Slovak and Polish haulers threaten border blockade over EU permit policy, impacting regional transport.
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Union’s Demands and Threats
The Union of Road Hauliers of Slovakia (UNAS) has issued a stark warning, threatening to block the border for Ukrainian trucks.
This move comes in response to the European Union’s decision to eliminate the commercial permit system for transportation within the EU.
UNAS calls for reinstatement of this system, citing concerns about the impact on Slovak haulers.
Specific Requests to the Ministry of Transport
UNAS spokesperson Skala highlighted the group’s demands for the Slovak Ministry of Transport to engage actively with the European Commission.
They seek a return to the previous system where Ukrainian haulers required permits to operate within the EU.
Skala warned that if the European Commission (EC) does not meet these demands, UNAS is prepared to join Polish haulers in blocking border crossings for Ukrainian trucks.
Opposition to EU’s Decision Post-Invasion
In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU decided to scrap permits for Ukrainian haulers. UNAS has strongly opposed this decision, arguing that it disadvantages Slovak transport companies.
Impact on Slovak Hauliers
UNAS had previously communicated with the Ministry of Transport, voicing concerns that Ukrainian companies negatively impacted Slovak businesses.
In a letter, they stated that the Slovak freight transport sector is struggling, partly due to the need for more attention from the Ministry of Transport.
Parallel Polish Protests
Adding to the regional tension, dozens of Polish truck drivers began blocking three border crossings with Ukraine on November 6.
Their demands align with UNAS’s requirements, focusing on reintroducing commercial permits for Ukrainian companies.
They also call for the suspension of licenses for companies established after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and for more stringent inspections, albeit making exceptions for humanitarian aid and military supplies for Ukraine.
The unfolding situation highlights the complexities and unintended consequences of policy changes in response to geopolitical events.
With haulers in Slovakia and Poland uniting in their demands, the European Commission faces significant pressure to address these concerns and find a balanced approach to support both EU members and war-affected Ukraine.