At its sittings yesterday and today, the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) discussed the National Defence Bill with the stakeholders and relevant agencies. The Bill aims to establish a uniform and comprehensive framework for preparation for and resolution of crisis situations.
Chairman of the National Defence Committee Andres Metsoja pointed out that the Bill was very extensive, covering practically the whole society, and therefore the Committee decided to engage as many interest groups as possible in the proceedings on the Bill.
“In two days, we have heard the positions of different agencies and organisations, and I can assure you that the discussion has been very constructive and we have reached consensus on proceeding with the Bill,” Metsoja said.
Deputy Chairman of the Committee Kalle Laanet explained that the National Defence Bill would establish the legal framework that ensured the security of the state and constitutional order during a crisis or in defence situations. “Today we discussed mainly how leadership should be built up in crisis or defence situations, so that vital services would not be interrupted,” Laanet said. “The obligations proceeding from law do not apply only to the Defence Forces, but extend to all state authorities. All agencies have clear roles, and this requires sound management.”
The National Defence Committee proposed the Ministry of Defence to prepare a model for resolving of defence situations.
According to the Bill, Estonia relies on comprehensive national defence under which representatives of both the national defence sector and the civil sector contribute to the national defence according to their competence to manage possible non-military and military security threats.
Pursuant to the Bill, in order to resolve a defence situation or to protect public order, the state may need to take into use or expropriate objects held by the civil sector or to impose one-off work obligations on persons and to involve them in law enforcement.
During the two days of discussions, the representatives of the Office of the President of the Republic, the Government Office, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the Defence Forces, the National Audit Office, Bank of Estonia, the Estonian Reserve Officers’ Association, the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities, the Union of Electricity Industry of Estonia, the Estonian Security Association, the Estonian Water Works Association and the Estonian Defence Industry Association participated in the sittings of the National Defence Committee.
Motions to amend the National Defence Bill (112 SE) can be submitted until 26 February.
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