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Commission proposes to prolong road transport agreements with Ukraine and Moldova and introduces updates to the agreement with Ukraine

05.03.2024 15:55 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) The proposals, sent to the Council, include updates to the agreement with Ukraine to improve its practical implementation and enforcement while maintaining its objectives and scope. The original agreements were signed in June 2022and later extended until end of June 2024. They give bilateral transport rights to Ukrainian, Moldovan and EU hauliers for each others territories. With traditional transport routes in the region disrupted or closed due to Russians war of aggression against Ukraine and the unavailability of the Black Sea as traditional trade route for the two countries, the prolongation until at least the end of 2025will help secure supply chains.

Improving implementation of EU-Ukraine agreement

On the basis of exchanges with Member States, Ukraine and stakeholders, the Commission has taken into account lessons learned from the implementation of the current EU-Ukraine transport agreement. While the scope of the agreement will remain the same, the Commission proposes updates to facilitate its implementation and enforcement by the Member States. In particular, the proposal would:

make obligatory the carrying of documents showing that a transport operator is duly authorised to perform international carriage, and that the transport is being carried out under the Agreement;

make obligatory the carrying of specific documents certifying that an unladen operation is directly linked to a transit or bilateral operation, as required under the Agreement;

strengthen compliance by road haulage operators with obligations relating to operations authorised under the Agreement, fighting fraud or forgery of driver documents and road safety-related traffic offences: such offences may lead to the withdrawal of the licence;

add a new safeguard clause: in case the national road transport market in a specific geographical area sees a major disturbance that can be attributed to the Agreement, the agreement could be suspended in that geographical area.

These measures will reinforce implementation of the agreement, without compromising the mutual benefits. The agreement has been very positive for both the EU and Ukraine, allowing a strong increase of their exports to each others markets. The Agreement with Ukraine, as well as the one with Moldova, has also been essential in supporting the Solidarity Lanes.

The proposals are now with the Council, which needs to give the Commission a mandate to negotiate with Ukraine and Moldova. Once the Council has given the Commission these mandates, the Commission will formally engage with our partner countries for their agreement.

The road transport agreements support the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes, which were set up as alternatives to the Black Sea shipping routes when Ukraines ports were blocked by Russia. They have allowed additional lorries to carry vital goods into Ukraine, such as fuel and humanitarian aid, while helping Ukrainian goods like grain, ores, steel and related products to reach the EU and the rest of the world.

Ukrainian exports by road to the EU have significantly increased since the entry into force of the Agreement, by about two thirds in terms of volume transported, and by about one third in terms of value. In absolute terms, more than 300,000additional tons of goods were exported to the EU every month following the Agreement.

Ukrainian imports from the EU have increased by a similar amount in volume, namely by around 300,000tons per month. However Ukrainian imports by value have risen almost three times faster than Ukrainian exports, with an increase of more than 700million per month for Ukrainian imports compared to 250million for exports.

During the last meeting of the Solidarity Lanes Joint Coordination Platform, all parties welcomed the restoration of trade through Ukraines Black Sea ports, while recalling that the Solidarity Lanes remain crucial as a viable alternative, also in the long run. These corridors for import and export help to cement the EU-Ukraine economic relationship.

The agreement with Moldova has substantially increased exports by road from Moldova to the EU, to the benefit of both economies. Exports by road from Moldova to the EU increased by 27% in volume in the third quarter of 2022and by 35% compared to 2022the third quarter of 2023. EU exports by road to Moldova increased by 30% in value from the third quarter of 2021to the same period in 2022, before stabilising in 2022.

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