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Tusk vows to convince Polish carriers to halt their blockade

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 4, 2024 9:45 AM 1 min read
Donald Tusk, the leader of the Civic Coalition, speaking during a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, on Nov. 21, 2023. (Andrzej Iwanczuk/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he would convince Polish carriers blocking the border with Ukraine not to use such methods, the Polish Press Agency (PAP) reported on Jan. 3.

Since November, Polish protesters have been blocking four crossings with Ukraine due to the EU's liberalization of transit rules for Ukrainian truckers. The blockade has left thousands of Ukrainian truckers stranded in long lines in freezing temperatures.

Polish farmers also joined the protests, promising to resume their blockade at the Shehyni-Medyka crossing on Jan. 4 after a temporary reprieve.

Speaking at a press conference, Tusk noted that he understands the "interests of Polish carriers, drivers, and farmers."

"I have to study the reasons why...some farmers... decided to return to the border blockade," the head of the Polish government said.

Farmers' representatives have demanded written assurances about state subsidies for growing corn, increased loans, and maintenance of the agricultural tax at the current rate.

Agriculture Minister Czeslaw Siekierski visited the border blockade in late December and promised that the farmers' grievances would be addressed, said Roman Kondrow, one of the leaders of the protesters.

Tusk also said he would convince Polish carriers "not to use the blockade as a method of protecting their interest" and instructed Infrastructure Minister Dariusz Klimczak to prepare suitable solutions for resolving the conflict.

"My government and I will do everything... to protect their (carriers') interests in today's unequal competition with Ukrainian carriers," Tusk stressed.

"I will be more effective in protecting Polish carriers when there is no blockade... Our arguments will be better heard when Poland is not blocking the border."

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