Free movement between Baltic states to be restored Friday ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Border crossing point at Estonian-Latvian border.
Border crossing point at Estonian-Latvian border. Source: Verner Vilgas/ERR

The Estonian government has approved as a session resolution a memorandum of mutual understanding between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on the lifting of restrictions of movement on road, rail, air and maritime transport between the Baltic countries as of this Friday, May 15.

Pursuant to a May 8 government decision, free movement between the three Baltic states will be restored on Friday for residents of and people legally staying in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on condition that they do not exhibit any symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to a government press release.

As of Friday, temporarily restored border controls and guarding of the Estonian-Latvian border will also cease, and those arriving from Latvia and Lithuania will no longer be subject to 14 days of self-isolation unless they arrived from outside of the Baltics.

The memorandum of mutual understanding approved by the government on Tuesday provides the general framework for mutual cooperation and the trilateral lifting of restrictions on movement that were established due to the coronavirus crisis.

Cooperation between the three Baltic states on easing border crossing-related restrictions was initiated by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), Latvian Prime Minister  Krisjanis Karins and Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis at a video meeting on April 22. On May 6, the three prime ministers decided to mutually reopen their borders on May 15.

A cabinet meeting supported the proposal to lift restrictions on movement between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on May 15, provided that people arriving in the Baltic countries from outside countries continue to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, and that the three countries' respective law enforcement authorities ensure the relevant necessary exchange of information.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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