Despite pressure from the European Union and concessions from the Ukrainian side, the protesters who blocked the Polish-Ukrainian border refuse to lift the blockade.
If the Polish authorities do not resolve the issue of blocking checkpoints on the border with Ukraine, the European Commission may begin criminal proceedings against Poland, reports RMF FM from Brussels.
The European Commission believes that the Polish authorities are obliged to ensure the flow of goods from Ukraine, because the operation of the so-called solidarity corridor. This is stipulated in EU legislation, a representative of the European Commission said.
The European Commission believes that the Polish authorities are not doing everything to solve the problem and stop the protest of Polish carriers. Brussels is clearly losing patience.
Officially, the EC does not want to comment on measures that may be taken against the Polish authorities, as it assures that negotiations with Poland and Ukraine are ongoing.
Unofficially, an RMF FM journalist learned that a procedure for violating EU legislation is being considered in connection with the violation by the Polish authorities of the provisions of the EU regulation on trade liberalization with Ukraine, which was recently extended until June 2024. The commission is studying the legal basis for opening the procedure.
On Wednesday, November 16, another round of negotiations also took place between Ukrainian and Polish representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure, State Secretary Rafal Weber, the leadership of the Lublin and Podkarpackie voivodeships with the participation of the head of the European Commission Directorate for Mobility and Transport, Magda Kopczynska.
One of the main demands of the protesters is the return of the permitting system for Ukrainian carriers. After all, due to the loss of the Russian and Belarusian markets and the competition of our carriers in bilateral transport, the Poles are suffering losses. The position of the Ukrainian side, supported by the EU, is that it is impossible to return the permits.
Another issue on the agenda is crossing the border when empty trucks leave Ukraine, said one of the negotiators. Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Sergei Derkach. – We have developed solutions that reduce waiting time. For example, differentiating between loaded and empty trucks in the queue, opening checkpoints “Ugrinov” and “Grushev” for empty ones in order to relieve other checkpoints.”
However, the long waiting time to cross the border is not a reason in itself, but a consequence of non-compliance with memorandums at checkpoints and insufficient border capacity, Ukrainian officials are sure. Queues will decrease with the efficient operation of relevant services at the border and increased capacity.
Meeting with protesters in Doroguska
For example, in September, 45 thousand trucks crossed the border to go to Poland, according to the memorandum there should have been 63 thousand. There were about 12 thousand trucks left in the online queue as of September 30. That is, if the memorandum had been adhered to, there would have been no queue as such at the Polish border. In fact, the situation was the same in October – if the memorandum had been followed, the queue would have been approximately 1 day.
As a result, the three parties reached agreement on real tools for unblocking the border. However, Polish protesters did not agree with the proposals.
This position of the protesters indicates a possible political subtext of the action. Ukrainian and Polish carriers note that the owners of transport companies from the eastern part of Poland, who previously worked in the markets of Belarus and Russia, are taking part in the action. After these directions were closed, they tried to switch to the Ukrainian direction, but were faced with huge queues.
In addition, one of the most active protesters is the owner of such a company, a deputy from the pro-Russian Confederation party, which received about 7% of the vote in the recent parliamentary elections in Poland.
You need to understand that every day a truck is idle is a direct loss for the owner of the transport company and the driver working on this vehicle.. And since the cars are standing on the road and blocking the traffic of Ukrainian trucks, you have to pay for downtime. It’s not hard to guess who will compensate them.