On Monday, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal by the Ministry of the Interior to install a physical barrier on the border with Belarus. The length of the barrier shall be 508 kilometres, and it is expected to be completed in 2022. Further, EPSO-G, a group of companies managed by the Ministry of Energy, is decided to be the Contractor for the Project by the Cabinet.
“A physical barrier is vital to resist the hybrid attack that the Belarusian regime is carrying against Lithuania and the EU as a whole. The company with experience in projects of this scale has been chosen to manage and implement this facility of national importance. Transparency and speed are the main priorities for the installation of the physical barrier,” emphasised Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė.
The overall height of the protective fence is planned to be at least three metres, made of metal and resistant to weathering, and part of it is to be embedded in the ground. The preliminary cost of the Project is EUR 152 million.
In order to make the work as transparent as possible, a Project Supervisory Commission will be set up by a Government Resolution. The Commission will be chaired by the Prime Minister and will be composed of members of the Government, members of the Committee on Budget and Finance of the Seimas, the Commander of the State Border Guard Service (VSAT), and the Head of the State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate. Independent experts may also be invited if needed. The Commission will monitor all the processes involved in implementing the Project and make proposals for decisions.
The physical barrier project has been identified as a project of particular national importance and, with a view to implementing the project as soon as possible, priority will be given to work on the Project, and the ministries and other institutions involved will be required to deal with the Project on an emergency basis.
The Government Resolution adopted on Monday stipulates that EPSO-G will be responsible for organising and coordinating the works necessary for the implementation of the Project, for cooperating with VSAT in deciding on the most appropriate ways to implement the Project, for drafting the documents necessary for the execution of the works, and for the procurement and execution of the contracts with the contractors.
EPSO-G is prepared and has the necessary resources to carry out the Project and the experience in installing complex infrastructures, and the capacity to manage the risks associated with this type of project.
On 2 July, Lithuania declared a state-level emergency due to an influx of migrants. More than 4,000 migrants have crossed the border between Lithuania and Belarus illegally this year.