Editorial: sensing security

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Photo: Urmas Nemvalts

Does the (eastern) border hold? was the question publicly raised by security police officer Eston Kohver hauled away over it. Controversially perhaps, the event – in all likelihood a special operation by Russia – may not reflect what the people now feel. But though the Kohver case in itself was no proof on tightness of border, it did unearth the tight spots: for years, the border and its protection have ceased to be priority enough, and now need added care and money. 

Painting a picture: perhaps like an old orchard, Estonian border has thus far yielded its crops. At a closer look, though, the trees aren’t doing good – some are pest ridden, water shoots weaken the others. Obviously, this isn’t sustainable and in case of further inactivity the apples may cease to come. And then repellents and cuttings will no longer do. Then, it’s going to be real bad.

Sufficiently trusted, Estonia’s Eastern border let us into NATO, EU, and the Schengen visa area. On paper, the trust still remains. According to Uku Särekanno, six years into migration and border guard issued in Estonia’s EU representation and basing his claim on European border agency statistics and Schengen assessment reports, says the Estonian section is among the securest in Europe. Indeed, in 21st century, no stone walls are needed along boundary lines, nor a guard at every metre – to monitor what’s happening and to effectively detect violations, what is needed is wise approach and high-tech.

Even so, no expert will deny the border needs enhanced attention and it would be absurd to hide behind border-treaty with Russia still not ratified. If brush, insufficient marking, and scarcity of tools are hindering border guards in their daily work, and if the risk analysis of some sections is outdated or insufficient, this just serves the ones seeking an opportunity. These past few days, politicians have taken to hurling accusations, instead of agreeing to admit: extra money for borders is a must and it simply needs to be found – this goes without saying, should we want to feel safe in our own country.

Not sufficient for the border to hold, the people need to feel so. Without any doubt, in domestic security this is a key requirement. And if the faith is wavering in the tightness of the border, for any reason, people need the sense of security restored – even if there’s no major cause for panic. From time to time, it would do us no harm to recall it’s also about European Union and the Schengen Area folks feeling secure...