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Poland seeks return of EU permits for Ukrainian haulers, but Brussels opposed

05.12.2023 12:00
The Polish government has vowed to seek support for its proposal to have the European Union reinstate permits for Ukrainian haulers, but the bloc's executive has declared that the return of permits "is not possible," according to news reports.
Photo:X/Polish Ministry of Infrastructure

Deputy Infrastructure Minister Rafał Weber announced Poland's position after a meeting of EU transport ministers on Monday, public broadcaster Polish Radio's IAR news agency reported.

He said that Poland was "at the forefront" of supporting Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion, however "this should not come at the expense" of Polish transport companies.

At Monday's meeting in Brussels, Polish, Hungarian and Slovak officials briefed other EU countries on the impact of the 2022 EU-Ukraine agreement on the carriage of freight by road, according to officials.

The deal abolished permits for Ukrainian haulers.

Weber told reporters Poland had data showing that the abolition of permits and an electronic queuing system, under which Polish trucks had to wait up to 14 days to return from Ukraine, had allowed Ukrainian haulers to increase their share of the transport market, "especially in Ukraine's EU neighbours."

He added that Poland would "seek support in the EU" for the return of permits for Ukrainian transport companies.

At the Brussels meeting, Poland's plan was backed by Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Croatia, while the return of permits drew opposition from countries including Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden, according to IAR. 

Earlier on Monday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his government would demand that the EU "reinstate permits for Ukrainian haulers entering the bloc."

Polish transport companies have been blocking Poland's checkpoints with Ukraine since November 6 in protest against the abolition of permits for Ukrainian firms.

Meanwhile, the EU's executive Commission on Monday said there was "no possibility" of the permits being reinstated, the IAR news agency reported.

The bloc's commissioner for transport, Adina Vălean, approved Poland's request for a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council, saying it could take place after the resolution of protests and blockades on checkpoints with Ukraine.

Ukrainian Deputy Infrastructure Minister Serhei Derkach said on Monday that the government in Kyiv had "taken all measures" agreed with Brussels and Warsaw to meet the demands of Polish truckers and resolve the dispute, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Derkach said Ukraine had reopened the Uhryniv-Dolhobychuv checkpoint and was ready to make extra lanes available for empty trucks returning to Poland under the electronic queuing system, "provided the border with Poland is reopened," according to the PAP news agency.

Poland's Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk said these steps were aimed "in the right direction," adding that "further action" was required from both Ukraine and the EU to resolve the transport dispute. 

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Tuesday is day 650 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAP

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Marcin Matuszewski.