Inter-Baltic borders might be reopened in mid-May – Lithuanian formin

  • 2020-04-29
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Inter-Baltic borders might be reopened as of the middle of May, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told BNS on Wednesday following his conversation with the Latvian and Estonian counterparts.

"Preliminary, we could imagine that happening as of May 18, but nothing has definitely been decided yet," Linkevicius said.

In his words, the epidemiological situation is similar in the Baltic countries "with certain nuances", therefore, and that potentially allows raising the issue of opening borders. Moreover, similar quarantine deadlines are set in the countries.

"It will last until May 11 in Lithuania, until May 12 in Latvia and until May 17 in Estonia. We have a very similar situation under consideration. I believe we have started very specific coordination work to come out of this situation in a most coordinated way as possible," the minister said.

Nevertheless, Linkevicius said, the ways of fighting the coronavirus are not identical, therefore, the countries need to coordinate under which conditions that might be done before opening the borders.

"We should consider those restrictions. (…) There are various nuances. If we speak about isolation, self-isolation for 14 days is mandatory in all three countries. But in Latvia, for example, if Lithuanian or Estonian citizens arrive and they have no virus symptoms and had no prior contacts, so they can go to work and self-isolate outside their working time. There are nuances that are different. We need to take that into account," the minister said.

According to Linkevicius, the Baltic health ministers are expected to discuss the border opening issue next week.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis told a press conference earlier on Wednesday the Baltic prime ministers will decide on opening borders on May 6.

The Baltic countries resumed internal border control in the middle of March to slow the spread of the coronavirus.