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Baltic foreign ministers in a joint statement: today’s meeting is a milestone in emerging from the crisis

15. May 2020 - 18:38

Today 15 May, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu is in Riga to sign a trilateral memorandum of understanding with the foreign ministers of Latvia and Lithuania. The foreign ministers made a joint statement emphasising the importance of cooperation between the Baltic States as well as with other partner countries and the EU, including when planning exit measures.

“Today’s occasion marks an important milestone in COVID-19 crisis exit process due to several reasons. First and foremost, it marks the first step in moving towards re-establishing the physical connections and travel between countries, which was interrupted due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the joint statement says.

Foreign Minister Reinsalu reaffirmed that the decision to reopen borders between the Baltic States was based on the similar epidemiological situation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. “The meeting in Riga is the first step towards returning to normal life and has a symbolic significance for showing the possibility of work-related travel between the Baltic States,” Reinsalu added. “The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of cooperation between countries, and in the case of the Baltic States, it has traditionally been very close.”

“The close cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is based on their shared interests and objectives in foreign and security policy, boosting economic development and cooperating in the European Union and NATO,” Reinsalu said. “Our solidarity was also evident in organising joint repatriation flights in the early and peak phase of the crisis when we were bringing our people home. We will always achieve more through close regional relations and like-minded actions.”

Continued close cooperation on regional level, including with Nordic-Baltic countries, as well as at the European Union and global level, and gradually working together remains central in common efforts towards eliminating restrictions introduced due to COVID-19 soon, and helping restore much needed economic activity and free movement throughout the European Union and the Schengen area as soon as possible, taking into account the epidemiological situation of countries and health standards, the joint statement says.

Statement in full: https://vm.ee/et/uudised/joint-statement-estonian-latvian-and-lithuanian...

The memorandum of understanding signed by the three foreign ministers in Riga stipulates the general framework for a trilateral abolition of restrictions on movement introduced due to the COVID-19 crisis and cooperation.

Memorandum of understanding: https://vm.ee/et/uudised/eesti-lati-ja-leedu-vahelise-maantee-raudtee-oh...

Photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmNeckoY

We recommend checking the Reisi Targalt website of the Foreign Ministry (in Estonian) https://reisitargalt.vm.ee/, which includes important information on lockdowns, quarantine requirements etc. in countries where Estonia has embassies.

Additional information:
Pia Kuusik
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Media Adviser
Communication Department
+372 637 7628; +372 5635 7866
www.vm.ee

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