Polish truckers blocked three major border crossings with Ukraine on Monday, protesting “unfair competition” from Ukrainian lorry drivers.
The transport companies, whose protest halted almost all cargo traffic, said EU liberalisation of border transport laws threatened their livelihoods.
A sign on one of the trucks listed their demands, beginning with reinstating entry permits for their Ukrainian competitors.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU waived a previous permit system for Ukrainian transport companies seeking to enter the EU.
Polish transport firms say the move led to an influx of Ukrainian competitors into the sector, driving prices down and causing Polish truckers’ profitability to plummet.
Ukraine called for “constructive dialogue” to “resolve the situation”.
“Blocking the border harms the interests and economies of both countries,” said Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister.
Warsaw haw been one of Ukraine’s chief supporters after Russia’s invasion.
However, tensions grew after Ukrainian agricultural exports began to pass almost entirely through Ukraine’s EU neighbours, saturating their markets and pushing down prices to the detriment of those countries’ farmers.
Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia have extended an EU grain ban safeguarding farmers against a boom in Ukrainian imports.
The Polish and Ukrainian governments have attempted since to defuse tensions over the issue.
Playing geopolitical chess in central Europe: Pawns, knights, and kings in a high-stakes game – Brussels Signal https://t.co/ighjRiMjSP
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