At its today’s sitting, the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the final report of the maritime resources working group at the Government Office of Estonia. The report provides for common coordination and conducting of exercises at the Baltic Sea.
Chairman of the National Defence Committee Andres Metsoja thinks that in ensuring security, the military and civilian systems should always be viewed together. “Agencies tend to sit on different benches and it is quite complicated to find a common ground,” Metsoja admitted. “Today’s meeting was first of all necessary for giving the ministers an opportunity to explain the changes planned in their area of responsibility.” In Metsoja’s opinion, harmonisation of positions is the only solution for moving forward.
Member of the National Defence Committee Johannes Kert emphasised the importance of forwarding recognised maritime surveillance pictures to NATO. He said it was necessary for NATO maritime forces so that they could react in our defence. “The current situation of Estonia’s maritime defence inevitably makes Estonia the weakest link in the NATO chain,” Kert explained. “As we are not able to send recognised maritime surveillance pictures to NATO today, NATO cannot timely react in our defence. The defencelessness of the West Estonian islands is a problem also to other Baltic and Baltic Sea member states of NATO and the European Union.”
Kert pointed out that it was necessary to end wasting of maritime resources and unite performance of the functions of the state at sea into one navy. “The most effective opportunity would be to unite maritime agencies under the composition of the navy with the resources and means they use today, optimise the use and development of capabilities under one leadership,” Kert said, and added that this was generally done in the NATO countries.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme and representatives of the Ministry of Defence and the Government Office gave explanations to the Committee. Referring to the discussion in the Security Committee of the Government of the Republic, the Prime Minister said that the Government considered it important to ensure the maritime security and safety of the country. The budget strategy for 2021–2024 provides for allocating additional resources for capability development in the areas of government of both the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence. It is planned to develop a common organisational management organisation by 2022, which would ensure more effective use of the ships and other resources of the Defence Forces, the Police and Border Guard Board and the Maritime Administration for national defence purposes. It also means that in the future there will be compatible communications systems, common trainings and joint exercises.
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