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European Commission criticized Polish blockade of border with Ukraine

European Commission criticized Polish blockade of border with Ukraine The EU is dissatisfied with the demands of the hauliers blocking the Polish-Ukrainian border (Photo: Vitalii Nosach/RBC-Ukraine).

The European Commission has supported the extension of the agreement on the liberalization of cargo transportation between Ukraine and the European Union, which allows Ukrainian drivers not to obtain permits for international transportation, said European Commissioner for Transport Adina-Ioana Vălean.

"This ping-pong between Ukraine and the European Commission is unfair. In the meantime, people are suffering at the border, and our external borders of the European Union are taking hostages. So, the idea of going back on the permits is unacceptable, because it was exactly the purpose why we gave up on permits. It was not sustainable to allow operations under a variety of numbers and different numbers of permits in the EU," said the European Commissioner following the EU Council of Ministers of Infrastructure and Transport.

Vălean noted Brussels' readiness to defend the Freight Liberalisation Agreement and to continue to explain its benefits to the European market as well as to Ukraine and Moldova.

"This agreement is agreed by the European Council, it has a clear scope, limited liberalization of road transport, and if something is going outside this agreement, the first responsibility for solving them goes to the national authority," the European Commissioner said.

Adina-Ioana Vălean also said that the European Commission had proposed a list of 13 measures that could be implemented quickly and would address the concerns of the protesters.

Blockade of the Ukrainian-Polish border by haulers

On 14 June 2022, Ukraine agreed with a delegation of the European Commission on a special agreement on the liberalization of road transport, also known as "visa-free transport". Under the agreement, Ukrainian carriers will not need to obtain permits for bilateral and transit transport to EU countries.

In early November, Polish trucking companies began blocking the movement of Ukrainian trucks at four checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Polish border. They are demanding the return of commercial transport permits issued to Ukrainian carriers.

The action resulted in thousands of Ukrainian trucks idling near border checkpoints. In early December, trucking companies in Slovakia joined the blockade.

The blockade has already significantly reduced the volume of imports of products from Europe.

According to experts, Russian security services are probably involved in the blockade of the border with Ukraine.