Business news from Ukraine

Lithuanian Economy Minister: Blockade of Lithuanian border by Poles violates EU principle of freedom of movement

29 February , 2024  

The blockade of a road on the Lithuanian-Polish border by farmers on March 1 may violate the European Union principle of free movement of goods and people, Lithuanian Economy and Innovation Minister Aušrine Armonaitė said, LRT writes.

“As far as I understand, the flow of people will not be stopped, but we are still members of the free European Union, where the movement of goods and people should be free. Any impediment to that movement has the potential to disrupt freedom of movement,” the minister said.

She noted that trucks at the border would be directed to additional parking lots for inspection, which could lead to queues.

A nationwide strike of farmers started in Poland on February 9. The main demands of the strikers are to adjust the “green” course of the European Commission, to limit the inflow of Ukrainian agricultural products to the Polish market, as well as to increase the profitability of agricultural production. During the protests, farmers block Ukrainian-Polish border crossings.

Since March 1, Polish farmers have been preparing for two new blockades – at the former Polish-German border crossing in Svec and on the road near the former Lithuanian-Polish border crossing “Kalwaria-Budzisko”. Farmers will check the contents of trucks, especially agricultural goods.

According to Ausris Macijauskas, chairman of the Lithuanian Grain Producers Association, Polish farmers’ suspicions that Ukrainian grain brought from Poland to Lithuania is being returned or processed and re-exported as Lithuanian goods are justified.

Via Baltica is a 970-kilometer section of European route E67 between Tallinn and Warsaw. It provides road links between the Baltic countries. E67 connects Helsinki (Finland) and Prague (Czech Republic).

The Suvalki Gap is a strip of land about 100 kilometers long on the Lithuanian-Polish border, which is wedged between the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in the west and Belarus in the east.

Maciauskas said earlier that Lithuanian farmers for their part would not contribute to the Polish protest. According to him, the biggest problem of Lithuanian farmers is Russian grain.