Estonian officials not expecting new Europe-wide travel restrictions ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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European-wide restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus are not expected to be implemented in the near future despite an increase in infection rates across member states, Estonian officials believe.

Across Europe, the map of coronavirus restrictions is becoming more and more complicated and are different in every country. In general, 16 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants as an average of the last 14 days is the limit for countries not to impose restrictions on travelers. However, Finland has set a much lower theshold at eight and other countries have their own rules. There is also no unified position on wearing masks.

This raises the question of whether a maze of rules is inevitable in the coming years across the European Union.

Keit Kasemets, head of the European Commission Representation in Estonia, told ETV's "Akuaalne kaamera" (AK) on Monday that in his opinion not all restrictions would return.

"It is certainly not the case that Europe now has either mask-wearing rules or social distancing rules. As far as the various travel restrictions are concerned, the role of the European Union is, firstly, to ensure that the internal market works and that the borders are as open as they are today," he said.

According to Kasemets, the role of the European Union is to maintain green transport corridors, ensure safety for air customers, but also ensure the readiness of the health care system. "Today's big push by the European Union is to get a vaccine together," he said.

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) also does not predict new rules which would apply to all member states.

"Countries have their sovereign right to do so. Understandably, countries have different views on their public health experts; different views on which types of measures are more effective and which are not," Reinsalu told AK.

However, he said the harmonization of rules may be successful in the future, at least in neighboring countries.

"As far as the general rules of movement are concerned, a positive example of how we built the Baltic bubble is given throughout Europe. I have also called on Finland to harmonize its rules in a similar way," Reinsalu added.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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