Baltic states reopen shared borders as Europe struggles to salvage battered economy
After some two months of border controls due to the coronavirus outbreak, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania reopened their shared borders on Friday, as more countries in Europe are easing up movement restrictions to salvage their battered economies, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
The three Baltic states have agreed to reopen their internal borders for free movement of their peoples. Under the new rules, citizens and people legally residing in the three countries are allowed to travel through their borders without having to undergo the 14-day self-quarantine.
HOPE AND REASSURANCE
On Friday, foreign ministers of the three countries met and signed a memorandum of understanding reopening the Baltic states for travel by air, sea, road and rail, and outlining a plan for cooperation in combating the pandemic crisis.
"The meeting is not just a celebration. It is the beginning of hard work. I believe that the public has to receive hope and reassurance of an exit from the COVID-19 crisis. Such signals are really needed now," said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, adding this was very important for the countries' economies, tourism services and also to the broad public.
However, only people who have not been to any other country outside the Baltics in the past 14 days and are not in mandatory self-insolation or quarantine will be allowed to travel across the borders.
The European Commission on Wednesday offered a tourism and transport package aiming to provide guidance for the European Union (EU) member states to gradually lift the internal travel restriction and reopen tourism, two months after strict measures were introduced to contain COVID-19.
The package included an overall strategy towards future recovery, a common approach to restoring free movement within the EU, a framework to support the gradual reestablishment of safe transport, a recommendation aiming to help protect consumers' rights concerning canceled trips due to the pandemic, and criteria for restoring tourism activities while ensuring health safety.