Espreso. Global

EU Transport Council to discuss blockade on Polish-Ukrainian border

29 November, 2023 Wednesday
17:51
EU

EU transport ministers are set to discuss the situation with the blocking of the Polish-Ukrainian border crossings

This was reported by RMF FM, according to Espreso.

Changes to the eCherha electronic border crossing queue, additional lanes at border crossings for empty trucks that return to the European Union, and the topic of blocking the Polish-Ukrainian border are among the issues on the agenda of the EU Transport Council meeting. It will be tabled at the end of the meeting scheduled for next Monday.

"The issue of the protest of Polish carriers will be raised at the end of the meeting of EU transport ministers next Monday," the EU diplomat said.

Poland raised the subject as part of the so-called "miscellaneous issues" that can be presented by any country at the end of the transport council meeting.

In addition to Poland, Hungary and Slovakia also want to speak.

"We expect that the delegations of these three countries will present the situation and inform the council about the impact of the EU-Ukraine agreement on transportation," the EU diplomat said. If the issue is not resolved by Monday, it is possible that the European Commission, which is involved in the negotiations between the carriers, the Polish authorities and the Ukrainian side, will also speak.

A source at the European Commission confirmed that there can be no return of permits for Ukrainian carriers, as this would be a violation of EU law. Instead, the EC calls on Ukraine to create additional lanes for empty trucks returning from Ukraine.

Regarding Ukraine's eCherha electronic border crossing queue, which Polish carriers have sharply criticized for its shortcomings and want to abolish, the EC spokesman said that the authorities in Kyiv "have made several improvements to the system." And, he added, "these changes should solve the problems of the protesters."

Strikes on the Poland-Ukraine border: what is known

Strikes have erupted on the Poland-Ukraine border due to increased competition following the opening of international transportation between Ukraine and EU nations. To address this, the Ministry for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development initiated talks with Poland and the European Commission.

Responding to the potential border blockage, the State Border Guard Service provided comments, and Ukraine formally communicated its concerns to Poland regarding the planned strike by Polish carriers at the Ukrainian-Polish border.

On November 6, Polish carriers initiated a strike at the border. The Ministry of Infrastructure noted that no official demands had been submitted by the Polish carriers to Kyiv.

By the evening of November 7, Polish carriers had fully halted the movement of cargo vehicles at two border checkpoints with Ukraine.

Subsequently, it was revealed that trucks are facing up to a 90-hour wait to enter Ukraine.

On November 9, a meeting of government officials and carriers blocking the border with Ukraine took place in Poland, but it concluded without any resolution. Simultaneously, the lines of trucks are growing longer. Consequently, Ukraine has suggested to the Polish authorities the initiation of lanes for empty trucks and is currently awaiting their response.

On November 15, trilateral talks with Poland and the European Commission on unblocking the crossing points took place, but they did not yield any results. Instead, the European Commission may initiate measures against Poland if the authorities do not resolve the issue of carriers blocking checkpoints on the border with Ukraine.

Polish carriers have promised to tighten the blockade on the border with Ukraine. In addition, customs officers have begun to record an increase in truck queues in the Slovak direction.

Ukraine and Poland are preparing claims for damages caused by the blockade of border crossing points due to the rally of Polish carriers. In addition, it has been reported that Polish carriers are not allowing humanitarian aid and dangerous goods to pass through.

According to Volodymyr Balin, vice president of the Association of International Road Carriers, Polish carriers are violating the terms of the strike, which may help to get it called off. At the same time, the Ukrainian economy has already suffered losses of more than €400 million.

The agrarian expert explained what products may disappear from Ukrainian store shelves due to the border blockade.

Meanwhile, the Polish government called on Ukraine to cancel the registration in the electronic queue for empty trucks. The Polish minister also met with the protesters and offered them a compromise solution.

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