Nordic Ministers of the Interior discuss easing restrictions on border traffic
Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo met with the Ministers of the Interior of the other Nordic countries on 15 May to discuss the restrictions on border traffic imposed due to the COVID-19 situation and their gradual dismantling. The meeting was held via videoconference.
Another item on the agenda was the possibility of lifting the restrictions on recreational travel between the Nordic countries. At the moment, all Nordic countries recommend avoiding unnecessary travel abroad.
"We are continuously monitoring the epidemiological situation and, based on our observations, we are making decisions in Finland in line with our hybrid strategy. So far, we do not yet have an estimate of when we will be able to change the recommendations on avoiding recreational travel. However, citizens of Finland always have the right to return to Finland, and everyone has the right to leave Finland. I therefore appeal to everyone’s sense of responsibility for their own health and that of others," says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.
In its communication issued on Wednesday 13 May, the European Commission proposed that Member States with similar epidemiological situations could allow recreational travel of their residents from one country to another. The risks arising from lifting the travel restrictions could be compensated through other measures, such as reducing passengers’ risk of infection on flights and aboard ships.
Questions related to resuming tourism fall under the mandate of several ministries. The Government will discuss the issues raised in the Commission communication next week.
COVID-19 crisis highlights importance of international cooperation
The restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus are having a negative impact on the lives of many people. With this in mind, the restrictions should be eased as soon as this can be done without endangering people’s health or compromising the carrying capacity of the healthcare system. That said, dismantling the restrictions will be a long and challenging process.
During the pandemic, the importance of cooperation and dialogue between the Nordic countries has been even further emphasised. It is vital that countries keep each other informed and report on their actions at the national level. The Ministers will continue their discussions on how to open up travel between the Nordic countries.
European cooperation is also of great importance in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Although each country will ultimately come up with its own solutions, the Commission’s communications and guidelines serve as a good basis for discussion and coordination.
Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 40 720 2216, [email protected]