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Reopening of borders to allow holiday and leisure travel between Norway and Denmark

Speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at a press conference regarding the reopening of borders for holiday and leisure travel between Norway and Denmark.

We indicated earlier this month that the Government was working towards common Nordic solutions for holiday and leisure travel in the Nordic region. We would have liked to have a common set of rules, but our work is now focused on putting in place bilateral agreements with each of the other Nordic countries. 

Norway and Denmark have agreed to reopen their borders for holiday and leisure travel between the two countries from 15 June. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is announcing this at the same time as I am holding this press conference here. Our agreement means that from 15 June, residents of Denmark will be able to come to Norway and Norwegian residents will be able to travel to Denmark.   

But before anyone reaches for their laptop to book a trip, I would like to point out that tourists in both countries must familiarise themselves with and follow national rules on travel and infection control. These rules will not necessarily be exactly the same in Norway and Denmark.

Our decision to allow travel between Norway and Denmark is based on some key principles.

We will be using the framework and principles that we have agreed with Denmark as a basis for dialogue with the other Nordic countries. We have informed them that we may be able to reopen our borders to their countries for holiday and leisure travel by 15 June, based on the same principles as we have now agreed with Denmark.  We will now talk to Iceland, Sweden and Finland.

There are now areas in all the Nordic countries where the level of infection is low, but there are also areas in some of them where the infection is not under good enough control. This means that we cannot allow free travel throughout the Nordic region immediately. And this explains why the principles I am now going to talk about are vital as we start to reopen our borders.

The principles are as follows:

  • Agreement must be reached between the national infection control authorities on criteria for identifying regions where infection pressure is high.
  • The infection control authorities in countries where there are areas of high infection pressure must urge people from these areas not to visit the other Nordic countries. Similarly, the authorities in the other countries must ask people not to visit areas of high infection pressure.
  • Anyone travelling in the Nordic countries must monitor their own health and self-isolate if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms.

In addition to these points, each country may have its own rules and guidelines in place.

We are aware that the Danish authorities have said that they want to retain restrictions on staying in Copenhagen. The information we have received from the Danish authorities today also states that anyone arriving in Denmark must have booked accommodation for several nights before arrival. 

Tourists from Norway will have to comply with this and with any other Danish national rules. So, before you travel, you must make sure that you know what the current rules and guidelines are in Denmark and make sure you obey them. The rules may change so it is a good idea to read the travel information on the website of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Norway has not introduced any specific restrictions for visitors from Denmark.

Ties between Denmark and Norway are close. I am therefore very pleased that we can now start to reopen our borders for travel, tourism and cross-border cooperation. This is good for the business sector and for jobs in both countries. 

The agreement between Norway and Denmark means that quarantine on arrival and entry restrictions are now being waived for Danish residents coming to Norway and Norwegian residents who have been in Denmark.  

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still advising against non-essential travel to all countries other than Denmark. The changes we are making now are a first step towards a gradual, controlled lifting of travel restrictions in Europe.  

The health authorities will monitor the effects of what we are now doing, with a view to keeping the level of infection in Norway low. There is still a great deal of work that needs to be done by 15 June. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Care Services and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security will be responsible for this work.

We will provide information about travel to the other Nordic countries by 15 June. And the travel advice for certain other European countries will be reviewed by 20 July. 

In the meantime, we will continuously assess where and how it is responsible to allow travel. We do not want to have travel restrictions in place any longer than is necessary. As soon as the infection situation makes it possible to change the travel advice, we will do so.

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