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PM: Construction of Estonia's eastern border must continue

TALLINN - Constructing Estonia's eastern border has to continue by all means, Prime Minister Juri Ratas said on Tuesday while visiting the Luhamaa border crossing point.

It can be seen from a border construction project completed in February that building the border infrastructure would be considerably more expensive than initially thought. According to the prime minister, the government has discussed the adjusted investment needs and has decided that building the border infrastructure has to be moved on with, spokespeople said.

"Thanks to the professional work of our border guards the number of illegal border crossings decreases every year, but to keep pace with criminals, it is important to bring border guarding to the 21st century. Constructing the eastern border will give us radars, sensors and video surveillance capacity, and we would also use unmanned flying devices as a new technological solution. Introducing these hi-tech systems is necessary to help border guards do their job even better," Ratas said.

According to the head of government, building the eastern border is the most important national infrastructure development in recent years and no compromises can be made regarding that. "Estonia's eastern border is also the external border of the European Union and NATO, therefore it has been a large-scale and ambitious project since designing it began," Ratas stressed.

Constructing the border is a multi-stage project, in the course of which the border strip infrastructure as well as technical surveillance systems will be built, and necessary information systems would be developed and set up, Ratas said. "This year the land border construction tenders will be carried out and next year construction works should start, according to present plans. At the same time, the technical surveillance capacity will be developed, in connection of which the Ministry of the Interior has also included the European Border and Coast Guard Agency FRONTEX as a partner," he added.

Ratas visited the border with the director general of the Police and Border Guard Board, Elmar Vaher, and South prefect Vallo Koppel to get an overview of the construction works.

It was announced at the beginning of February that according to PPA's calculations the construction of Estonia's eastern border will be 2.5 times more expensive than initially planned, increasing from 79 million to 197 million euros.

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