IRU and its members in the EU have jointly helped the European Commission to shape and communicate new guidelines on border procedures between EU Member States and Ukraine during the current crisis.
Aiming to ease border transit times, keep humanitarian goods moving, and support transport workers dealing with border crossings during the crisis, the new guidelines come as a result of IRU’s constant engagement with the European Commission in Brussels.
Raluca Marian, Director EU Advocacy at IRU, said: “We are engaging on a daily basis with our members and the European Commission services, with the objective to help drivers, people and societies to go through these challenging times. As IRU, we will continue mobilising all players, building bridges and helping people and drivers.”
The Commission today adopted the Communication providing these operational guidelines for external border management to facilitate border crossings at the EU-Ukraine borders.
In particular, the guidance provides a comprehensive overview of facilitation measures concerning border controls that are available under the Schengen rules, while still ensuring the necessary level of border checks. The Commission recommends to use this flexibility in accordance with these operational guidelines.
The measures include:
- Simplification of border controls for certain categories of persons, including vulnerable persons, such as children, and other categories, such as transport workers that find themselves in Ukraine while carrying out their services;
- The possibility to organise border controls outside of border crossing points;
- Special arrangements for crossing the borders by rescue services, police, fire brigades and border guards, seafarers regardless of their nationality;
- The establishment of emergency support lanes, in order to ensure access and return of organisations providing humanitarian aid to people in the Ukrainian territory;
- Outside the scope of the Schengen rules, the waiving of customs duties and measures to facilitate the entry of pet animals travelling with their owners from Ukraine.
To reduce congestion at borders, border guards may apply relaxations vis-à-vis certain categories of travellers, including workers, such as transport workers, regardless of their nationality, holding valid documents proving their profession.
It is also proposes EU Member States set up temporary border crossing points for the duration of the emergency situation as well as emergency support lanes. Regarding the latter, if the configuration of the border crossing allows it, and a sufficient number of customs officers can be deployed, the designation of similar lanes for trucks is encouraged, in order to ensure both the continued supply of good and services as well as the return of transport workers from Ukraine.
The European commission has also proposed a Council Implementing Decision, introducing a temporary protection mechanism for three categories of people:
- Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine who are displaced as of 24 February 2022;
- Third-country nationals or stateless persons legally residing in Ukraine who are displaced as of 24 February 2022; and
- Family members of the above two categories of people.