Border protests across EU over Ukrainian cargo
An aerial view of over 18-klilometre-long queue that occurred near the Vysne Nemecke border crossing after Polish truckers blocked three border crossings with Ukraine to protest against competition from Ukrainian drivers, near Vysne Nemecke, Slovakia on November 11, 2023. Polish truckers’ protest by blocking three border crossings with Ukraine. Photo: Robert Nemeti /PAP/Abaca

Border protests across EU over Ukrainian cargo

There has been a wave of border protests since Polish truck drivers and farmers have blocked several crossings with Ukraine since late last year, demanding that the EU reinstate a system whereby Ukrainian companies obtain permits to operate in the bloc. It is reported by with reference to “Polskie Radio”.

On Sunday, Romanian farmers and truck drivers continued sporadic protests  across the country as negotiations with the coalition government over high insurance rates and slow subsidy payments resumed.

Convoys of tractors and trucks began gathering five days ago on national roads, mainly near large Romanian cities, slowing or blocking traffic.

Farmers and hauliers also briefly blocked a border crossing with Ukraine in northeastern Romania on Saturday, and tried to prevent entrance to the Black Sea port of Constanta.

Among other issues, Romanian truckers demand that lorries coming from the European Union have a separate line at border crossings and in Constanta port than trucks from outside the bloc, including Ukraine.

Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest grain exporters and Constanta has become Kyiv’s largest alternative export route since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, with grains arriving at the port by road, rail and barge across the Danube.

The wave of blockades was triggered by a complaint from Polish truckers early November that cheap competition from Ukrainian counterparts who are not subject to European Union rules on working hours and wages is cutting into their profits.

Polish carriers were soon joined their Slovak neighbours who held a partial blockade of the country’s sole freight road crossing with Ukraine.

Like their Polish colleagues, Slovak hauliers demanded restrictions on access by Ukrainian trucking firms to the European Union that were removed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Joining Polish and Slovak protests, Hungarian freight carriers in mid-December blocked the Záhony-Chop crossing on the border with Ukraine which lorry drivers heading towards Ukraine began to flock to in an attempt to avoid checkpoints in Poland and Slovakia.


Source: PAP, Reuters