Reinsalu hopes Poland will join free movement area of Baltic countries

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu. Source: Valitsuse kommunikatsioonibüroo

Foreign affairs minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), hopes that at a meeting on Tuesday, June 2 with the foreign ministers of Baltic countries and Poland, an agreement regarding opening the Polish border after the coronavirus crisis will be reached.

The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are discussing exiting the coronavirus crisis with their Polish colleague, Jacek Czaputowicz. Urmas Reinsalu noted his hope before the meeting that Poland will be ready to open the border for travel.

When Estonia and Latvia opened their borders, Lithuania´s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis proposed that Poland should join with the traveling region. Reinsalu said that the subject will definitely be discussed on June 2.

"Definitely because Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have decided that we are offering entry without the quarantine requirement, and it would be positive if Poland answered with the same response," Reinsalu said.

Reinsalu added that Poland has established general restrictions, but not especially against the Baltic countries. In his opinion, it would be reasonable to discuss it.

"It is definitely positive if people get to travel inside the Schengen area soon, including Poland. Iif we look at the map, Poland is important for our people as a transit corridor," he noted.

From this week, Finns are able to travel freely to Estonia. Reinsalu hopes that Estonian tourists will be able to travel to Finland soon, as well.

"Our interest is that Finland removes its restrictions. This has been my unambiguous message to my Finnish colleague. Of course, Finland will look at their decision taking into account all nordic countries, including Sweden, but I think that there are no objective reasons why Finland couldn´t make decisions in the same way that Estonia did," Reinsalu said.

Currently, the Baltic countries' agreement allows Finnish people to come to Estonia to travel to Latvia and Lithuania as well. If Poland announces the readiness to open the border, then the Finnish would be able to go there as well.

The same movement could work the other way around. Reinsalu doesn't think that this could make Finland postpone opening its border, because the situation with the number of infections in Poland is quite similar to the situation in Finland and the Baltic countries. Reinsalu says it is very important that the countries named have given honest information about their situation with the virus.

"Across Europe, there's a starting point that all countries forward their data objectively. Hiding would be silly, and it hasn´t been noticed. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania proceed from the fact that we have objective data, and based on the data, we make the decisions regarding the need for quarantine. Secondly, we are implementing trust methods. I believe that soon we will find a solution for Poland and Finland that wouldn't cause the spread of the virus, because nobody is interested in that," Reinsalu said.

Currently, the EU has decided that until June 15, the Schengen area is closed for tourists. The foreign ministers of the Baltic countries and Poland are to discuss at the meeting what will happen next.

"I think that on June 15, a real 'cattle' day can happen inside Schengen. Some countries can definitely retain their differences, but a certain step will be taken back. The most difficult question which we will discuss in the coming days is that what will happen outside of Schengen. We have a clear position that behind our border, there´s an epicenter of the virus when we look at Belarus or Russia," Reinsalu said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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