4 Aug 2022 16:46

Estonian govt to focus on state security, energy crisis, transition to Estonian-language instruction - action program

TALLINN. Aug 4 (Interfax) - The new Estonian government endorsed an action program for 2022-2023 at a meeting on Thursday, which identifies the state's security, a transition to instruction in the Estonian language, and the energy crisis as the top national priorities.

"The three most important objectives for this government are to ensure the Estonian state's security, transition to instruction in the Estonian language, and to take measures to control the energy crisis and help our people weather price hikes," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who also led the previous Cabinet, said on Thursday.

The program envisions that a plan for switching to Estonian-language instruction should be finalized in August. Relevant amendments to the law must be ready in September. The government shall increase financing of the higher education sector and plans to sign administrative contracts with universities in October, she said.

The Estonian defense minister is supposed to submit proposals to the government on enhancing air defenses and missile defenses, sheltered fire defense positions, and ground defenses later in August.

Proposals on enhancing the capability of the defense alliance and proposals on building a Narva outpost on the border with Russia, where an eastern border guard command center will be located, must be submitted by September.

A plan for ensuring the cybersecurity of government digital services and information systems must be completed in November.

Estonia's participation in NATO's innovation fund has to be launched by January 2023. A military part of the national defense development plan for 2022-2031 is supposed to be updated by January 2023. Agreements on the additional deployment of Estonia's key allies on its territory should be achieved by February 2023.

An action plan for assisting Ukraine and supporting its aspirations to become part of the European Union is to be completed by September.

Amendments to the legislation on the organization of energy saving measures are supposed to be drawn up and adopted by October, so that Estonia be able to produce the amount of renewable electric energy equal to its general annual consumption in 2030.

The new government started work on July 18, after the breakup of the previous coalition made up of the Reform Party and the Center Party. The new three-party coalition is comprised of the Reform Party, the Isamaa (Fatherland) party, and the Social Democratic Party, holding in aggregate 55 of the 101 parliamentary mandates.