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Estonian PM calls Finnish travel restrictions "unreasonable"

Finland is allowing work-related flights into the country from EU and Schengen countries, but most commuting from Estonia is by ship.

Suomen Viron-suurlähettiläs Timo Kantola ja Viron pääministeri Kaja Kallas.
Finnish Ambassador Timo Kantola met with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on 4 June. Image: Viron valtioneuvoston kanslia
Yle News

On Friday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas summoned Finnish Ambassador Timo Kantola to address the issue of Finland's travel restrictions.

The meeting came as a result of the Finnish government's decision on Thursday to extend entry restrictions until 27 June. However as of Monday, work-related travel to Finland by air will be allowed from EU or Schengen zone countries.

Most commuting and other traffic between Estonia and Finland takes place by ship, though.

According to Kallas, her government has several times in recent months proposed solutions in order to ensure the health safety of ship passengers arriving in Finland from Estonia. She pointed out that shipping companies have been requiring passengers to provide proof of negative coronavirus tests for three months now.

"I'm concerned that [due to Finland's entry restrictions] the good relationship between Estonia and Finland has begun to be in doubt," Kallas said.

Although no precise statistics are available, a significant proportion of construction workers in southern Finland were Estonian before the pandemic hit, for instance.

Talks "conducted in a good spirit"

Kantola told Yle that his discussion with Kallas was "conducted in a good spirit".

"I stated that, of course, Finland understands that the situation is unfortunate for many. However, it is very important for both sides that the dialogue between our countries works," Kantola said.

Kantola said that he emphasised to Kallas that legislative reforms related to safe entry to Finland are in progress.

Estonia now allows free entry for visitors from countries where the incidence rate of infections is less than 150 per 100,00 inhabitants over the previous 14 days.

As of Friday, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the incidence rate in Estonia was 175.9 compared to 40.5 in Finland. Nearby Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden all have considerably higher rates than Estonia.

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