Slovakia stops blocking the border with Ukraine, and the EU refuses Polish activists: what happened?
The blockade of the checkpoint with Slovakia has been lifted. Trucks are allowed to pass through the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke checkpoint as usual. At the same time, the European Commission has already responded to the demand of Polish activists: they do not intend to change the conditions of transport visa-free travel for Ukraine.
"We continue to work with our Slovak colleagues to prevent further protests," Serhiy Derkach, Deputy Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine, wrote on his Facebook page.
As he noted, the European Commission does not plan to amend the current Agreement on the Liberalization of Freight Transport, but rather expresses its readiness to defend transport visa-free travel. This was stated by Commissioner Adina Veljan following the EU Transport Ministerial Council.
"To make all this news happen, and to preserve and extend the transport visa-free regime, the team of the Ministry of Community Development, Territorial and Infrastructure of Ukraine, headed by Oleksandr Kubrakov, and I are doing a lot of non-public work and communication with partners. I am grateful to the EU member states that have supported Ukraine today and defended the issues of the Liberalization Agreement," he said.
At the same time, the blockade of the border not only causes losses to business, it also jeopardizes the financing of the Ukrainian army. The fact is that in November alone, the customs office lost more than UAH 9 billion, which it was supposed to send to the state budget. All this money was supposed to be used to finance defense and security.
Exports in November dropped by 40%, according to the customs office itself. In total, the volume decreased by 9.2 million tons. Freight transport accounted for 783 thousand tons. At the same time, Ukraine's total imports in November fell by about a fifth. And if the situation is not resolved soon, the strike at the border will cost Ukraine 1 percentage point of GDP growth.
In addition, the blocking of the Ukrainian border by Polish carriers disrupts contracts for 2024 and may also lead to problems with fuel and lubricants. "The end of November-December are the months when new contracts for the next year are formed. And, accordingly, if we are not able to deliver products on time now, many counterparties with whom producers had relations may renegotiate (contracts - Ed.) with someone else," explained Denis Marchuk, Deputy Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Agrarian Council.
As reported by OBOZ.UA, the European Commission believes that the Polish authorities are not acting proactively enough to resolve the situation on the Ukrainian-Polish border and "to comply with the law there". The bloc allows for certain measures against those who do not follow the rules and do not apply the law.