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Brussels addresses Estonian, Latvian border backup

  • 2006-11-30
  • By TBT staff
During a meeting in Brussels today, European customs leaders suggested creating common border checkpoints to help shorten the long lines of vehicles waiting to cross Latvia and Estonia's eastern border. Enriko Aav, director general of the Tax and Customs Board, said Estonia expressed support for the European Commission's action plan as well as for the creation of common checkpoints, a spokesman said.

"But we have to bear in mind that the problem can be solved only if also Russia supports the proposals," Aav said.
For months now, hours-long lines of trucks have caused critical problems in Finland, Estonia and Latvia. The backup began last summer, with lines extending some 40 kilometers in Finland, 20 kilometers in Latvia and 10 kilometers in Estonia.

In September, the Tax and Customs Board informed the European Commission of the need to solve the problem.
In Latvia, lines aren't only hindering traffic at the nation's eastern border with Russia, but more recently at its southern border with Lithuania.

On Nov. 30, Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks said the lines of trucks on the Lithuanian-Latvian border were not just a bilateral problem.

In an interview with the LNT morning program 900 Sekundes (900 Seconds) Pabriks said, "I dislike that the border crossing issue has turned into a bilateral problem."

The minister said he has discussed the problem with his Lithuanian colleague, and that they agreed to create an inter-state task force to find a solution to this problem.

"The problem is not on the Lithuanian-Latvian border, but the root of the problem is that people and vehicles cannot cross the Russian border as Russia due to some reasons is not able to deal with these issues," said Pabriks, adding that "it would not be right to start a fight between us if the problem is somewhere else."