National defence hazards

National defence hazards are ones in the case of which the Riigikogu (parliament) may declare a state of emergency or emergency situation.

The following are hazards that pose a threat to Estonia’s constitutional order:

  • attempt to violently subvert the Estonian constitutional order;
  • terrorist activity;
  • collective pressure activities involving violence;
  • extensive conflict between groups of persons involving violence;
  • isolation by violent means of any part of the Republic of Estonia.

State of emergency

If there is a threat to the constitutional order, the Riigikogu may, at the proposal of the President of the Republic or the Government of the Republic, declare a state of emergency. A state of emergency is declared via the mass media, and the announcement must include information on the reason for and duration of the state of emergency. In addition, the Government of the Republic may, in order to eliminate a hazard to the constitutional order, establish various restrictions such as prohibiting public gatherings or establishing a curfew. All restrictions are also communicated via the mass media. Notification regarding the lifting of a state of emergency are also provided via mass media and restrictions are also cancelled with the announcement.

Emergency situation

To prevent a natural or manmade disaster or stop the spread of an infectious disease, the Government of the Republic may declare an emergency situation. An emergency situation is declared if it is not possible to eliminate danger or assist the victims without implementation of extensive measures. An emergency situation is declared using mass media and the announcement must include information on the reason for and area affected by the emergency situation. In addition, temporary obligations may be established, such as a restriction on the right of natural persons to move freely in the area of the emergency situation or obligation or to take part in rescue operations. The announcement of lifting an emergency situation is likewise published in the mass media.

A catastrophe is an event with a sudden destructive effect that poses a danger to life, health, natural or manufacturing environment and which has the following characteristics:

  • chemical, radioactive or other contamination of an area;
  • a major industrial accident, including accidents involving power plants and mines, gas pipelines, communications, utilities or power grids;
  • extensive fire or explosion;
  • extensive accident involving a ship, airplane, train or other vehicle.

Spread of infectious disease is considered to be the following:

  • an infectious disease that poses a threat to life and may spread as an epidemic, including an animal epidemic, and results in mass morbidity;
  • the importation to Estonia of a disease that is internationally controlled, may spread into an epidemic and is especially hazardous and which, in order to stop the spread of the disease, requires the implementation of extensive control measures to prevent mass morbidity.

Last amended: 29-01-2016 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of the Interior