CZ/SK verze

Truck Blockade of Polish Borders! Road Unions Riot, Railway Gets the Green Light

Truck Blockade of Polish Borders! Road Unions Riot, Railway Gets the Green Light
photo: TASR / Public domain/Trucks in a traffic jam
12 / 12 / 2023

The protest blockade by Polish truck drivers on the Polish-Ukrainian border has been ongoing for a month. They have been joined by farmers and transporters from Slovakia and Hungary. They argue that the exceptional transport services permitted for Ukrainian carriers in the EU are causing market inequality and a significant displacement of transport services in favor of carriers from Ukraine.

The waiver of permits for Ukrainian hauliers in the EU is set to last until June 2024. Polish road hauliers warn that many companies will not withstand the competitive onslaught and will become insolvent. The blockade is organized in such a way that it does not restrict the transportation of humanitarian aid, military aid, live animals, fuel, and refrigerated or fresh goods. Only four trucks per hour are allowed to cross the border with other goods.

In Poland, this situation coincides with the expected change in government. The current government points out that the European Commission is responsible for the problem, having thoughtlessly opened the entire road transport sector to Ukrainian carriers. However, the opposition, poised to form the next government, highlights that Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki also voted in the EU Council for liberalizing access to Ukrainian carriers.

Associations of road hauliers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Lithuania have appealed to the European Commission and their transport ministers to address the end of the exemption for Ukrainian hauliers.

At the Council of Transport Ministers meeting of EU member states on December 4, delegations from Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary jointly presented information about the situation on the border with Ukraine. According to our sources, the European Commission refused to revert to permit quotas and initially requested information from member states about the extent to which Ukrainian carriers are creating unequal conditions in the transport market. The exemption for Ukraine is valid until June 2024.

Meanwhile, in Poland, representatives of the Ukrainian Trade Association are demanding an end to the blockades. Its chairman, Jarosław Romańczuk, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki but allegedly received an evasive response. A request to meet with President Andrzej Duda went unanswered, leading Ukrainian business representatives to seek a meeting with the likely new Prime Minister, Donald Tusk.

The blockades are generally seen as a shift in attitude towards unconditional aid to Ukraine, which was widely supported at the onset of Russia's attack on the country. Currently, particularly in the economic and social spheres and in matters related to the stay of Ukrainians in the EU, there is a reassessment of what should constitute concrete and effective aid to Ukraine and its citizens during this stage of the armed conflict.

Zdroj: Polský sjem