Controls on the Polish-German border. Who is most affected by the restrictions?

Luc Williams

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior recently announced the extension of control procedures at the border with Poland until at least mid-June. As the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Nancy Faeser, explained, this decision “is necessary to put an end to the unscrupulous activities of smugglers, as well as to limit illegal migration.”

Germany imposed similar restrictions on its border points with the Czech Republic and Switzerland. This is an inconvenience not only for tourists and local residents, many of whom work, study or shop on the other side of the border, but also for entrepreneurs.

As Hanna Mojsiuk, president of the Northern Chamber of Commerce in Szczecin, emphasizes, the restrictions are most felt by entrepreneurs from the border areas, including the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. The situation is serious for several reasons.

Firstly, stationary inspections that have been going on for several months mean that sometimes it takes employees and entrepreneurs from a few to a dozen or so minutes more a day to get to work in Germany. – says Mojsiuk.

The second problem is the recurring protests by farmers and other professions, which also make it difficult to move between countries. When these two problems overlap, and this has already happened several times, we face a situation where getting to work, to clients or to patients becomes difficult – he adds.

Will there be government intervention?

As she noted, farmers’ protests also hinder road traffic between Poland and Germany. In recent weeks, the largest strikes and demonstrations – which are basically continuous – concern crossings in eastern Poland (Hrebenne, Zosin, Medyka), but farmers also organize local protests throughout Poland. Some of them were carried out on access routes to Germany. Moreover, Polish farmers also took part in protests in Berlin, and their German colleagues announced return visits.

This problem may also be the responsibility of the Polish government. Although most of the demands of striking farmers are addressed to officials from the European Union, our state authorities are trying to alleviate the situation.The more effective the talks, the lower the risk of further blockades on the Polish-German border.

In the opinion of the Northern Chamber of Commerce, the problem of difficulties in crossing the border resulting from the decision of the federal government was not treated seriously enough by the central and local authorities. The Chamber expects that the matter will be taken up by the Polish government and local government representatives.

If the situation is to continue for the next six months, we want to know the substantive justification for this decision (e.g. the number of migrants detained at the border with Poland) – adds the president of the Chamber.

Will trade and the movement of workers suffer?

Germany is the largest recipient of Polish exports, and the vast majority of goods from the Vistula River are delivered by road. Last year, Germans bought goods and services from us for EUR 80.3 billion (an increase of 2.5%), and sold them for EUR 89.2 billion (a decrease of 3.8%). This means that the total turnover amounted to EUR 169.5 billion, by 0.9 percent. less than in 2022

Therefore, smaller or larger difficulties in border traffic may affect the scale of trade between the two countries. However, as Laura Hołowacz, transport and logistics expert and president of the CSL Group, notes, Germany is Poland’s largest economic partner (not only in terms of trade exchange, but also in terms of personnel exchange).

Controls in the Schengen area never facilitate the flow of goods, it is always associated with an extension of delivery time and, consequently, a significant increase in costs. These controls are troublesome for the transport, forwarding and logistics sectors, he explains.

German companies may also have problems. Not only that, they may not receive semi-finished products or components on time Polish factoriesthere may still be difficulties in German exports (Poland is the 5th largest recipient of German exports in the world).

SEE ALSO: How important is Germany to the Polish economy? These data leave no doubt


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