construction prices and the extended construction period could raise the cost by about €62 million. It has to be also taken into account that the final price of the project would come as a result of construction procurements.

The Ministry of the Interior is set to propose to the government approval of the construction and maintenance funding of the eastern border in full, as well as to consider it a strategic investment necessity for Estonia, and furthermore to consider it a priority when forming the government's position during the EU 2021-2028 budgetary period.

In February the Interior Ministry proposed postponing the end date of constructing the border to 2026, which would enable the division of construction costs more evenly throughout the intervening time.

The present-day border infrastructure between Estonia and Russia was intended to be finalised in 2018/2019 at the latest, but at present only 3.5km of test sections from the 136km border are actually ready. Last year the entire eastern land border was physically marked.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: BNS

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