At their joint sitting today, the National Defence Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the protection of population. In the opinion of the committees, the state has to allocate significantly more resources to the protection of population and to speed up the activities of the Population Protection Task Force.
Chairman of the National Defence Committee Marko Mihkelson considered the establishing of the Population Protection Task Force and the preparation of action plans proceeding from today’s risk assessments a positive development. He also expressed regrets that the Government has not yet allocated sufficient resources for such an important area.
Mihkelson in principle does not think it is right that the activities of the task force are financed from the European Union funds, and the government of Estonia has not allocated money for the preparation of an elementary action plan. He emphasised that the state budget strategy which is being prepared also had to take into account the protection of population.
Mihkelson considered the planned two-year term of activity too long. “We have not been given two years for thinking. The answers will have to come quicker, and the state will have to contribute significantly more resources to it,” Mihkelson said. He added that even now much could be done to increase awareness on how to behave in crisis situations, both within the framework of civic and national defence education, and voluntary national defence through the Estonian Defence League.
Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee Heljo Pikhof emphasised that it was very important to inform people on how they should behave in various crisis situations and to see that these instructions would not remain on paper only.
Population protection is a part of broad-based national defence. Its purpose is to ensure the protection of population in any crisis situation. Head of the Population Protection Task Force at the Strategy Unit of the Government Office Margo Klaos and Deputy Secretary General for Rescue Policy and Crisis Management at the Ministry of the Interior Hannes Kont gave an overview of the work of the Population Protection Task Force at the joint meeting of the National Defence Committee and Legal Affairs Committee.