2020.05.15 15:34

Baltic countries formally lift travel restrictions, queues may form on borders

BNS 2020.05.15 15:34

The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Riga on Friday, formally lifting travel restrictions between the Baltic states.

"All Baltic countries have taken active steps to combat the virus,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said in a press release. The opening borders of “is very important for the economies, tourism and people-to-people contacts", he added.

Read more: Lithuania eases travel restrictions for Baltic, Polish residents and citizens

Starting Friday, citizens and residents of the three countries can travel freely, provided they have not travelled outside the region for the last 14 days.

Meanwhile, document checks will remain in place and may cause delays, according to the Lithuanian Border Guard Service (VSAT).

“Queues are likely to form at our checkpoints towards the weekend," said Rustamas Liubajevas, the chief of VSAT. “We have agreed with our neighbors that, if needed, we will try to coordinate actions and divert vehicles and persons to various checkpoints.”

Latvian and Lithuanian border guards have opened an additional crossing at Kalviai-Maitene, in addition to the three already in operation.

Meanwhile, the three foreign ministers issued a joint statement saying that "unity and cooperation remains essential".

"Cooperation and exchange of information with our regional, like-minded friends in the Nordic-Baltic format has been close and effective from the very start of this crisis," the ministers said.