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Sejm. The ministers of agriculture and infrastructure presented information on the crisis on the border with Ukraine. The Sejm rejected it

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On Wednesday, Minister of Agriculture Anna Gembicka and Minister of Infrastructure Alvin Gajadhur presented to the Sejm information from the Prime Minister about the crisis on the border with Ukraine. The Sejm voted against the information.

Wednesday is the 6th day of the first session of the Sejm of the 10th term. After 3 p.m., Minister of Agriculture Anna Gembicka and Minister of Infrastructure Alvin Gajadhur presented, at the request of the Confederation, information about the growing crisis on the Polish-Ukrainian border in connection with the protest of the transport and agricultural industries.

Gembicka: protesters raised three demands

Anna Gembicka was the first to speak. – The protesters submitted three demands. The first of these demands concerned the launch of subsidies for corn. The second of these demands concerned the issue of agricultural tax, which, I don’t have to tell you, is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture itself, it concerns local governments, because local governments adopt resolutions on this subject, and the third demand concerned increasing lending in the field of two-percent loans. These are loans subsidized from the state budget, she said.

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– Liquidity loans, which we launched a few months ago and which are very popular, because the loan activity planned for PLN 10 billion is almost completely exhausted, which is why we decided to increase this pool of lending – she continued.

– And now, referring in turn to these demands and to what was agreed yesterday and what was also communicated. Firstly, we adopted a solution regarding the activation of corn subsidies. These will be payments of PLN 1,000 per hectare for the Podkarpackie Voivodeship and the Lublin Voivodeship, and correspondingly lower rates for the remaining voivodeships. We will use a similar division as in the case of previous subsidies, she announced.

Anna Gembicka x.com/Sejm RP

– Another issue is the issue of loans. As I mentioned, we decided to increase lending by PLN 2.5 billion, after agreeing with farmers. This means that after the adoption of the regulations, after obtaining all the formalities, we can reopen this lending activity, she said.

– Another issue regarding agricultural tax. We agreed that in the ministry we will try to develop a solution that will, on the one hand, protect farmers and, on the other hand, ensure that local governments do not suffer, so that there is no harm to local governments, she added.

– This morning I talked to the leader of the protesters again. I passed on these arrangements to him and today I want to sign the draft regulation, which we will submit to the Council of Ministers for processing, which includes these changes regarding subsidies or increasing lending. (…) We agreed that when these demands are met, they will be able to withdraw from the strike, she said.

Gajadhur: there will be increased road controls on road sections to the border

Presenting the information to MPs, Infrastructure Minister Alvin Gajadhur argued that European Union member states should analyze the impact of the agreement Ukraine – The EU liberalizing road transport for the entire EU transport sector. He informed that he had asked the European Commission to raise this topic at the meeting of the EU Transport Council on December 4 this year.

Gajaduhr said that “the lack of obligation for entrepreneurs from Ukraine to have permits to carry out bilateral and transit transport causes uncontrolled and growing losses of Polish road carriers”, unequal competition and the risk of liquidation of Polish transport companies.

The Minister assessed that it is justified for the Member States to jointly analyze the impact of the transport agreement on the transport sector in the EU.

The minister appealed to the Ukrainian authorities to exempt Polish trucks traveling without load at at least two border crossings from registration in the e-queue system. The obligation to register in this system means that Polish entrepreneurs returning without cargo are forced to stay in Ukraine for several days, which means “serious financial losses” for them.

The head of the MI also pointed out that Polish border services and carriers notice preferential treatment in relation to the registration of carriers from Ukraine, who, while Polish drivers are waiting, carry out up to four transports crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border in a week.

Alvin Gajadhur x.com/Sejm RP

Gajaduhr announced that on Wednesday he met with representatives of the European Commission, and road transport inspectors also took part in the meeting. The protesters, who had announced further blockades of the two border crossings in the morning, agreed to abandon this intention.

– I declared in the agreement that there would be intensified road controls on sections of roads to the border. These will be comprehensive inspections, checking not only the documentation, but also the technical condition and all regulations that apply to carriers, Gajadhur noted. The Protest Committee has undertaken that if these actions bring results, it will consider a form of easing the protest, the minister said.

The Sejm voted against the information. On Wednesday, 184 MPs voted in favor of accepting the information, 261 were against and no one abstained.

“The government could have done it and the president could have done it if he had let the Sejm work earlier.”

During the debate accompanying the presentation of the information, MP Mirosław Suchoń (Poland 2050-TD) argued that the problem of the transport industry could have been solved much earlier. – The government could have done it and the president could have done it if he had let the Sejm work earlier – he said. As he assessed, “the Polish transport industry is in shambles.” He added that on December 4 this year A meeting of EU transport ministers is scheduled, during which representatives of the current government “should settle matters in the interest of Polish transport companies.” – If you don’t do this, you may not come back – said the MP.

In turn, Dariusz Klimczak (PSL-TD) said that the transport industry has problems today due to the inappropriate implementation of international legal solutions that are key for Polish transport companies. He mentioned, among others: amending the regulations on the posting of workers or the mobility package. He pointed out that talks with the EU and Ukraine are now necessary. – Among other things, you need to submit an application for a review of the Polish-Ukrainian agreement. We have three months to present arguments for changing this agreement, he said.

However, according to Michał Kołodziejczak (KO), PIS is not only responsible for the crisis in the transport industry, but also for the decline in the profitability of agricultural production. – Farmers cannot sell grain today, and in a few days an agreement will be signed on the sale of the grain terminal in Gdynia – our only window to the world – to a foreign company, he said.

Protests at the border

Since November 6, Polish carriers have been protesting at the crossings with Ukraine in Dorohusk and Hrebenne (Lublin Voivodeship) and in Korczowa (Podkarpackie Voivodeship), allowing several cars to pass per hour. The protesters are demanding, among other things: introducing commercial permits for Ukrainian companies to transport goods, excluding humanitarian aid and supplies for the Ukrainian army; suspension of licenses for companies established after the explosion war in Ukraine and carry out their inspection. There is also a proposal to eliminate the so-called electronic queue on the Ukrainian side.

In turn, farmers have also been protesting in Medyka since November 23. On Monday, they announced that their protest at this border crossing is to last until January 3, 2024.

A meeting of the EU Transport Council is scheduled for December 4, 2023 in Brussels. The Polish side requested that one of the agenda items be a discussion on the effects of the European Union-Ukraine agreement in force from July 1, 2022. Earlier, the Ministry of Infrastructure also requested the European Commission to appoint a committee that would verify these effects.

Main photo source: x.com/Sejm RP

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