EU Assures Kyiv: Polish Carriers' Demands Will Not Change "Transport Visa-Free Regime" Conditions

Wednesday, 1 November 2023

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) has assured Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry that the agreement on the liberalisation of transport between Ukraine and the European Union will remain in force until July 2024.

"We held talks with the leadership of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE). The main topic was cooperation on the threats by Polish carriers to block the border (between Ukraine and Poland – ed.) and ensuring the stable operation of border checkpoints. We have assurances from our European colleagues that the carriers' demands will not lead to changes in the EU-Ukraine transport liberalisation agreement," said Serhii Derkach, Ukraine’s Deputy Infrastructure Minister, on Facebook.

The official said the "transport visa-free regime" will operate as it should – until July 2024.

The deputy minister noted that he had presented his position on the demands of Polish carriers during a meeting with DG MOVE representatives, stressing that Ukraine relies on the EU's support to ensure the proper functioning of the border.

"We have defined concrete steps on how DG MOVE may contribute to resolving the situation," said Derkach.

He stated that Ukraine had not chosen to move all logistics to land, and that such conditions arose because of the Russian invasion and the naval blockade.

"We must ensure the normal functioning of the Solidarity Lanes and support for our economy in such circumstances – with no blockades," Derkach said.

Ukraine's Recovery Ministry has received reports of a forthcoming blockade of border checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Polish border and initiated a meeting with officials from Poland and the European Commission to ensure stable border operations.

Polish carriers have vowed to close all border crossings with Ukraine starting in November due to excessive competition following the liberalisation of international traffic between Ukraine and the EU.

Previously, carriers in Poland had limited their efforts to blocking one border crossing point, but now they plan to close all available entrances from Ukraine.

Polish carriers are demanding the following: that Ukrainian carriers operate under permits; stricter ECMT rules for foreign carriers; no company registration in Poland if the company's finances are not in the EU; a separate queue in the E-queue for vehicles with EU registration plates; a separate queue at all borders for empty trucks; and access to the Shliakh system [the Shliakh system allows male drivers or volunteers to legally cross the border under martial law – ed.].

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