Espreso. Global
OPINION

Border blockade: Tusk will be Polish PM, not Ukrainian

30 November, 2023 Thursday
18:20

In addressing the Polish-Ukrainian crisis in road freight transportation

I've waited for authorities to come up with this, but it seems unlikely. 

Either they're unfit or uninterested.

During Kuchma and Yanukovych's eras, the Poles proposed lifting road freight restrictions, but we declined, fearing Polish competition as our main traffic was directed to Russia.

In turn, the Poles focused on the EU market, becoming key players. Now, Warsaw hesitates to allow competition with Ukrainians, which is more of a perceived than a real threat at this stage.

This issue also holds political implications. The current Polish government avoids straining relations with trucking associations, especially post-election loss. It might be banking on their future electoral support, along with that of farmers.

We made a significant error by treating this issue as less important and confining ourselves to the role of a specialized deputy minister in talks with the Poles. Just a few days ago, the second round of ministerial-level negotiations occurred. While the Polish side appeared to indicate progress, in reality, the situation hasn't moved beyond a red light, let alone turning yellow or green.

The President of Ukraine's optimistic statement about a political resolution in the near future, possibly under Tusk's future government, seems overly hopeful.

Firstly, this situation worsens for Ukrainian drivers enduring cold for weeks, causing Ukrainian businesses to face losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Secondly, Tusk will serve as the Polish prime minister, not the Ukrainian one. The resolution to this issue will be a compromise rather than a straightforward favoring of Ukraine.

Thirdly, Tusk vividly remembers 2020 when the case against Slavomir Novak was orchestrated in Ukraine at Duda's request, aiming to harm Tusk's party.

In light of these factors, while there might be friendship between Poland and Ukraine, I have serious doubts about the friendship with the current Ukrainian leadership. Unless Petro Poroshenko helps. 

What should have been done differently?

They should've escalated this matter from a secondary concern to a primary and urgent one.

They could've engaged in private talks with Washington, requesting their influence to collectively address logistical issues, extending beyond just road transportation.

Given the active US investments in Ukrainian logistics, their interest is evident. Considering delays in budget funding and military supplies, it's possible the Biden administration would be willing to assist in resolving this seemingly "minor" issue that poses significant consequences across various domains.

This is especially pertinent as the current Polish authorities face challenges, and Tusk is resolute in investigating their actions over the past eight years. Therefore, participants attending the meeting in Washington could potentially ease their future circumstances.

At this juncture, the current President of Ukraine could have rendered a valuable service to Tusk by undermining support for his competitor's automotive associations.

Additionally, Moscow could lose another advantage of impeding our European integration through indirect means.

Source

About the author. Volodymyr Omelyan, Ukrainian diplomat, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine in 2016-2019. Political expert

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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