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Latvia offers to help negotiate end to Polish border blockade

by The Kyiv Independent news desk November 26, 2023 4:06 PM 2 min read
Latvian Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins speaks during an exclusive interview during his visit for Ministerial Conference on EU Enlargement in Berlin, Germany, on Nov. 2, 2023. (Photo by Halil Sagirkaya/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Latvia offered to "provide assistance in seeking solutions" to unblock the Polish border with Ukraine, during a Nov. 25 phone call between Latvia's Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins and Poland's EU Affairs Secretary Szymon Szynkowski.    

Karins called on Poland to solve the standoff, which has caused more than 2,000 vehicles to be stuck at the border, with two truckers known to have died. The Latvian minister said his country is ready to help.  

The two also discussed the upcoming EU summit, which will consider starting talks about Ukraine's membership. Karins said he's in favor of launching them this year.

"The Latvian Foreign Minister reiterated Latvia’s firm support for Ukraine, noting that Ukraine belongs to Europe, therefore Latvia supports starting the EU accession talks with Ukraine already this year," reads a press release by Latvia's Foreign Ministry.

Polish truckers started blocking three border crossing points on Nov. 6 in protest of the liberalization of EU transport rules for Ukrainian trucks, causing huge lines on both sides of the border.

Polish truckers complain that the high number of Ukrainian drivers entering Poland are hauling goods from Poland to other countries, undercutting local businesses that cannot match cheaper Ukrainian prices. Ukrainian officials and industry representatives deny the accusations. The EU has warned the Polish government to ensure the end of the blockade.

The European Commission on Nov. 8 recommended formal membership talks with Ukraine. Consensus from 27 members at a European Council summit in December will be required to back the recommendations and begin negotiations.    

Hungary has given strong signs that it could block Ukraine's membership.

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As Polish protests blocking three major Poland-Ukraine border crossings stretch into their third week, negotiations to bring an end to the blockade have all but failed. Exhausted drivers are stuck in massive lines on both sides of the border, with expected waiting times reaching over one month at t…
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