A dispute between Ukraine and Poland over claims of unfair competition has led to Polish truckers blocking border crossings between the two countries. Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov has stated that Kyiv is “ready for a constructive dialogue” to resolve the situation. Kubrakov emphasized that blocking the border harms the interests and economies of both countries. However, he expressed willingness to consider the interests of carriers from both countries in finding a resolution.
The dispute arose after the European Union waived a permit system for Ukrainian cargo transporters looking to enter the bloc. This was done to support Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February 2022. Polish truckers argue that the EU’s action has caused long lines at the border and is negatively impacting their business. They demand the reintroduction of limits on the number of Ukrainian-licensed trucks entering Poland, as well as a ban on transport companies from outside the EU.
While the border crossings have been blocked, organizers of the protest have stated that they will allow humanitarian and military cargo, buses, and private vehicles to pass through to Ukraine. The Polish government has not yet commented on Kubrakov’s remarks.
Tensions between Poland and Ukraine arose when Ukrainian agricultural exports, which were previously blocked at traditional Crimean export routes due to the war, had to be redirected through Ukraine’s EU neighbors. This led to an influx of Ukrainian products in these markets, causing prices to drop and negatively impacting local farmers. Poland, along with Hungary and Slovakia, extended an EU ban to protect their farmers from the surge in imports from Ukraine.
Despite these tensions, leaders of Poland and Ukraine have expressed a desire to alleviate the situation. In October, they announced an agreement to expedite the transit of Ukrainian cereal products through Poland en route to third countries, despite opposition from Polish right-wing parties.