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Tusk: Poland in talks with Ukraine on temporarily closing border for trade

by Martin Fornusek February 28, 2024 4:27 PM 2 min read
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk speaks during a press conference after a government meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on Jan. 3, 2024. (Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Poland leads talks with Ukraine on the possibility of a temporary closure of their mutual border for trade, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Feb. 28, stressing that such a solution would be "painful for both parties," RMF24 reported.

The statement comes amid escalating tensions between the two countries. Polish farmers have been holding protests across Poland and at the border with Ukraine in opposition to Ukrainian agricultural imports and the EU's Green Deal.

"We are also talking to the Ukrainian side about temporarily closing the border and exchanging goods. I will also talk about this tomorrow with Polish farmers," the Polish prime minister said.

Tusk commented that while he is ready to make hard decisions regarding the border, a long-term solution must be found. He also said that all steps will be taken in consultations with Ukraine to avoid unnecessary tensions.

"We are ready for a serious conversation about limits (on the export of Ukrainian goods). Those limits proposed by Brussels and Kyiv are unacceptable for us," the prime minister noted.

"We want to help Ukraine, but we cannot allow this assistance to have such a negative impact on our citizens," Tusk said, adding that Poland has been one of the most pro-Ukrainian nations during the full-scale war with Russia.

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Tusk added that he is in constant contact with Ukrainian authorities, saying, "They understand it too. We must find, and we will find, a solution that will protect our market and our farmers against unequal competition."

Taras Kachka, Ukraine's trade representative who takes part in talks with Poland, said later on Feb. 28 that very intense negotiations took place, but "during all four hours... the option of closing the border was not mentioned."

"We were able to find a common language and are working on a constructive solution to unblock the border while taking into account the interests of Polish and Ukrainian farmers. It is not easy, but it is possible," Kachka wrote on Facebook.

The Polish prime minister said that on Feb. 29, an agricultural summit will be held in Warsaw, where Tusk will meet representatives of Polish farmers.

The Polish government has repeatedly said it understands the concerns of its agricultural producers and pointed out the supposed negative impacts of the EU's decision to continue a free trade regime with Ukraine, originally instituted in 2022.

According to Warsaw, the influx of cheaper Ukrainian products threatens the domestic production and livelihoods of Polish farmers, which Kyiv denies. Poland has already instituted a ban on several Ukrainian products, such as grain.

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