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EU Commission proposes changes to transport deal with Ukraine based on 'lessons learned'

by Martin Fornusek March 5, 2024 2:48 PM 2 min read
Illustrative photo: a line of trucks en route to Romania queue at the Porubne-Siret border crossing in Porubne, Ukraine, on Dec. 17, 2022. (Andrei Pungovschi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The European Commission on March 5 proposed to prolong a road transport agreement with Ukraine and Moldova while introducing additional measures to the Ukraine deal "based on lessons learned."

The EU signed the agreement with the two Eastern European countries in 2022 to liberalize road transport shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The provisions were later extended until June 2024.

The agreement sparked protests among carriers in some EU members, namely in Poland, who claimed that their Ukrainian competitors were driving them out of business. Polish protesters blocked several border crossings with Ukraine between November 2023 and January 2024, leading to tensions between the two countries.

"On the basis of exchanges with Member States, Ukraine, and stakeholders, the Commission has taken into account lessons learned from the implementation of the current EU–Ukraine transport agreement," the Commission's statement read.

While maintaining the original scope of the agreement, the EU's executive arm proposed to make it obligatory for truckers to carry documents authorizing them for international transport and certifying that an unladen operation is directly linked to a transit or bilateral operation.

The compliance of carriers with the agreement's provisions should be strengthened to counter fraud or forgery of driver documents and road safety-related traffic offenses.

The Commission also proposed a new safeguard clause, under which the agreement could be suspended in a specific geographical area if it leads to a "major disturbance" in that area.

The proposals have been submitted to the EU Council, which needs to give the Commission a mandate to negotiate with Ukraine and Moldova.

"The temporary transport agreements with Ukraine and Moldova have helped the two countries' exports and imports moving after they lost essential transport routes due to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine," European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said.

"At the same time, they may affect differently road transport operators across the Union. This is why, with today's proposal on the agreement with Ukraine, we have also looked at how we can improve the agreement further by making its implementation and enforcement easier and introducing a safeguard clause in case of negative impacts on regional markets in the EU."

Ukraine's road exports to the EU have risen significantly since the agreement was first implemented: by about two-thirds in terms of volume transported and by about one-third in terms of value.

Reuters: EU to step up checks on grain exports from Ukraine to ease farmers’ fears
The European Union will strengthen control over carriers’ compliance with agreements on transporting grain from Ukraine to address concerns of protesting farmers and free up trade, Reuters reported on March 1, citing the EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean.
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