TALLINN – The Riigikogu foreign affairs committee decided at its meeting on Tuesday to put to the first reading, in an amended form, the draft of a proposal to the parliament of Finland in which the wish is expressed to restore the movement of cross-border employees between Estonia and Finland.
"Estonia and Finland have been working closely together throughout the virus crisis to find solutions to the problems that have arisen. We place great value is this cooperation and thank the authorities of Finland for their help in bringing back Estonian people from third countries during the first wave of the virus," said the chairman of the committee, Marko Mihkelson.
He added that, due to the closure of normal work-related travel between Estonia and Finland from Jan. 27, the situation has become difficult for many Estonians.
"As work-related travel is allowed only for people in a narrow circle of professions, those residents of Estonia, for instance, who are working in Finland on the basis of an employment contract have found themselves in a difficult situation. These thousands of people have their workplace and home in two different countries and many of them have been unable to visit their family at home for several months," Mihkelson said.
The Reform Party MP said that last week, the foreign affairs committee also discussed a collective proposal on the same topic submitted to the Riigikogu, which seeks to ensure the possibility of cross-border shuttle travel between Estonia and Finland.
The deputy chairman of the committee, Juri Luik, said that the problem is acute and affects many people and families.
"In the proposal, we note that we hope to find measures of trust in collaboration between the two countries that would reduce the spread of the virus, but would enable to restore the movement of employees between Estonia and Finland. If that should not be possible to the full extent, a temporary regime should be found in collaboration with Estonia that would enable visits to family and back," Luik, an MP from Isamaa party, said.
The committee made a proposal for the first reading of the draft to be held in the Riigikogu plenary on April 22.