This is not the first time in history that the economy pays for politics.
Ukraine continues to block the transit of freight trains from China to Poland, demanding to increase its quotas for road transport. Poland categorically refuses to do this.
She sharply reduced the quota in 2019 — from 260 thousand to 160 thousand. Moreover: it can cut even more. Moreover, in 2016, that is, even before the association with the EU, the Ukrainian quota was at least 200 thousand.
Thus, by signing an agreement with the EU, Ukraine quickly deteriorated its ability to transport goods to Poland and through it to Europe.
All this happens quite quietly. If it had not been for a report in the Polish press, it is not known when what happened would have been publicized. Meanwhile, these are rather serious disagreements, which are already smoothly developing into a real economic war.
This is happening against the background of the escalation of the conflict with Russia. In the case of Poland, there is also a conflict with the European Union, which threatens to excommunicate it from the budget for refusing to subordinate its judicial system to it.
What happened to the relationship of these seemingly closest allies?
And relations between Poland and Ukraine have become tense by no means a joke. And we can safely say that there are no positive characters in this story: both parties are the victims and the accused to the same extent.
The essence of the disagreements is approximately as follows.
Ukraine quite deservedly accuses the Polish side of the fact that Warsaw deliberately puts its carriers in a difficult situation in order to achieve their ruin, take their market share and even their truckers, who are already actively running over to Polish companies.
There are even known cases when they reached the border, abandoned Ukrainian cars and went to work for the Poles (yes, it even came to that).
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The reason is trivial — the work for them has really become much less than it was. And the Ukrainian cargo carriers themselves are forced to lay off workers, since due to low quotas, their cargo traffic is significantly decreasing.
Kiev even threatens Warsaw with international arbitration.
Poland, no less justifiably accuses Ukraine of the fact that the transport quotas allocated to it instantly give rise to colossal corruption structures: schemes that let these permits through intermediaries who resell them to carriers.
The system of distribution of quotas on the Ukrainian side is absolutely non-transparent and is left to the mercy of “problem solvers”, which damages the Polish side as well.
In addition, the border transport infrastructure of Ukraine is in such a state that an increase in the number of quotas will cause serious traffic congestion.
Even Poland’s transport minister spoke about the problem.
The parties clearly do not intend to yield.
For Ukraine, road transport accounts for up to 44% of its exports. At the same time, the shortage of driver personnel is already reaching 20-30% of the staffing table.
True, the reason for this is not at all the actions of Poland (although, in them too), but in the disgusting working conditions, lack of infrastructure, social guarantees and the level of income, which truck drivers in Ukraine are two times lower than in Poland, and three and a half times lower than in the UK and Germany.
It is logical that many of them “choose freedom.” In this situation, the Polish cut of quotas could become a control shot in the head of the entire industry.
Which is logical, since the industry is not developing — investments in infrastructure are not made and the available resources are being cleanly exploited.
However, this does not justify Poland itself.
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Ukraine is snarling pretty hard. In addition to threats to file a lawsuit against Poland in international arbitration for «violation of the Association Agreement», it is taking quite practical steps.
«Ukrozaliznytsia» (Ukrainian railway company) already on November 30 has banned transit transport of empty and loaded wagons through Ukraine to Poland from Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
The same applies to return transit from Poland to the listed countries. Allegedly «for technical reasons.» The deadline for lifting the ban is unknown.
And now the next blow is being dealt: Ukraine has blocked the transit of freight trains from China to Poland.
And for Poles, stopping the flow of Chinese goods is a very serious problem. And the retaliation from Poland is just a matter of time.
The economic war that has begun in fact will only grow.
Warsaw is now generally in an extremely belligerent mood: the Brussels European bureaucracy is attacking it from the west, so it will have to fight on two fronts.
But disagreements are disagreements, and the real reason for the current slowly but surely growing conflict lies in a completely different plane.
It is in the general reduction of the food base.
Not only are both countries in a fever from the global and European economic crisis, but they also managed to spoil relations with the Russian Federation, which affected the economies of both in a completely definite way.
This is not the first time in history that the economy pays for politics, so there is no point in being surprised.
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So, in the context of that very significant reduction in the food base (and Poland, we recall, may also lose EU subsidies), both of them, quite predictably, will snatch from each other what remains.
And no «alliance» will prevent this. And it’s not that close, if you think about it.
Considering that nothing will change for the better in the near future, the crisis in relations will only grow.
For Russia, on the one hand, this is beneficial: two, to put it mildly, unfriendly states weaken each other. On the other hand, the current crisis is for everyone.
Himself would somehow survive.
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