Kallas' criticism picked up by Finnish media

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and the Finnish Ambassador Timo Kantola.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and the Finnish Ambassador Timo Kantola. Source: Stenbocki maja

All major Finnish publications covered a Friday meeting between Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and Finnish Ambassador Timo Kantola where Kallas criticized Finland's travel restrictions. The Finnish press mainly relied on ERR articles and the Estonian government's press releases.

Yle writes that the Finnish government's decision to extend entry restrictions have caused a wave of protest in Estonia. That is why PM Kallas summoned Ambassador Kantola for a conversation.

While Finland will allow workers from Estonia to travel to Finland by plane from June 7, this is meager consolation for most Estonians as the lion's share of passenger traffic between Estonia and Finland is by ferry, the Yle article reads.

Kantola told Yle that the meeting with Kallas carried a positive mood. The ambassador said that he emphasized during the meeting that it is not just about commuting between Helsinki and Tallinn for Finland, and that the country is in the process of amending public health safety and entry legislation. The Finnish government is set to unveil its new model on Wednesday.

Helsingin Sanomat writes that the European Commission criticized Finland's tough travel restrictions back in February, which fact did not go unnoticed in Estonia.

The paper also printed Kallas' reasons for why Estonia finds Finland's restrictions neither proportional nor justified, adding that details on traveling and restrictions following Midsummer Day depend on the Finnish government's Wednesday model.

Helsingin Sanomat also writes that the European Commission plans to continue negotiations with the Finnish government concerning restrictions.

Ilta-Sanomat cites an article by Suomen Kuvalehti that also includes Kallas' position and notes that the restrictions jeopardize Finnish-Estonian relations. The restrictions clashing with the Schengen agreement has also been noted.

Suomen Kuvalehti also writes that Finnish travel restrictions are increasingly criticized in the Estonian media, including their effect on the families of Estonians who commute to work in Finland, as well as tourism and Baltic Sea shipper Tallink.

Expectations were high in Estonia on Thursday when Finland decided to extend the restrictions as the epidemiological situation in Estonia has improved rapidly and the Estonian government has lifted most restrictions, the publication writes.

Travel restrictions have hit workers without a permanent place of residence in Finland the hardest, Suomen Kuvalehti writes.

Iltalehti finds that Kallas' criticism constituted a broadside aimed at Finnish restrictions. "Completely incomprehensible," is how the paper sums up the Estonian PM's position regarding the limitations.

Iltalehti writes that both the Estonian press and Riigikogu have demanded Finland ease restrictions. The paper also points to an article by head of ERR radio news Indrek Kiisler "On summoning Finland's ambassador to the carpet," in which Kiisler associates continued restrictions with looming local elections in Finland that are currently the number one topic for Finnish politicians.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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