Security Policy: Election Horse or Consensus?
Representatives of all the factions in the Riigikogu took part in the November panel of the Riigikogu Toimetised to discuss whether there was a need to reach a consensus in security issues before the upcoming parliamentary elections. Mati Raidma represented the Reform Party, Urmas Reinsalu – the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union, Enn Eesmaa – the Centre Party, and Marianne Mikko – the Social Democratic Party. They were interviewed by Mart Raudsaar, the Editor-in-Chief of the Riigikogu Toimetised. The theses of the panelists are briefly summarised below.
As far as the national security is concerned, the government has laid out a ten year plan. Here we have an opportunity to shape a consensus between the political parties. We should concentrate on integrated national security capacities. I think that it is vital for the Riigikogu to proceed and to pass a National Defence Act that lays out the new principle of broad national defence. Every Estonian resident can contribute to the national defence according to their abilities.
A consensus already exists on that defence expenditure must form two per cent of the GDP; secondly, the principle of a reserve army is also based on a consensus; thirdly, there is consensus on the existence of the Defence League as one of the components of the national defence, as well as on developing professional defence forces and on efficient contribution to foreign missions. Concerning the ten year plan, it is important to discuss whether Estonia should achieve certain capacities earlier. We must deal with issues of information war.
Consensus on maintaining national interests and the national security is elementary. In security issues, it would not be wise to bring everything we know into our election campaigns. We should not be obsessed with our opponents and their strengths. Instead, we should work on developing our capacities and harmonise these with our allies. The percentage of women in voluntary military service should be increased to around ten per cent. Cyber security is an important issue.
All larger political factions in Estonia have reached a fairly gratifying consensus in foreign and security policy issues during the period between the elections. It would be important for parties to achieve consensus in these issues after the elections as well, regardless of their status as part of the government or the opposition. Cyber security is a very important issue and the relevant activities should be amply funded. I would also invest in a local level Russian language media that can tell the local audience about local events.