The Government approved a draft Act today, which provides the option to begin restricting the validity and issuance of permits and licenses to individuals dodging their national defence obligation.
The Defence Forces and the Defence Resources Agency will be able to begin requesting that courts suspend an individual’s right to drive, their right to navigate recreational craft and personal watercraft, their weapons permit, acquisition permit, fishing card and hunting right, or the issuance thereof. In each specific case, the final decision will be made by an administrative court.
The application of restrictive measures will be requested in a case where an individual continues to dodge the performance of their national defence obligation, regardless of the warnings issued and repeated conscript notices sent.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik stated that the goal of the draft Act is to reduce the number of individuals evading their national defence obligation, in order that national defence priorities are met.
‘In a small country such as Estonia, the reserve army plays a critical role, and failure to fulfil one’s national defence obligation is not a laughing matter. It is an obligation, the fulfilment of which must be taken seriously,’ said Luik.
When applying the new measures, the Ministry of Defence followed the experience of Finland, where the issuance of travel documents is restricted in the case of persons liable to national defence obligation who refuse to enter conscript or alternative service. In Finland, draft dodgers are punished with imprisonment or house arrest.
Last year, 17% of the individuals sent a call-up notice by a medical committee failed to appear before that committee. Due to a failure to appear before the medical committee, the Defence Resources Agency issued 1031 penalty payment claims to 710 individuals, of which only 78 later appeared before the medical committee.
In 2017, 3396 individuals began completing compulsory conscript service, of which 34 were women. A total of 244 call-up selectees failed to appear for conscript service.
In 2017, 2768 reservists completed conscript service and were assigned wartime posts. A total of 632 conscripts were released prematurely from service, with 603 being released due to the state of their health.
In 2017 the plan was to invite 3461 reservists to participate in reservist trainings, with the possibility for 400 volunteers to take part. Nearly 70% of the planned participants took part in the reservist training, in addition to 316 volunteers. A total of 22% of invitations to participate in reservist training failed to reach addressees, and 20% of those invited failed to report to reservist training.
A report on the performance of the national defence obligation and organisation of military service in 2017 in Estonian can be found at here.
Further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Minister of Defence met in Lisbon with the Minister of Defence of Portugal, José Azeredo Lopes, to discuss the NATO summit, scheduled for July, and topics relating to bilateral defence cooperation.
Defence Ministers Luik and Azeredo spoke about developing bilateral cooperation between Estonia and Portugal in the field of cyber defence and highlighted the need for joint EU-NATO cyber defence training exercises.
‘Estonia and Portugal share a common understanding on the growing importance of cyber defence. I am pleased that Portugal will soon be joining the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, in Tallinn,’ said Jüri Luik.
At the meeting, the ministers agreed that NATO must pay attention to threats from all directions.
‘Portugal is contributing to restraining the threats to NATO with an Army unit in Lithuania and participating in the Baltic air policing mission. ‘Estonia is raising its contribution to fighting threats from the south, planning to participate in the missions to Mali and Afghanistan,' added Luik.
During their meeting, the ministers of defence cited the importance of cooperation between the European Union and NATO in improving military mobility between Member States.
During his visit to Portugal, Minister of Defence Luik also visited NATO’s Naval Striking and Support Forces Headquarters, in Lisbon, the Portuguese Defence Industry Association, and met with members of the Portuguese Parliament's National Defence Committee.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik spoke in the United States at the RAND Corporation think tank about the military defence of the Baltic Republics.
Focusing on the role of the Allies, Luik cited three main factors. These are conflict prevention through deterrence, an immediate military response in the case of an attack, and, if necessary, the rapid provision of additional forces and supplies.
At the RAND Corporation, the Minister of Defence emphasised that one of the most important things, alongside deterrence and conflict prevention, is the rapid provision of additional forces and supplies, which must also be practiced during training exercises. This means, in addition to military resources and the presence of allies, a greater need and readiness to reposition NATO units and supplies based on need.
The think-tank is known for its reports regarding the defence of the Baltic Republics. The RAND Corporation has performed several analyses in which the independent defence capability of Estonia and the other Baltic Republics has been assessed, along with the readiness of allies to support us militarily.
‘Our assessments may differ in places, but the RAND Corporation has performed very important work when it comes to assessing the resources that are being used and that are required for the defence of Estonia,' said Luik.
Minister of Defence Luik ended his visit to the United States, during which he met with James Mattis, his U.S. counterpart.