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Estonia: EUR 17 mln to be spent on building out eastern border in 2018

TALLINN - The council for the construction of Estonia's eastern border, which gathered for the first time on Thursday, received an overview of the current situation of the border construction, while the plan is to spend 17 million euros for the construction of the eastern border in 2018.

The council for the construction of Estonia's eastern border that gathered for the first time on Thursday includes representatives of relevant ministries and the prime minister's office, spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior said. Topics discussed at the council's first meeting included the aims, tasks and the form of work of the border construction project's leading group and supervisory board.

Director general of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Elmar Vaher, who participated in the meeting, gave the council a thorough overview of the current situation of the construction of the eastern border.

Vaher said that as of spring, two test sections have been fully completed and accepted and the testing of the sections will follow. The establishment of electric interconnection points will be continued this year and the plan includes large-scale procurements and investments in the total amount of 17 million euros.

Vaher said that questions concerning the expansion of the border strip are still on the agenda, while negotiations with landowners are ongoing. In addition, the development work of the border guard board's information system Kilp (Shield) as well as the construction of command posts will be continued.

The Police and Border Guard Board is also planning to establish three radar positions along Narva River, which will be used for guarding the area along the border near Vasknarva, Punamae and Permiskula. The Police and Border Guard Board has bought more land for establishing the radar positions in order to fit the necessary infrastructure. At present, preparatory work necessary for establishing the radar positions is underway, including the acquiring of building permits. This will be followed by the construction of corresponding towers and the necessary equipment, that is cameras and radars, will be ordered. The Police and Border Guard Board is hoping to conclude the work by the end of this year or the beginning of 2019.

The border regime area on the eastern lakes will also be marked with spar buoys this year and the location of spar buoys installed on the Narva reservoir will be corrected in order to prevent illegal border crossings. These works in cooperation with the Maritime Administration will hopefully be started already in May, depending on the weather conditions.

In the near future, the installing of border posts in the area close to the border near the Narva River will be completed, which means that the entire Estonian-Russian border, with the exception of areas to be exchanged, will be covered with border posts.

The council for the construction of the eastern border will once again gather on May 30.

The leading of the border construction project was reorganized with a directive of the interior minister when communication problems were detected in the interim audit. The contracting entity and the entity carrying out the work as well as their tasks and responsibility was stipulated. The activities of the project are organized by the leading group of the border construction with the director general of the Police and Border Guard Board in the lead. The activity of the council will be led by Raivo Kuut, deputy secretary general for public order and migration policy at the Estonian Interior Ministry.

The government will gather at the end of May to get an assessment of the efficiency of the technical surveillance and guard system and the infrastructure concept of Estonia's eastern border from European border and coast guard agency Frontex and state real estate company RKAS. In addition, an analysis of the border infrastructure construction project has been ordered from a foreign expert, which will be completed in summer 2018.

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