Baltic experts to discuss possibilities for ‘travel bubble’ next week – foreign ministry

Baltic experts will next week discuss the possibility of restoring a “travel bubble” between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, adding that borders could first open to people with immunity from COVID-19.

The Baltic countries have been in close touch with each other on pandemic management issues, including possibilities for restoring a “travel bubble” that worked well last year, the ministry told BNS.

Vaccine delivery issues and lingering high infection rates have so far prevented any practical steps in this direction, according to the ministry.

However, in light of “the changing situation and the accelerating vaccination pace”, Baltic experts are planning to discuss possible actions to facilitate travel for Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian residents, especially during the summer period, it added.

The ministry said Baltic residents who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus and those who have previously contracted the virus and recovered could be the first to enjoy easier travel within the region.

The Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported on Wednesday that Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets had asked the government for a mandate to restart negotiations with Latvia and Lithuania on restoring the Baltic travel bubble.

The goal of the talks, which could start next week, would be to discuss “how this would be possible”, according to the minister.

After the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic subsided in May 2020, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia agreed on the Baltic “travel bubble”, allowing free movement of citizens and residents between the three countries.

The travel regime was scrapped, however, when infections returned to an upward trajectory in early autumn.

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