Poland did not agree to reopen borders at foreign ministers' meeting

Meeting between Baltic countries foreign ministers and the foreign minister of Poland.
Meeting between Baltic countries foreign ministers and the foreign minister of Poland. Source: Välisministeerium / Marko Mumm

The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were not able to achieve an agreement with their Polish counterpart on the opening of that country's borders, though the Polish foreign minister still gave signals that a decision can come in the coming weeks.

"For Poland, the way that the Baltic countries have opened their borders for their citizens is inspiring but the scale of our problems is different," Poland's Foreign Minister, Jacek Czaputowicz said at the press conference after the private meeting between the ministers.

Czaputowicz referred to the neighboring countries (for Poland) of Germany and the Czech Republic, whose borders are crossed by tens of thousands of people every day. Czaputowicz emphasized that Poland allows entry for EU citizens who come to his country for work. He noted that the trend in Germany regarding the number of infections is a little higher than in Poland.

However, when talking about opening the borders for tourists, the Polish foreign minister said that the decision could be made next week or after that. "I hope that in the coming weeks, we can remove the restrictions for tourists," the minister added.

When Poland closed its borders in mid-March as the pandemic spread, hundreds of Estonian citizens and residents found themselves unable to get home by road, with many trapped for hours. Special ships were laid on to transport them home, including a ship laid on by Estonian line Tallink.

At the meeting, Estonia's Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), and his Latvian and Lithuanian opposite numbers Edgars Rinkevics and Linas Linkevicius, discussed security and the economy, the EU's new budget and the proposal of the recovery funding and connections between the countries, with Czaputowicz.

The Polish minister confirmed that Rail Baltic, Via Baltica, and electricity interconnections with the Baltic countries are important for Poland.

Edgars Rinkevics announced at the press conference that Latvia had decided to contribute €20 million to the investment fund of the three seas nations - referring to those with shorelines, or near to, the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas. Reinsalu said that the contributions of eastern European countries are important for the U.S. to sum a promised $1 billion for the organization. The Estonian government has decided (link in Estonian) to pledge €20 million to the fund.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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