Why are Polish truckers protesting and blocking Ukrainian truckers at the border?

Truck drivers from Poland are expressing their dissatisfaction with a European Union decision that grants Ukrainian road freight carriers an exemption from the usual permits required for non-EU transporters. This exemption, intended to show support for Ukraine amid Russian aggression, allows for the mutual recognition of driving licenses and certificates between the EU and Ukraine.

Through these designated “solidarity lanes,” Ukraine has successfully exported over 60 million tons of food and 48 million tons of non-agricultural goods between March 2022 and November 2023. Despite these benefits, Polish truckers contend that Ukrainian drivers are taking advantage of these regulations to engage in unfair competition by offering lower prices and bypassing EU standards.

Consequently, they are demanding the reinstatement of permit requirements and the exclusion of Ukrainian carriers from Ukraine’s electronic queuing system, citing economic losses. Slovak drivers share similar concerns and are advocating for a return to regulations predating the conflict.