Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) had to disappoint her Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven when she spoke to him on Monday.
Norway will not open its borders to Sweden – for now.
“It’s clear that the Swedes wanted us to be more liberal on the border issue,” Solberg told news bureau NTB.
“But we have created a system that we have been quite consistent on, and we will continue to do so,” she added.
The coronavirus pandemic was the main theme of Solberg’s video meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Monday.
The two also talked about topics such as Nordic defense cooperation.
Solberg said she understands that Swedish politicians are concerned about Norway’s corona-related travel restrictions.
“I see that it’s demanding for those with jobs along the border who have been dependent on Norwegian border trade,” she said.
“But we must be concerned about our infection situation,” Solberg noted.
Infection in border areas
Solberg noted that Norway would stick to the current system.
That means that people who come to Norway from regions with more than 20 cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks must be quarantined for ten days.
“We have seen infection cases quite close to the Swedish border, not least in Indre Østfold, which can be traced back to someone being infected across the border,” Solberg pointed out.
At the same time, she believes that Sweden has benefited from the fact that infection pressure in the Nordic countries is measured at the regional level.
In the rest of Europe, the infection pressure is measured at the national level.
“That means that we have had open regions even though Sweden has been labeled “red” as a country,” she added.
Solberg also used the opportunity to thank Löfven for Sweden’s effort to help the three EEA countries – Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein – in the discussions about the EU’s vaccine cooperation.
“The political will for Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein to be part of the EU system was considerable, but it was a bit difficult with the legal architecture surrounding the issue. That is why Sweden acted as an intermediary,” the Prime Minister explained.
Solberg said that she didn’t know how long it would take before she could meet Löfven face to face again.
“Right now, I am afraid it would be difficult,” Solberg noted.
“There are very few international political meetings. Almost everything takes place on a video screen,” she concluded.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today