Foreign ministers of Baltic states, Poland discuss opening of borders to third countries

  • 2020-06-15
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - During a meeting in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on Monday, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland discussed the conditions for opening of the borders of the European Union to third countries.

They also talked about means for post-crisis recovery of the economy, regional relations and security, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. 

"In the European Union, we must set forth specific conditions based on which we will start to allow residents of third countries to travel to us again," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas  Reinsalu said. "We must keep an eye both on the epidemiological situation in the country where the person comes from, as well as the health condition of the specific passenger," Reinsalu said.

"Economic cooperation on the regional level and on the level of the EU must be continued and advanced in different directions, including with the aim of supporting the single market," Reinsalu said, adding that globally, cooperation must be continued to keep international trade and transport routes open and flexible in order to keep to a minimum the already immense setback for our countries' economies.

"Intense regional cooperation is important also from the viewpoint of security. Common positions in NATO are necessary for the security of the whole region," Reinsalu added. 

Reinsalu said that in Estonia we have seen how digital society and platforms are vitally important in these times.

"E-services have enabled many services and intense exchange of information to continue. Also on the level of the European Union, we must do much more -- we must have e-signatures that really work across the entire European Union in order for citizens and businesses to benefit from this," Reinsalu said.

Reinsalu invited interested countries to take part in a video conference to be staged by Estonia and Singapore on July 1, where the importance of digital transformation will be discussed in all its aspects.

"Particular attention should be paid to strengthening the digital aspects of international development cooperation policy. Addressing the long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis requires directing the focus of international cooperation to the implementation of digital transformation and the application of digital services. The greatest attention should be paid to the most vulnerable societies to avoid further expansion of the digital gap," he said. 

After the meeting, the ministers laid wreaths in memory of the victims of the June 1941 Soviet deportations at the monument to the victims of the Soviet occupation in Vilnius.