Speaking on the "Otse Postimehest" webcast of daily Postimees (link in Estonian), Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said that Helsinki does not want to restrict movement between Estonia and Finland, but it will likely not start adapting special rules to Estonia either.
Kiik said: "As far as I know, closing labor migration is not being considered in either Finland or Estonia. If we talk about possible restrictions, they would primarily concern tourism."
According to Kiik, Finland is closely monitoring what is happening in neighboring countries and in Europe more broadly. "Finland is the third best country in terms of the spread of the coronavirus in the European Union and Estonia is currently in fourth place. Apart from Finland, the indicators are better in Hungary and Latvia. The reality is that Finland does not want to restrict movement between Estonia and Finland, but they will likely not be able to adapt special rules to us."
The minister said that the Finns must take into account similar criteria for everyone. "Indeed, they think this 8-10 margin is problematic. Finland has reassured me, also at a meeting on Friday, that they will have the final mechanism in place in the near future and let us know exactly how the calculation will take place.
"There is no so-called black-and-white approach that the border is closed on one side and open on the other side, but so-called confidence-building measures are also in place in between to ensure, for example, the functioning of labor migration. First, this would affect, for example, the movement of tourists," Kiik said.
Speaking about confidence-building measures, he noted that the question definitely lies in testing - whether the test was performed in the home country or on site.
The minister said: "One option certainly is to fill in a health declaration. Similarly, the purpose of the trip. Perhaps the tourist is told that now is no longer a time for free movement. While a person has, for example, family members or work responsibilities in another country, these restrictions would not arise. These mechanisms need to be put in place."
Kiik said he is quite sure that when it comes to possible restrictions, they would primarily concern tourism.
The deputy chairman of the Center Party concluded: "Of course, our goal is for tourists to also be able to move freely if the risk of infection is low enough in both countries. As far as I know, neither Finland nor Estonia is considering closing labor migration. Of course, the situation can change if the risk of infection changes significantly."
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste