14:50 16 Nov 2023

EU Commission may punish Poland for haulers blockading Ukrainian border

The European Commission may initiate a penalty procedure against Poland, as Warsaw cannot solve the problem of the border with Ukraine being blocked by Polish haulers.

The Polish news site RMF24, which refers to its sources in the European Commission, reported this.

According to the press service, the Ukraine's and Poland's infrastructure ministries, and other institutions held talks at the Dorohusk checkpoint on November 15.

"As a result of the negotiations, the parties worked out joint solutions and offered them to the Polish protesters. The latest proposals were not agreed," the statement says.

The key requirement of the protesters is a return to the permit system, which cannot be fulfilled, as stated by the Ukrainian side, and the European Commission emphasized that such a question cannot be the subject of this meeting.

The agreement on the liberalization of freight traffic between Ukraine and the EU will be valid until at least June 30 next year.

Because Warsaw cannot solve the problem of blocking the border with Ukraine by Polish carriers, the European Commission may begin a punishment procedure against Poland.

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

According to the report, 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" and "Brussels is clearly losing patience."

Officially, the European Commission does not want to comment on the measures it may take against the Polish authorities, as talks with Poland and Ukraine are ongoing.

"The European Commission is still in contact with the authorities of both countries. We cannot comment on potential measures because discussions are ongoing," the EC spokesperson said.

Unofficially, RMF24 learned that a procedure for violating EU law is being considered in connection with the Polish authorities' violation of the provisions of the EU regulation on trade liberalization with Ukraine, which was recently extended until June 2024. The Commission is currently examining the legal basis for initiating the procedure.

The European Commission is studying the legal grounds for launching this procedure.

On November 6, Polish haulers started blocking the movement of trucks near the three largest checkpoints on the border with Ukraine: Korczowa-Krakivets, Hrebenne-Rava Ruska and Dorohusk-Yahodyn.

Polish haulers have officially registered the protest with local authorities until January 3, 2024.

The demands to the Polish government include the return of the practice of permits for Ukrainian haulers, strengthening transport rules for foreigners under ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport), the impossibility of registering a company in Poland if its financial activity is carried out outside the EU, the creation of a separate queue for vehicles with license plates of EU countries, the creation of a separate queue at all borders for empty trucks, and gaining access to Ukraine's Shliakh (Path) system.

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