Slovak truck drivers join Polish protests, announce blockade of Ukrainian border

The Slovak Road Transport Union (UNAS) has decided to blockade the Vyšné Nemecké-Uzhhorod border crossing with Ukraine starting Dec. 1

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The Slovak Road Transport Union (UNAS) has announced its decision to block the Vyšné Nemecké-Uzhhorod border crossing with Ukraine, effective from Friday, Dec. 1.

This decision, made after discussions with the Slovak Ministry of Transport, echoes a similar move by Polish carriers demanding the reinstatement of required trade permits for Ukrainian carriers.

UNAS stated that this blockade is a response to the inability of European companies to compete with Ukrainian transporters under the current conditions. UNAS assured that essential transports, including fuel, live animals, humanitarian aid, perishable and refrigerated goods, and military supplies, will not be affected by the blockade. However, the flow of commercial goods will be regulated, allowing only four trucks per hour to pass through.

Earlier this month, in a show of solidarity with Polish protesters, UNAS representatives temporarily blocked the Vyšné Nemecké border crossing from the Slovak side for an hour. The Slovak transporters are demanding that Brussels reinstate the commercial permit requirement for Ukrainian carriers, aligning with the demands made by Polish transporters.

The cause of the protests is the temporary suspension of the requirement for bilateral international road transport permits between Poland and Ukraine, an agreement made during EU-Ukraine road transport negotiations. Additionally, protesters are contesting the Ukrainian government’s electronic queuing system, which affects Polish trucks returning empty from Ukraine.

The new Polish minister of infrastructure, Alvin Gajadhur, stressed the importance of dialogue in resolving the issue, saying, “Our continuous discussions with the transport industry, Ukrainian government, and the European Commission are critical in finding a solution to the underlying causes of these protests,” stated the minister.

Polish truckers have been protesting since Nov. 6 at the border crossings with Ukraine in Dorohusk, Hrebenne and Korczowa by allowing only a few vehicles to pass each hour.

Meanwhile, since Nov. 23, farmers have also been protesting at the Medyka border crossing. On Monday, they announced that their protest there is set to continue until Jan. 3, 2024.

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