The Riigikogu discussed the updated national security concept
Two draft Resolutions passed the first reading.
According to the Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of “The National Security Concept of Estonia”” (775 OE), submitted by the Government, the updated national security concept will be approved. It describes the security environment as at the beginning of 2023, clarifies Estonia’s objectives in the increasingly tense security environment and describes the activities necessary to achieve the objectives.
The Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that the objective of Estonia was and had always been to make aggression against the Estonian state impossible. “However, we are now doing much more on our own and with our allies to ensure our security,” Kallas noted. She explained that Estonia had raised its defence spending to a historically high level. The defence spending of Estonia in 2023 will exceed one billion euros with 2.85 per cent of GDP. In 2022, we allocated an additional more than 1.2 billion euros to military defence.
The new national security concept points out that the greatest strategical challenge of the current security environment is the intensified confrontation between various political, economic and social systems. The value space based on democracy, market economy, rule of law and human rights is under pressure and the ideological counterbalance to it is increasing.
The Prime Minister said that we had gone from covert competition to open confrontation, including large-scale military action in Europe. “Although Tallin and Kyiv are separated by 1,200 kilometres, our common neighbour is the aggressor. It is existentially important to Estonia that we are part of the democratic community and the democratic community stays united and strong. The past year has brought out particularly clearly that which we have always known: upholding democracy is also part of security policy. In addition, the war in Ukraine has shown – once again – that working together is the key to our strength,” Kallas said.
“One of the main changes is that we jointly point out that the biggest security threat to Estonia is the Russian Federation. The goal of the Russian Federation is to dismantle and reshape the European security architecture and the rules-based world order and to restore the policy of spheres of influence,” the Prime Minister noted.
The national security concept covers Estonia’s activities in five areas: social cohesion and national resilience, economic security and vital services, internal security and public order, military defence, and international activities. Among other things, the base document prescribes defence spending at the level of at least three per cent of GDP, to which the funding of the expenses of Estonia as a host country for allies will be added. According to the national security concept, in the national budget strategy, permanent funding will also be ensured to the development of civil protection.
The document is based on an updated strategic threat assessment and builds on the National Security Concept adopted in 2017.
During the debate, Leo Kunnas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Mihhail Lotman (Isamaa), Kalle Laanet (Reform Party), Jaak Juske (Social Democratic Party) and Marko Šorin (Centre Party) took the floor.
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Extension of the Time Limit for the Use of the Defence Forces in the Fulfilment of the International Commitments of the Estonian State in the International Military Operation Inherent Resolve”” (776 OE), submitted by the Government, will enable Estonia to contribute to the operation with up to 110 servicemen instead of the up to five servicemen as decided earlier.
The Government’s proposal is to start contributing to the United States-led operation on Iraqi territory this spring with a unit of the size of a reduced infantry company which would perform the tasks of a base defence and rapid reaction force. The unit would be supplemented with a national support element, staff officers and non-commissioned officers in the battalion-level headquarters in Erbil and the division-level headquarters in Baghdad of the United Kingdom-led operation. Estonia is ready to contribute additionally with a special operations force.
Estonia is wishing to increase its contribution to the operation to up to 100 servicemen until the end of 2023. However, in order to contribute additionally and flexibly in a limited amount where necessary, the draft Resolution prescribes giving a mandate for up to 110 servicemen.
The Riigikogu heard the reply to an interpellation
The Minister of Health and Labour Peep Peterson replied to the interpellation concerning the immunisation of students (No. 161), submitted by members of the Riigikogu.
During the open microphone, Mihhail Stalnuhhin and Tarmo Kruusimäe took the floor.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu.
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