According to the Estonian Ministry of the Interior, building the infrastructure and surveillance system of the border between Estonia and Russia is set to cost around EUR 250.3 million over the course of 11 years, with additional maintenance costs of EUR 70 million to be needed down to 2026.
At present the available resources to cover the building and maintenance costs of Estonia’s eastern border with the Russian Federation total EUR 96.8 million. According to estimates, the required sum stands at EUR 320.3 million.
The EUR 223.5 million shortfall, according to the Ministry of the Interior’s calculations, should be included in the special-purpose reserve of the Ministry of Finance, earmarked for the aegis of the Ministry of the Interior.
The forecast need of the border’s maintenance costs total EUR 70 million for the period until 2026, which is EUR 15.2 million more than previously predicted.
From 2027 onward, the annual maintenance costs are to total EUR 15-16 million. The costs planned for the Finance Ministry’s special purpose reserve down to 2026 total EUR 25.8 million, which means that an additional EUR 44.2 million should be added to the reserve to meet the EUR 70 million maintenance figure.
According to experts, the eastern border costs EUR 188-194 million at 2017 prices, about the same figure as forecast in February.
However, the rise in construction prices and the extended construction period could raise the cost by about EUR 62 million. It has to be also taken into account that the final price of the project would come as a result of construction procurements.
The Ministry of the Interior is set to propose to the government approval of the construction and maintenance funding of the eastern border in full, as well as to consider it a strategic investment necessity for Estonia, and furthermore to consider it a priority when forming the government’s position during the EU 2021-2028 budgetary period.
In February the Interior Ministry proposed postponing the end date of constructing the border to 2026, which would enable the division of construction costs more evenly throughout the intervening time.
The present-day border infrastructure between Estonia and Russia was intended to be finalized in 2018-2019 at the latest, but at present only 3.5 km of test sections of the 136 km border are actually ready. Last year the entire eastern land border was physically marked. (ERR/Business World Magazine)