Finnish premier: We're working on lifting entry restrictions

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Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Finland is engaged in the preparatory work of easing its border restrictions, that country's prime minister, Sanna Marin, said Friday. Responding to an open letter from her Estonian counterpart, Kaja Kallas, which appeared in the Finnish media and which criticized the ongoing restrictions which effectively bar commuting by sea between the two states, Marin said that the easing of restrictions would happen steadily, in line with falling coronavirus infection rates.

Marin told Finnish daily Ilta-Sanomat (link in Finnish) said that a distinction between entry into Finland by air, for work purposes, which since last week has carried with it no quarantine requirement, and arriving by sea, which does, related to the much larger potential volume of passengers in the latter case.

Managing testing was easier with air travel as well, she said.

A cabinet meeting next week will look at a proposal, currently being prepared, aimed at permitting safe travel both through Finland's maritime borders – including with Estonia – and its land borders, or at least those with Sweden and Norway.

Sweden is also subject to the same restrictions imposed by Finland as Estonia is.

An open letter authored by Kaja Kallas appeared on the website of Helsingin Sanomat, a rival publication to Ilta-Sanomat, which appealed the ongoing Finnish border regime on primarily humanitarian grounds.

The original Ilta-Sanomat article (in Finnish) is here.

Estonian prime minister: Estonia-Finland relations will suffer if issue not resolved soon

Later in the day, Kaja Kallas (Reform), Estonia's prime minister, told Finnish public broadcaster YLE that she would believe Marin's promises when she saw concrete evidence of a decision being made.

"Various promises have been made, but no promise or date has remained in place," Kallas told YLE, BNS reports.

"As this hope has been given in the past, I will not believe it until these decisions are confirmed," the Estonian prime minister went on.

Kallas added that she believes that if the situation continues as it is, relations between Estonia and Finland will also suffer.

In her open letter published by Helsingin Sanomat, Kallas also made veiled threats relating to the continued through-flow of truck-delivered goods transiting via Estonia for a seaborne onward journey to Finland. These routes have been kept working throughout all stages of the pandemic since it began in March 2020.

This article was updated to include Kaja Kallas' comments to YLE.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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