The Estonian government decided at Thursday's Cabinet meeting that construction of Estonia's eastern border would move forward according to the plan compiled by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA). The eastern border is to be completed by 2026 at a cost of nearly €190 million.
"The border project hasn't halted for one moment, and we will be moving full steam ahead on constructing the eastern border, beginning with the Estonian-Latvian-Russian border point and moving north," said Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE).
"It would be wrong to talk about the eastern border getting more expensive: just as the PPA project listed the total cost at nearly €190 million, so it remains," he added.
"Using existing funds, we will begin with construction procurements for four sections of the border totalling 33km in length," the minister said. "When it comes to constructing subsequent sections, and state budget applications, we will also have to take into account construction market estimates by [state real estate company] Riigi Kinnisvara AS (RKAS) that project costs may — but may not necessarily — increase up to 7% per year."
During the current budget period, Estonia can put up to €37 million toward investments related to the construction of the country's border.
Construction will begin at the southernmost point of Estonia's eastern border, where the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Russia meet, and move northward. This point along Estonia's eastern border currently sees the most illegal activity, including illegal migration as well as the movment of contraband. The final cost of each section of the border will be determined based on the results of their respective construction procurements.
In addition to the border's current price tag of €190 million, the Estonian government will also take into account the possibility of prices increasing up to 7% per year. The Ministry of the Interior will also apply for funding of border maintenance costs from the state budget, which, based on the completion of the border infrastructure, will cost €3-14 million.
The government also agreed that beginning with the 2020-2023 state budget strategy, the Ministry of the Interior will submit additional applications based on progress made on the border project.
Editor: Aili Vahtla