Polish farmers to join Ukraine blockade – Bloomberg

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Polish truckers protesting on the border with Ukraine could be joined by a group of farmers later this week, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday.

The truckers are demanding tougher rules for their Ukrainian competitors and have been blocking border checkpoints, meaning some cargo vehicles carrying humanitarian aid for Kiev have been unable to pass.

As many as 20,000 vehicles have reportedly been stuck on either side of the Ukrainian-Polish border as a result of the strike.

According to Bloomberg, about 100 farmers from the Betrayed Countryside association are planning to stage a three-day protest at the Medyka crossing on Thursday.

“Farmers were the first group to suffer,” one of the organizers, Lukasz Martyn, told the news agency. “Now there are transportation companies, the question is who will be next.” 

The protest, which is at least two weeks old, stems from the EU’s decision to exempt Ukrainian truckers from seeking permits to cross the Polish border. Their Polish counterparts insist the waiver has harmed their business by encouraging competition from Ukraine, which is not an EU member state, and driving down prices.

Members of the International Road Transport Union from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania have reportedly urged European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to review an agreement that allows traffic privileges for Ukrainian drivers. The regulation is due to expire in June 2024.

However, von der Leyen said last week that any re-introduction of permits or quotas for road transport from Ukraine is not legally possible as it would violate the current agreement between Brussels and Kiev.

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