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At its today’s sitting, the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the developing of integrated maritime surveillance picture and other capabilities relating to it in order to enhance the maritime security of Estonia.

“In recent times, positive changes have been taking place in maritime surveillance,” Chairman of the National Defence Committee Hannes Hanso said. According to him, the situation that has existed so far, where the Police and Border Guard Board collects the maritime surveillance picture, but the Navy cannot get this information in the format necessary for it, is unreasonable.

“We have to use the resources of the state better than it has been done so far,” Hanso said. “The cooperation of the state agencies is crucial here.”

Representatives of the defence sector explained the Committee that by the end of the year, a solution would be completed that would enable the Navy to get from the Police and Border Guard Board a maritime surveillance picture that corresponded better to the needs of the Navy.

“Soon we will be able to share our maritime picture also with the NATO allies more effectively than today,” Hanso added. “Ideally, we should achieve a situation in maritime surveillance that is like our air surveillance picture: we put together the picture of Estonia, pictures of Latvia and Lithuania are added to it, and it will in its turn become a part of putting together the whole NATO air surveillance picture.”

Hanso said that the National Defence Committee intended to deal with this topic systemically also in the future.

Member of the National Defence Committee Johannes Kert thinks that the cooperation between the state agencies, which is led by the working group formed at the Ministry of the Interior, is positive. “The compatibility of the maritime surveillance picture inside Estonia and with NATO, which will be achieved by the end of this year, must not remain the last effort in this area,” Kert said. “The maritime surveillance picture should be continuously developed and improved, this also applies to Lake Peipus and Lake Lämmijärv. The duty of the National Defence Committee is not to let the developers of our maritime surveillance get tired, as it has happened in earlier times.”

National Security and Defence Coordination Director of the Government Office Kristjan Prikk, Undersecretary for Defence Planning at the Ministry of Defence Meelis Oidsalu, Deputy Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Indrek Sirel and Head of the Border Guard Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior Janek Mägi gave the National Defence Committee an overview of the activities and plans in maritime security.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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