Poland hopes truckers dispute can be solved by year-end

WARSAW (Reuters) -Poland’s deputy infrastructure minister said on Friday that he hoped truckers’ protests on the border with Ukraine could be solved before the end of the year.

Polish drivers have been blocking several crossings with Ukraine since Nov. 6, demanding the European Union reinstate a system whereby Ukrainian companies need permits to operate in the bloc and the same for European truckers to enter Ukraine.

“We had a long meeting with my (Ukrainian) counterpart … today we are agreeing on the last details that will lead to the final agreement,” Polish deputy infrastructure minister Pawel Gancarz said during a press conference in Kyiv.

“I hope that after today’s meeting, before Christmas, there will be a meeting between (Polish Infrastructure) Minister Klimczak and the protest committee at the border, we hope that for Christmas, before the end of this year, this problem will be solved.”

Ukraine’s Ministry of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development said in a statement that the Kyiv meeting produced an “agreement on common positions to unblock the border. The parties have reached an understanding regarding compromise solutions and their implementation.”

It said the next stage in carrying out a “plan of action” would involve talks between the Polish ministry and the protesting truckers.

Polish truckers resumed their blockade of one of the main crossings at the Ukrainian border this week after a short break. According to data from Poland’s Customs office, the wait at the Dorohusk crossing was 78 hours on Friday.

(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk in Warsaw and Ivan Lyubysh-Kirdey in Kyiv; Editing by Mark Potter, Ron Popeski and Grant McCool)