Economic security

The foundation of every state and for guaranteeing the welfare of its residents is innovative, contemporary, strong and competitive economy.

The progress of Estonian entrepreneurs and scientists in developing and implementing innovative technologies generates a growing interest in foreign enterprises operating in the same field of marketing as well as in special services. Procuring information on scientific achievements, new technologies, innovative solutions related to different research but even on business ideas etc. enables to implement them without major costs. There is the attempt to strengthen the economy of a state through economic intelligence and industrial espionage. The enterprise chosen as a target of intelligence activities may suffer resultant economic loss even to the point of liquidation. From the perspective of a state and especially a small state, the damage inflicted on an enterprise means a loss for the whole state - unpaid taxes, expenses increase in the social sphere, the economy of the entire state weakens.

Therefore economic security constitutes one of the most important components of national security. The world today requires that the state, enterprises and citizens would pay far more attention to the issues related to economic security.

The Estonian Internal Security Service as a security authority has a crucial role in guaranteeing economic security of Estonia - the state has granted us the responsibility to prevent foreign economic intelligence and industrial espionage, including foreign influence activities carried out through economic institutions; also anti corruption combat.

As regards the prevention of economic intelligence and industrial espionage, the primary interest of foreign special services has been noted in issues related to the energy sector. Energy security is the backbone of a state. In the case of an independent state the keywords of energy security are the security, independence and variety of energy supplies, investments and objects of high importance. It all requires coordinated cooperation between different state agencies, government invested enterprises but also private enterprises as well as the priority of security aspect in working out and realizing essential action plans and long-term strategies.

The financial security of Estonia is linked to the efficient tax system of the state and stable receipt of taxes. Functioning of the banking system and investments as well as ensuring state control mechanisms and prevention of offences are also related to financial security. The area of activity of the Internal Security Service (KAPO) covers also suppression of activities which might have a direct negative impact both on national security and international reputation. Hereby the keywords are protection of state secrets and prevention of inexpedient use of state assets and budgetary funds.

Industrial espionage is classified under intelligence activities and the role of KAPO is to suppress any foreign intelligence activity on the territory of Estonia.

Ensuring economic security does not only consist in counterintelligence. Independence of national decision-making mechanism from the influence activities of persons connected with foreign capital is very important. In this regard it is sometimes rather difficult to ascertain whether one acts in the interests of a company, a state or simultaneously in the interests of both. Considering Estonia's rather small size economy, more attention should be drawn to capital consolidation. A foreign business partner of today who gains too big share in some important public sector might start influencing the domestic and foreign policy of the state in the coming years. The occasions are not rare when one attempts to use the influence as barter trade for gaining business favours in his/her own country.

A significant factor in influencing the economic competitiveness of a state is international and domestic reliability on its economic and financial policy. It presumes the reliability of state agencies and low-level corruption. It is evident that the more corrupt the state, the fewer chances there are to obtain investments necessary for fostering entrepreneurship.

More detailed explanations on the prevention of corruption are available here.