Polish ministers make proposals to protesters to unblock border with Ukraine

Polish ministers make proposals to protesters to unblock border with Ukraine

Poland's new Minister of Agriculture, Anna Gembicka, met with Polish farmers blocking the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing on Tuesday evening and offered the protesters proposals to end the border blockade.

In turn, the new Minister of Infrastructure of Poland, Alvin Gajadhur, announced a meeting with transport protesters on Wednesday, Ukrinform reports.

During a media briefing, Gembicka said that the difficult situation on the border was caused by Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the EU's "irresponsible policy" that ignores the problems of Poland and other border countries. According to her, she discussed with the farmers how Poland will fight at the EU level for the solutions demanded by farmers and carriers, as well as solutions at the national level.

Referring to the demands of farmers blocking the border with Ukraine, the Minister offered them a surcharge of PLN 1,000 (over UAH 9,000) for each hectare of corn and an increase in the fund for low-interest loans for farmers by PLN 2.5 billion (over UAH 22.5 billion).

Read also: European Commission sees no negative impact of Ukrainian agri-exports on EU markets

Gembicka noted that several issues still need to be agreed upon, but expressed hope that on Wednesday it will be possible to prepare a draft order in this case, which will be considered by the Council of Ministers.

The Polish minister also denied that Polish protesters were blocking humanitarian aid, food and so-called dangerous goods (ADR) at the border.

She stated that she would hold urgent talks on the protesters' demands with the Minister of Infrastructure and the head of the Polish Interior Ministry.

For his part, Infrastructure Minister Gajadhur said that on Wednesday he would meet with representatives of Poland's transportation sector to discuss the crisis. He noted that the key to solving the problem lies in Kyiv and Brussels.

Read also: Slovak carriers threaten to block border for Ukrainian trucks from Friday

The minister said that his deputy, Rafał Weber, would hold another round of talks with representatives of the Ukrainian government and the European Commission.

Gajadhur expressed hope that the Ukrainian side will show a constructive position and exclude from the e-queue system, in accordance with the requirements of Polish carriers, vehicles returning without cargo from Ukraine at least at two checkpoints: Zosin-Ustyluh and Nyzhankovychi-Malhowice.

Meanwhile, more than 20 Polish NGOs appealed to the President and Prime Minister of Poland to hold constructive talks as soon as possible to find a systemic solution that would suit all parties to the conflict. They also called on the protesters to stop blockading the border to avoid escalation of the conflict and to try to resolve the problem through negotiations.

Read also: Blockade of border with Poland: it was planned by Moscow, we must overcome it together

The blockade destroys the trust and image of Poland, which is considered in Ukraine to be the main ally in the fight against the Russian aggressor. For the Ukrainian and world community, this is an incomprehensible act of hostility and a turning away from the Ukrainian society that is fighting for freedom and survival, Polish organizations emphasize.

In their opinion, the protesters have the right to protest and defend their interests, but in light of the war in Ukraine, the chosen form of protest could lead to serious consequences for Ukraine's military efforts and relations between the countries.

As Ukrinform reported, Polish carriers began an indefinite protest on November 6. Among the main demands to the Ukrainian government is the return of the practice of permits for Ukrainian carriers, which was canceled by the agreement with the EU until June 30, 2024. The protesters want the agreement to be terminated and the permit regime to be reinstated from January 1. They also demand that trucks with European registration be excluded from the Ukrainian e-queue.

Read also: 2,700 trucks in queues at Ukrainian-Polish border

The strike led to an almost complete halt in freight traffic at three border crossings between Poland and Ukraine: Dorohusk-Yahodyn, Korczowa-Krakivets, and Hrebenne-Rava-Ruska. Queues of Ukrainian trucks have formed at the border, several kilometers long, with waiting times of many days.

On November 23, Polish farmers joined the protest of local carriers and, to put forward their demands, began a blockade of truck traffic at the Medyka-Shehyni checkpoint near Przemyśl.

Ukrainian drivers who were stuck in Poland due to the blockade of the border by local carriers responded with a protest in Przemyśl and in the border village of Medyka.

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