The Estonian Ministry of Defence has introduced new amendments to the Weapons Act in order to grant the country’s defence industry the right to produce and manage military weapons and ammunition.
Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik said that the amendments aim to allow the country’s defence companies to manufacture, transport, store, repair, and demilitarise weapons, ammunition, and ordnance.
Luik said: “The absence of a right to handle weapons and ammunition presents an obstacle to our defence industry undertakings and the broader economy.
“This is a critical change to the development of Estonia’s defence industry and the field of defence.”
Last year, the country invested a total of €233.7m for information technology (IT) and infrastructure developments in defence, as well as acquiring several defence-related goods and services.
In addition to the new amendments, the defence ministry has decided to issue operating licences only to companies that are registered and carry out business in Estonia.
Entrepreneurs, owners, managers, and employees related to the domestic defence industry will be required to pass a background check.
Luik added: “This is necessary to ensure that the manufacturing of military weapons in Estonia does not fall into the hands of untrustworthy people.”
Currently, the amendments to the Weapons Act are in the legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu, the unicameral parliament of Estonia.
The amendments are expected to come into force on 1 July.