29 Feb 2024 11:54

Estonian Interior Ministry not planning to close Koidula checkpoint at Russian border

TALLINN. Feb 29 (Interfax) - The Estonian Interior Ministry is not planning to close the Koidula-Kunichina Gora checkpoint at the border with Russia, as this might lead to a loss of jobs and affect the lives of people living in border areas.

"Analysis clearly shows that austerity is one thing, while what affects the community - and examples of this are the loss of jobs, hence a decline in local government capacity that causes people to leave - is quite another. [...] Closing the border checkpoint is currently inadvisable," head of the Estonian Interior Ministry's border guard and migration policy department Janek Magi told ERR on Thursday.

Despite recent changes in the operation of border checkpoints in southeastern Estonia, far-reaching decisions based on them would be pointless, Magi said.

"Finland has closed its border checkpoints and extends the decision every few months, but it is hard to draw any far-reaching conclusions from this. Cargo traffic to and from Russia keeps shrinking, and passenger traffic is declining, but it would be unwise to draw far-reaching conclusions from current trends," he said.

Last summer, the Estonian Finance Ministry supported the checkpoint's closure, hoping to save around 11 million euros. However, the workload on the Koidula checkpoint and the nearby Luhamaa checkpoint has recently increased due to the closure of the Narva checkpoint to vehicles amid the renovation of Russia's Ivangorod checkpoint.