Meeting with the professional members of the Estonian Defence Forces at the Scouts Battalion today, Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu affirmed that the Veterans Policy, about to be completed, will provide them with the support of the Estonian state.
“You, who are prepared to fight for Estonia whilst risking your lives, are the main target group for the Veterans Policy. The policy has one message: your contribution is extremely valuable to society, and the state shall stand by you always,” said Reinsalu.
In the estimation of the Minister of Defence, the Veterans Policy will see the creation of several measures to support members of the Estonian Defence Forces before, during and after a mission. A great deal of attention will be devoted to the post-mission adjustment of all members of the Defence Forces. For instance, the Defence Forces will begin to grant soldiers periods of recovery and relaxation during which those recently returned from a mission will go to health centres to rest up.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces will be providing more extensive support for the in-service training and retraining of wounded members of the Defence Forces. If a wounded member of the Defence Forces wishes to acquire an education or embark on a new career within the Defence Forces or in civil life, the Defence Forces will defray the cost of his/her training.
The Veterans Policy, due for completion, also foresees an important role for increased support and recognition by society. To this end, the Veterans Policy includes plans to start the observation of a Veterans Day, organise charity events and erect a public memorial to soldiers fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even though the priority of the Veterans Policy will be the preservation of the link of those wounded to the Defence Forces, the policy will provide them with ways to embark on new careers post-service. Veterans will be able to receive additional funding and counselling services and to undergo entrepreneurship training.
The Minister of Defence will continue to disseminate information about the Veterans Policy to its main target groups: wounded members of the Defence Forces, soldiers having participated in missions abroad, and their families. The Veterans Policy will be unveiled on a broader scale, once it has been completed, in November.
The policy, nearing its completion, treats as Estonian veterans both members of the Defence Forces wounded in the line of duty in Estonia during peacetime and those having participated in missions abroad. The policy will consolidate activities related to all veterans and wounded members of the Defence Forces, provide options for increasing state support, and address weaknesses that have become evident so far.
Minister of Defence presents Veterans Policy to soldiers