Baltic states agree to lift border restrictions gradually

Baltic states open borders

The premiers of 3 Baltic nations had a discussion on lifting internal border controls due to COVID-19. An agreement on the coordinated lifting of travel restrictions has been reached. The 3 countries involved were Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

Over a video conference on 29th April 2020, the foreign ministers of Baltic countries agreed on an exit strategy. It was developed for the COVID emergency situation. They were equivocal on the need for a well-coordinated solution. This will be to gradually lift internal border restrictions. They also showed the willingness to resume cross-border passenger traffic.

Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs affirmed that information on the lifting of restrictive measures must be exchanged regularly between the Baltic States. This will be a key practice that will help overcome the crisis with perfect coordination.

The consular services of the Baltic States in organizing repatriation trips were praised at the meeting. They commemorated the provision of opportunities for the transit of citizens to their country of residence.

A call for finding the right time to begin reducing the restrictions of movement at the borders mutually was made by Estonia’s PM, Jüri Ratas.

The decision of the Baltic nations has great significance. Discussions on the same lines were conducted between the Schengen States earlier.

The Interior Ministers of European Union’s member nations had shared experiences, opinions and best practices to combat COVID-19 in a meeting already. They also reflected on the pros and cons of combined efforts of the member states in such an unprecedented situation.

The Ministers then agreed that the borders could be opened gradually. The process will begin with border areas that have witnessed a drop in COVID-19 cases.

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Anshul Singhal

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