On the evening of November 25, Estonian parliament concluded the first reading of the bill on the ratification of the Estonian-Russian border treaty and the treaty on the delimitation of maritime areas, informs LETA/BNS.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand said in her remarks in front of lawmakers that the text of the treaties has not changed in comparison to the text of 2014. Only the explanatory memorandum attached to the treaties has been amended – it was brought up to date by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by adding the opinion of the incumbent chancellor of justice.
The minister said she believes that concluding of the border treaties with Russia will have a positive impact on the security of Estonia, as it helps increase stability and predictability in the relations between the countries, and preclude possible misunderstandings and confusion on such an important issue as the territories of the states.
“A border that has been clearly laid down and marked is a factor that additionally ensures security,” Kaljurand said, and added that the border treaty enables to eliminate the illogicality of the border line and guard the border more effectively.
The chairman of the foreign affairs committee, Sven Mikser gave an overview of the legislative proceedings on the bill to the committtee.
Henn Polluaas, MP from the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), said that Estonia did not need the border treaty and the treaty was harmful to Estonia. He said the problem lies in sovereignty and whether Estonia wants to protect its territorial integrity. On behalf of EKRE, he moved to reject the bill in the first reading. Thirteen members of the Riigikogu voted in favor of the motion, 63 were against and one MP abstained. Hence the first reading of the bill was concluded.
Andres Herkel, of Free Party, pointed out that the treaties had great essential inadequacies and made no mention of the Tartu peace treaty. He also drew attention to the fact that Estonia was again one-sidedly ratifying the treaties and did not know how the other party would behave.
The treaties will establish the state border between Estonia and Russia, and delimit the maritime areas of Narva Bay and the Gulf of Finland between those countries.
The border set out by the agreements mostly coincides with the existing temporary control line. In comparison to the present control line, certain parcels of land will be transferred by both sides. According to the treaties, the size of the territory to be swapped on both sides of the control line will be equal on the lakes and on the mainland.
The Bill on the Ratification of the State Border Treaty between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation and the Treaty on the Delimitation of Maritime Areas of Narva Bay and the Gulf of Finland between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian Federation was initiated by the Government on October 13.
The ratification of international treaties which alter the state borders of Estonia requires a two-thirds majority of the membership of the Riigikogu.
The Act will enter into force pursuant to general procedure. The treaties will enter into force 30 days after the date of the exchange of instruments of ratification. When the treaties have entered into force, the two countries will form a demarcation committee, and the marking of the borders, during which the state border is laid down and marked off, will begin.