Estonia mulling over lifting visa freedom to Ukrainians

September 11, 2019 GMT

HELSINKI (AP) — Estonia’s hard-line interior minister has ordered a legal investigation into whether the Baltic nation could unilaterally remove the visa-free entry granted Ukrainian nationals by the European Union, saying his country “is under migration pressure from the East.”

Mart Helme, chairman of the nationalist, anti-immigration Estonian Conservative People’s Party, was quoted Wednesday by public broadcaster ERR as saying that the former Soviet republic is increasingly seeing Ukrainians entering the nation due to its “geographical location and historical heritage.”

Helme is blaming a 2017 European Union visa waiver scheme, which he called a “Trojan horse.”


Estonia has a shrinking population of 1.3 million as thousands of its skilled workers have left the country since EU membership in 2004, leading to a surge in the arrival of Ukrainian laborers in recent years, especially in construction.