Interior ministry proposes €25 million contingency 'wallet'

The Interior Ministry on Pikk Street in Central Tallinn.
The Interior Ministry on Pikk Street in Central Tallinn. Source: Postimees/Scanpix

The Ministry of the Interior has proposed setting up a fund to help ensure Estonia's preparedness in the event of major crises.

As reported in daily Postimees, ministry secretary general Lauri Lugna stated a crisis readiness fund of approximately €25 million is in the offing. This fund would be accessed by private and public sector institutions alike, in ensuring supplies of fuel and electricity, medical supplies and mobile communications in the event of various crises. 

Mr Lugna stressed the proposal didn't imply a crisis was imminent, but increased likelihood of certain crises has grown, necessitating better preparedness.

Realities of a small country

"Being a small country, our resources certainly are more limited than those of larger countries. The question is, whether we direct these resources towards meeting day-to-day needs, such as upgrading weaponry, medical equipment, police and rescue personnel's pay etc., or make use of funds to enhance our preparedness for crises," he said.

"The idea is to do away with a dilemma where, on the one hand we have to find resources for the maintenance of day-to-day activities, and for preparedness for crises on the other. It would make more sense for us to have such a fund that is very clearly earmarked for the latter," Mr Lugna went on.

"We have taken larger amounts of money into the hands of the state via taxes to buy generators, blankets and pillows, medical supplies and other equipment. I am speaking of hundreds and thousands of units, since when there is a major crisis very large numbers of the aforementioned will be needed," the continued.

Multifarious requirements

"That said, we have not required mobile communications providers or the owners of electricity networks, for instance, to have certain reserves. For instance, if electricity supply to filling stations is cut off, will it still be possible to get fuel there? The answer is that there is only a small number of filling stations in Estonia where it is possible to obtain fuel using a power generator. How do we provide heating for buildings should there be a disruption in heating supply, and from where? We must think about this, and about the functioning of sewerage systems and all communications systems. These considerations take several years to establish. Ultimately, everything that depends on electricity supply needs to be considered, " Mr Lugna noted. 

"This €25 million certainly does not constitute war preparation. In a situation where our vital services increasingly depend on technology, we must build into our systems redundancy and residual strength, so to speak. All these investments would also be necessary when technology fails us in time of peace," he added.

When and how the proposed fund is likely to become a reality was not reported.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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