Today, the border between Norway and Finland is re-opened after having been shut down due to the pandemic for five months. “We are a border municipality and this is a day of joy”, says Mayor Lena Norum Bergeng of Sør-Varanger Municipality.
The Ministry of Justice and Preparedness has decided to open Neiden border crossing station from Friday onwards, the Police in Finnmark and Sør-Varanger writes in a press release.
National entry regulations for Norway still apply and are enforced by the police at the border crossing station. Travelers coming to Norway who are required to take mandatory Corona tests will be referred to the local testing station on their arrival. Travelers, including local residents from Sør-Varanger who travel to Finland, are themselves responsible for familiarizing themselves with the relevant Finnish regulations.
“A precondition for this decision is the fact that Lappland county is not subject to mandatory quarantine. If this precondition changes, the border crossing station may be shut down again”, says Office Chief for Border Control SVein Arne Midtli of the Finnmark Police.
The police and Sør-Varanger Municipality have cooperated about practical facilitating of opening the border crossing station. The mayor and deputy mayor of the municipality are well pleased with the border’s now being open again.
“We are a border municipality, and this is a day of joy. The most important thing for me as a mayor is for our population to be safe during a pandemic while at the same time the country is slowly re-opening”, says Mayor Lena Norum Bergeng.
A long process now finds its good solution
“I am very pleased that the border crossing station in Neiden is re-opening. A long process now finds its good solution. I want to express gratitude to the Police Directorate and the Ministry of Justice for having been able to arrive at this solution through good cooperation. I also want to thank everyone else who has been involved in contributing to the re-opening of the border crossing station in Neiden. Good neighborly relations and cooperation may now develop further”, says Deputy Mayor Pål Gabrielsen of Sør-Varanger Municipality.
Neiden border crossing station in Sør-Varanger was closed on Monday 18 January, due to the government’s introducing mandatory testing on the border for people who have stayed in an area with mandatory quarantine. Neiden was one out of six border crossing stations that did not have testing stations.
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.