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2020.05.07 12:12

Poland and Finland could join Baltic ‘free movement zone’, Latvian president says

BNS2020.05.07 12:12

After the Baltic states reopen internal borders in mid-May, Poland and Finland could join the area of free movement, according to Latvian President Egils Levits.

The prime ministers of the three Baltic states agreed on Wednesday to reopen borders to each other's citizens from May 15.

Read more: Baltic states to reopen internal borders on May 15

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has mentioned that the common area could be extended to include Poland in the future, and Estonia believes that Finland could be invited to join, too.

Read more: Lithuania and Poland agree to loosen travel restrictions across border

In an interview with BNS, the Latvian president said he supported the idea, but added that the epidemiological situation must be taken into account before making decisions.

“Early in the morning [on Wednesday], our prime minister had a conference with the Lithuanian prime minister and Estonian prime minister on this question, and the goal is to create a Baltic common zone where the movement of people and food could be allowed, because in our three countries, the pandemic is less widespread than in other parts of Europe, and, therefore, it's the first zone in Europe where we can open the borders,” Levits said.

“Lithuanian Prime Minister Skvernelis said that Poland could also be invited to join the zone, because the situation in Poland is similar to the situation in the Baltic states, less dangerous than in the western part of Europe, and Estonia is thinking that, in the future, Finland may be also invited, because Finland is in a better situation, too,” he said.

“The three Baltic states [would form] a core of such kind of zone in order to restore normality in Europe, but maybe we can create a greater zone in Europe, a northeastern European zone including Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland,” the Latvian president said.

Whether the plan can work will depend on the epidemiological situation in the five countries and their governments' decisions, Levits added, but he would strongly support the possibility.

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