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Media: EU warns Poland it must take action to stop border blockade protest

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 16, 2023 2:40 PM 2 min read
Trucks near the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing waiting to pass into Ukraine in Dorohusk, Poland on Nov. 10, 2023. (Damien Simonart/ AFP via Getty Images)
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The European Commission is warning the Polish government that it must take action to end the blockade of the border with Ukraine by Polish truckers, Polish media outlet RMF24 reported on Nov. 16.  

A European Commission spokesperson told RMF24 that the "Polish authorities, under EU law, are obliged to ensure the free movement of Ukrainian trucks at border crossings."

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

The Polish authorities are obliged to keep the border open as it is a key "Solidarity Lane," according to an RMF24 journalist in Brussels.

"Solidarity Lanes" between Ukraine and the EU were launched May 2022 as part of a European initiative to keep Ukraine's trade routes open amid Russia's full-scale invasion.

The road and rail border crossings have become increasingly important following Russia's attempts to block Ukraine's Black Sea ports from July 2023 and ongoing attacks on port infrastructure.

"Some in the European Commission believe that the Polish authorities are not doing everything to solve the problem and end the protest of Polish carriers," RMF24 reported.

The European Commission refused to comment on potential measures that may be taken if Poland refuses to act, as discussions with both countries are ongoing.

However, "Brussels is clearly losing patience," the report said.

According to EU rules, Ukrainian trucks do not require permits until June 30, 2024, after the EU and Ukraine signed an agreement in June 2022 to liberalize transport rules.

Polish truckers claim that the lack of entry permits for Ukrainian trucks is hurting business for Polish drivers. They are also calling for a ban on transportation companies from outside the EU.

Ukrainian officials met with Polish truck drivers on Nov. 13 but the talks failed to make progress.

Slovakia scrutinizes Ukrainian trucks amid long lines at border
Slovakia’s police, labor inspectors, and Transport Department officials are conducting checks on Ukrainian trucks stuck at the Slovakian border, the Slovak Transport Ministry said in a statement on Nov. 15.
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