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Prime Minister Skvernelis: borders between the Baltic states will be opened for the Baltic citizens

Date

2020 05 06

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Today, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has participated in a videoconference meeting of the Prime Ministers’ Council of the Baltic Council of Ministers. Together with Prime Minister of Latvia Krišjānis Kariņš and Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister Skvernelis discussed implementation of the Rail Baltica project, border regime facilitation in the context of COVID-19, implementation of the Baltic electricity synchronization project and restriction of electricity imports from third countries.

The Head of Government has informed his counterparts that the quarantine is planned to be extended until 31 May in Lithuania; however, the epidemiological situation allows for further easing of restrictions. It has been stated that the Baltic states had successfully managed the spread of COVID-19 and trust each other’s health care systems.

The Prime Ministers have agreed to lift restrictions, including the two-week self-isolation requirement for the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian citizens traveling between the Baltic states, taking effect as of 15 May. Citizens of the Baltic states returning from other countries will be obliged to isolate themselves in their respective countries.

It has been emphasized that in the context of the crisis, timely implementation of infrastructure projects of EU importance – Rail Baltica, synchronization of electricity networks – will become even more important and will contribute to the economic recovery of the countries. According to Skvernelis, we must be focused and united in order to eliminate all obstacles with a view to full integration of the Baltic infrastructure within the EU.

The European gauge railway line is to connect the Baltic states by 2026. Lithuania has a detailed work schedule adopted. In June, public procurement procedures will be launched for the construction of the track from Kaunas to Ramygala. The construction works are expected to be completed in 2023. It is highly important to find a model for the implementation of the Rail Baltica project that meets the interests of all the Baltic states. The Prime Ministers have addressed the European Commission with a request to provide an appropriate analysis.

Prime Minister Skvernelis has emphasized that there cannot be delays at the expense of security of the Baltic states and that the three Baltic states have a common interest in restricting the imports of unsafe and dirty electricity. This is also important in the implementation of the 2030 objectives set in the national energy and climate plans. The Prime Minister has proposed to agree without delay that the political declaration, together with the methodology on the purchase of electricity from third countries, be anchored by the end of May. The Baltic Energy Ministers have been tasked with finding solutions in the short term.

‘I would like to request you: let us show unity, let us stop sending divisive signals to the European institutions, let us improve the current model, and let us focus on the implementation of the project which is overseen by the Prime Ministers at the highest level, abiding by the terms that have been agreed upon many times’, said Prime Minister Skvernelis.